7 discussions to have before you get married

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Over the years I've seen numerous marriages fail for various reasons. Each couple has their own story, but a lot of these couples seem to have one big thing in common: they had different expectations in their relationships than their partners.

Whether they didn't know because it was never discussed during their engagement or they were in denial of the impact their differences would have. Or worse, they went into the marriage hoping their partner would change their expectations overtime to meet their own.

This is why effective communication is a must.

Communication and realistic expectations are key components to a happy and successful relationship.

The divorce rate is high—sadly, 40 to 50% of marriages in the US fail. To avoid being part of the statistic, be real and communicate with your partner. It's important to discuss your plans and expectations both before and during marriage.



Are you newly engaged? Weeks away from tying the knot? Not yet engaged, but marriage is something you and your partner are currently discussing?

If any of these situations apply to you, be sure to have the following discussions with your partner BEFORE the big day.

Children. Are your dreams to have (or not have) children inline with theirs? How many (if any) children do they want? What parenting style do you believe you will take on (attachment, authoritative, etc.) and how does it differ from your partner's beliefs?

Religion. What are their religious beliefs? Are they complementary to yours? If there's a substantial difference, how will those differences impact your life? If you both want children, what religion (if any) will you raise them as? Furthermore, what religious traditions (if any) will you follow with your children?

Finances. How will finances be handled? Will you have joint or separate account(s)? Have you agreed on who will be in charge of paying certain bills or who will be in charge of the overall budget? Can you agree on a realistic plan of action in the case of job loss or another financial crisis?

In-Laws & Family of Origin. Do either of you have any problems with future in-laws or family of origin? If yes, in what ways could this have an impact on your marriage? Furthermore, what are you both willing to agree upon to prevent or lessen that impact?

Living Habits. Are your standards of cleanliness inline with each others? Are you able to accept any little habits (i.e. leaves shoes around the house, forgets to turn off lights, etc.) your partner may have and live with them everyday? Will they be accepting of any habits you may have? What expectations do you both have for the other in regards to cooking and cleaning? How will everything be divided?

General Conflict. How do you two handle conflict in your relationship? Do you fight fair? Do either of you struggle to communicate or become passive aggressive, etc.? Are there any subtle signs of emotional or verbal abuse in your relationship? If there are, is the guilty party willing to put the necessary work in to change themselves before the wedding?

Boundaries. What is your hill to die on? What behavior is the ultimate deal breaker for you? Is it cheating, lying, etc.? What are your own personal boundaries for marriage and how do they differ from your partner's?

KEEP IN MIND,

You can't prepare for every situation that married life throws at you. You can, however, get a general idea of your overall compatibility and assess the similarities and differences in your expectations by knowing the answers to the questions above.

You can't change your partner just as they can't change you. If there are differences you can’t accept, you're better off moving on and allowing both of you to find someone more compatible.

If you've realized there's emotional/verbal abuse in your relationship, it’s good to separate and/or hold off on the engagement while the offending party does what's necessary to change. If they refuse to change or don't see a problem worth fixing, that's within their right (as crappy as it is) and you shouldn't try to convince them otherwise. Marrying them anyway will almost always result in a losing battle.


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Hey! I’m Sarah Rose, proud mommy & girlfriend, recovering bulimic and former depressed soul. I’m also the gal who runs Discern, Describe—a personal development & lifestyle blog for women looking to build confidence, find inner peace and have stronger relationships.

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