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  • Dr. Teresa Edwards, LMFT

Building Forever: Essential Premarital Conversations

Deciding to get married is a big decision that will impact the rest of your life. Nothing is more fulfilling in life than a happy, healthy marriage. Before you walk down the aisle, there are some topics that are essential to address with your special person to ensure that you are headed in the same direction.

Four Vital Premarital Conversations

premarital counseling preparation

1. Religion and Spirituality

Sharing religious and spiritual values with your partner is important. Research shows that couples who engage in shared religious and spiritual practices tend to experience greater satisfaction in their marriage, have less conflict, and have higher levels of teamwork. Conversely, couples that don't actively practice faith together are at a higher risk for marital problems and divorce. Talk to your partner about values and beliefs and how you both envision those being part of your life as a couple.

2. Finances

Financial matters play a significant role in the overall sense of stability in a relationship. Open communication about money helps establish a shared understanding and approach to financial management. It's important for couples to be transparent about their current debt and plans to pay off debt. Couples should aim to understand each other’s financial habits, views on spending, and attitudes toward debt. Additionally, addressing topics such as the process of making significant purchases, setting individual spending limits, and outlining the monthly budget are important for a harmonious financial relationship.

3. Boundaries

Personal mental, emotional, and physical boundaries are important because they define and protect us. It is just as important to have clear and agreed upon boundaries for your relationship. Boundaries in a relationship help clarify what is your responsibility and what is not. For example, you are responsible for your own emotions, behaviors, and wants, not your partner.

Boundaries also protect a relationship. Couples should agree on boundaries with people and situations to protect the bond they share. Some topics where boundaries should be discussed include involvement of family of origin and in-laws, time spent with friends, the use of technology, and social media.

4. Expectations

Expectations affect EVERYTHING. Every person enters marriage with conscious and unconscious expectations obtained from family, the media, culture, and past relationships. Being aware of and sharing your expectations of marriage is crucial for happiness. Here are some topics to consider when discussing expectations: gender roles, sharing power, decision making, household chores, spending free time, weekends, holiday celebrations, handling sickness, and daily expressions of love.

getting engaged and wedding preparation

When discussing expectations with your partner, try to be as specific as possible. During premarital counseling sessions, I often hear one partner say, "I expect you to show me that you love me." While showing love is a good thing, what exactly does that look like? How will your partner know if they are meeting that expectation? If you say, "I expect you to kiss me good-bye before you leave every morning," your partner will know exactly what you want and how to fulfill it. When discussing expectations, make sure your expectations are reasonable and be willing to hear and meet the expectations of your partner.

Getting married is the beginning of an amazing journey. Engaging in thoughtful conversations beforehand is the key to a resilient and harmonious partnership. From values and beliefs to finances, setting boundaries to sharing dreams, these discussions lay the groundwork for understanding, compromise, and shared goals.

As you navigate these conversations with your partner, remember that it's not just about reaching agreements; it's about deepening your connection, building trust, and fostering a solid foundation for a lifetime of love and companionship. May your premarital dialogues pave the way for a marriage that thrives on open communication, mutual respect, and enduring happiness.

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