If a wedding is on the horizon for you and your partner, you may be dreaming about floral arrangements, delicious cakes…and the honeymoon. But there are important things to discuss before marriage—and some of ‘em might not be the most fun conversations you’ve ever had. While you and your future spouse don’t have to agree on every single aspect of your future together, it’s essential to know where your partner stands on these issues and work to come to some common ground.
Here are five important topics and conversations to discuss before marriage.
Nothing says “we’re newlyweds!” more than renting or purchasing a home together. Choosing your new apartment, condo, or townhouse is a task that is bound to stir a little tension. Are you going to rent or buy? Or are you going to live in the suburbs or the city? Of course, one of the most important things to discuss before marriage is figuring out where you’re going to live, but it’s also good to chat about how you plan on maintaining your home when it comes to tasks like cooking and chores, for example. This is especially important if you're not yet living together. Find out exactly what “clean” means to you and your significant other, and which pieces of furniture you would not mind keeping or getting rid of. How will you divide up chores and other housekeeping responsibilities? Discussing these topics now will help you avoid fights later on.
Dieting and exercising are important elements to a healthy relationship—and a healthy life. Learn about each other’s fitness and diet goals and try to figure out how to help each other achieve them. It’s also a good idea to discuss your personal health. Are you up to date on your annual physical and dental cleanings? Are there certain health issues you’re concerned about? You should also discuss your sleeping habits. Does one prefer to go to bed early and the other prefers to stay up late?
One of the most important things to discuss before marriage is the possibility of having children. Disagreeing on this topic can be a deal-breaker for some couples. If you and your fiancé(e) are planning to have a family, how many children do you want? Do you want to have them sooner rather than later? Depending on if you both have full-time jobs or businesses, you might need to search for childcare services or a nanny. Make sure you two also see eye-to-eye on how you would realistically like to raise your children. Other family-related topics to think about: the possibility of getting a pet together, and any family-related issues that your partner should be aware of if he or she isn’t already (parents or family members who require special care, issues with siblings, etc.).
Will you and your partner combine bank accounts, maintain separate accounts, or do both? Do either you or your partner have debt, bad credit, or other financial issues that need to be disclosed? If you are considering buying a home together, these financial concerns will come to light sooner rather than later—so be sure to discuss them now. You may also want to talk about if a prenuptial agreement is necessary.
Perhaps your partner was raised Jewish, and you were raised Catholic. How necessary is it to you that your significant other switches to a different denomination? Would you prefer that your future children be raised with two religions? Religion may be a sensitive subject, but it’s certainly one of the most important things to discuss before marriage.