Five Conversations to Have Before Marriage
Congratulations! I hope clicking on this article means you are about to get married or are considering marriage with your current sweetheart. Engagement can be such a wonderful time, but, as I’m sure you already know, the process can also be stressful as you go through all the steps involved in joining your lives together. As you prepare for the big day – the venue, the flowers, the reception – it is even more important to consider the bigger relational issues. The questions below will help initiate conversations to clarify your expectations and connect you with your partner.
How does each of you give and receive love?
Knowing how your partner feels loved and supported is an important part of emotional intimacy. If you and your partner have different love languages, there might be many missed opportunities to notice how much your spouse cares for you and to show your spouse love in the ways they best receive it.
How do we want to handle conflict?
Being on the same page about handling disagreements that will arise, whether about the dishes or how to raise children, will save a ton of heartache. Laying down ground rules for conflict can help arguments become moments for better understanding and connection instead of fights that last days or never get addressed.
How do we want to handle in-laws?
As I am sure you have already found in the wedding planning process, families bring different perspectives and challenges into any relationship. Engagement is part of the process of “leaving and cleaving,” where you begin to form your own family unit. Being a united front when navigating challenging moments with extended family can help strengthen your relationship as you move closer to marriage.
Are we on the same page with our faith or religious values?
For many of us, faith is the foundation that shapes how we see the world, ourselves, and others. Couples do not necessarily need to agree on everything to have a great marriage. Still, grasping where the other person is coming from, their non-negotiables, and how their beliefs impact their decisions is vital to understand before starting a life together.
How do we want to spend our money? What are our financial priorities and philosophies?
Money is one of the three most common triggers for marital conflict. Having conversations with each other early and often can decrease future arguments. Asking each other, “What about managing money in this way is important to you?” is an excellent way to begin a conversation for this often touchy issue.
There will be many conversations that are specific for you and your sweetie. Making them a part of your pre-marriage experience can draw you even closer together. If you find you need help navigating this critical step or you want to explore these or other issues more thoroughly, pre-marital counseling may be the perfect place to start!