Getting married is one of the most exciting times of our lives. Unfortunately, there are a vast number of couples who tie the knot without making sure they’re on the same page as their partners. Of course, you don’t have to agree on everything to make a relationship work; marriage is a compromise, after all. But the big things, like kids, where to live, and other large choices should be talked about well before the two of you sign that dotted line.
There are many big questions to ask before marriage that couples tend to overlook. This isn’t your run of the mill question, like if your partner is a morning person or not. In some cases, the dreams you have for life might not completely align with that of your partner. Sometimes, compromises can be made. But if you’re not willing to budge on a certain aspect of your life, your partner deserves to know about it sooner than later. In some situations, this is what prenuptial agreements through a family law provider can cover.
Before you pop the question, consider these big questions to ask before marriage vows are exchanged.
Talk about kids
Once upon a time, the American dream involved having two kids and a white picket fence. But nowadays, more people than ever are considering holding off on having kids until later in life if they’re having kids in the first place.
Choosing whether to have kids or not is a personal decision but it affects the lives of both partners. When a relationship first begins, it’s not uncommon for one partner to go along with what they think their partner wants to hear. Even if you’re on the fence about having kids, voicing this concern should be done sooner than later.
That’s why you should ask your partner whether or not they want kids. If you both happen to want to raise children, even more questions can arise, including:
- How many kids do you want? If you’re more comfortable with having a single child but your partner wants three or more, this might be a huge issue for your relationship. Compromising on the number of kids can help, but if this is a concern that truly matters to you, resentment might build in the partner that doesn’t get their way. Consider talking about how many kids you want and why this is a good number for you with your spouse before going out and buying a ring.
- When do you want to have kids? Timing is everything, and if you’re not on the same page as your spouse, tensions might arise. For example, an older person in the relationship might want to have kids sooner than later, but if this isn’t in the cards for you, you might have to come up with a compromise. Have an honest and open discussion with your partner about when you should have kids so that no one is left in the dark.
- What kind of schooling do you want for your child? Choosing to send your child to affordable private schools might be your dream as a parent. Not only do children thrive in these environments, but they are typically more apt to attend college later in life. But if your spouse grew up at a public school, this might be a huge issue for them. Along with the cost, attending a private school is quite different from attending a public school. Weigh the pros and the cons and consider going to a marriage counselor to mediate these tougher discussions. They might recommend a compromise like mentioning the benefits of prep schools in conjunction with public schools as a happy medium.
- How do you imagine your parental roles? If your spouse thinks that only the mother should be changing diapers, you guys better be on the same wavelength. As society has progressed, more people than ever expect their partner to put in an equal amount of work when it comes to raising a child — including the gross stuff, like changing diapers. Having a baby with someone is easy; raising a baby with someone is harder. Getting this conversation out of the way is essential for establishing expectations when parenthood arrives.
The thought of having kids is one of those issues that can make or break a relationship. After all, having children is a life-changing decision and it’s rarely easy when the time for parenting comes. While you can always hire a divorce lawyer to separate from your spouse, it’s much harder to cope with a child who relies solely on you for their well-being.
That being said, it’s okay if you don’t know if you want a kid right now. This might mean putting off the marriage for a couple of years before you make your decision. Again, marriage counseling might be the best way to help mediate these big questions to ask before marriage that are too difficult to have on your own. At the end of the day, the two of you need to be open and honest with each other about these big decisions.
How important is religion?
Religion still holds a firm grip on countless people throughout the country. Many people are devout and attend church or temple every Sunday while others are alright with praying in their home occasionally. There are still more people who identify as religious but rarely practice. Regardless of which category you fall into, having a discussion about religion, including your expectations around the holidays, is essential.
Talking about religion is also important when it comes to raising your children. For example, marrying someone of a different faith can be an enriching experience for the couple. But when one spouse wants to raise their children with Jewish ideologies and another person prefers the teachings of the Quran, things might get a little hairy. In some cases, the parents are able to blend the two and note important lessons from both religions. But if you’re not okay with your children attending Jesus camp, this needs to be talked about as soon as possible.
