- Dr. Teresa Edwards
4 Essential Premarital Conversations
Deciding to get married is a big decision that will impact the rest of your life. Before you make that decision, there are some topics that you should discuss with your special person.
1. RELIGION AND SPIRITUALITY
Sharing religious and spiritual values with your partner is important. Research shows that couples who practice religion and spirituality together tend to be more satisfied with their marriage, have less conflict, and have higher levels of teamwork. 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 those will be part of your life as a couple.
It's important for couples to be open and honest about their current debt and plans to pay off debt. Couples should talk about their views on money, using credit, financial goals, and plans to manage money. Important topics also include how large purchases will be made, limits on individual spending, and how the monthly budget will be handled.
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, behavior, and wants, not your partner. Boundaries also protect a relationship. You and your partner should agree on boundaries with people and situations to protect the bond you share . Some areas where boundaries should be discussed include involvement of family of origin and in-laws, time spent with friends, the use of technology, and relationships with the opposite sex.
4. EXPECTATIONS OF MARRIAGE
Expectations affect EVERYTHING. Every person enters marriage with conscious and unconscious expectations obtained from family, the media, culture, and past relationship experience. 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.
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. Make sure that journey starts off as smoothly as possible by discussing these important topics that will affect the rest of your relationship.