Religion can be one of the most polarizing aspects of a relationship, romantic or otherwise. Many couples coming from different religious backgrounds are able to make it work, but it takes effort on both parts to make it happen. That’s why talking about religion is one of the big questions to ask before marriage.
Talk about debt and finances
Most young couples agree that paying bills should be done 50/50 or in some way that’s fair to the amount of money the two of you make individually. However, it’s common for young couples to face down thousands of dollars worth of debt from college, payments after a car crash, and more. When you’re dating, the idea is that the individual is responsible for their debts. However, the marriage of two people is often the marriage of their assets — and their debt — as well.
Will you pool your resources? Keep them separate? If you need to be bailed out of jail, will your partner cover you? What about paying off that bank levy from two years ago?
There’s no easy way to talk about finances but this is another one of those big questions to ask before marriage. The best thing to do is to talk to a financial advisor to help get your debt on track. Once you have a plan for how to get things done, talking to your spouse about chipping into your debt here and there becomes a lot more manageable. Consider splitting bills and other important purchases based on your individual incomes, especially if there is a large discrepancy between what you both make. When repairs and maintenance to your home or car is needed, how will you both handle it? It might be worth it to have a joint savings account for garage door spring repair and other necessary fixes down the line.
The worst thing you can do is lie about your debt or neglect to talk about it in the first place. Should your spouse find out about these important issues down the line, it could create bigger problems for the both of you. The best thing you can do is to be honest and hash out these big questions to ask before marriage.
Do you want to buy a house?
As mentioned earlier, buying a house was once the American dream. But many people, both young and old, are considering the benefits of renting. Not only does renting offer you the ability to move wherever you want, but it also helps you survive the ups and downs associated with the tumultuous housing market.
Even if you don’t plan on moving across the country, buying a home is a big decision — and a big cost. This cost can grow even more if you find a home that needs ample home remodeling services to make it perfect.
Before you get married, be sure to ask what type of home you both want to buy. Make a list of your must-haves along with any dealbreakers in the process. Some people might love the idea of living in the suburbs while others love the hustle and bustle associated with living in a city. Regardless, talking about multi room renovations for children or hobbies can be another important discussion to have. What kind of features do you care about most in a home? You’d be surprised to find out what your spouse values.
If the two of you are looking for a home to buy together, keep in mind that the house-hunting process can be another strain on a relationship. When you’re looking for a new house, search for options with good bones that you can build on to make your own. Something small, like poor landscaping, can be easily fixed. You can repair the small pieces of damage to the roof with SPF roofing replacements. However, you might not be able to fix those foundation issues without draining your bank account. Sometimes, your realtor might be your marriage’s best ally when it comes to finding the perfect home.
Talk about the hard stuff
Many people find themselves in the midst of a medical crisis without talking about their wishes with their close family and partners. It makes sense; talking about death or serious illness are difficult conversations to have. Unfortunately, our discomfort with death prevents us from having the necessary conversations we need to ensure our family’s well-being.
Say you get into a car accident and you’re put on life support. Without knowing your wishes, your spouse might not know to keep life support going or to pull the plug when you would want them to. This can both place undue stress on your loved ones as they contemplate what you would want. It also isn’t fair to you since you might be put into a situation that you had already resolved in your mind, but failed to tell others about. Sit down with a professional, like a counselor, a doctor, or a personal injury attorney, to discuss your legal options. They can help you craft a will, plan your estate, and more. They might even help you come up with big questions to ask before marriage that you never thought of before. If you’re over the age of 30, just about everyone should have some form of documentation pertaining to these issues.
Big questions to ask before marriage
Making the decision to get married is a quick conversation compared to the big questions to ask before marriage listed above. When you’re thinking about tying the knot with the person you love, ensure that you’re on the same page with important issues. If you’re not compatible, then it might be time to break it off. Consider these big questions to ask before marriage when you think you’re ready to take the next step.
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