The time before marriage is filled with planning and preparation for your big day. You may be planning a large wedding event, or something much smaller and intimate. Either way, it’s a time of anticipation and excitement for you and your beloved.
Whether you have been together for years, or your relationship is taking the fast-track to the altar, there are important things to discuss with your partner before you say “I Do.”
You may be thinking you and your partner will simply deal with issues as they arise and work through them then. You may also believe that because you have known each other for a long time, you already know everything you need to know about how you and your partner feel about these important issues. That is a mindset that many soon-to-be-married couples have, and unfortunately, it can lead to misunderstandings, hurt feelings, frustrations, and heightened conflict down the road.
Before you head to the alter, and before you say “I Do,” take some time to get to know how you and your partner feel about the following subjects. Discuss the questions under each topic and if you find you have different points of view, ask questions to better understand your partners position.
This is far from an exhaustive list of things to discuss before marriage, but it’s a start. As you explore these questions, you will likely find that you think of other discussion topics.
Romance & Intimacy
Do you think dating or courting your partner ends after the wedding?
In what ways do you plan to keep the romance alive throughout your married life?
What do you need and want from your partner to keep the romance alive?
Is physical intimacy or emotional intimacy equally important or is one more important than the other?
How do you each define “emotional intimacy?”
Money & Finances
How will you manage your money after marriage?
Will you have joint financial accounts and bank cards?
Do you want to have a separate account of your own?
How do each of you feel about having debt?
If you want to have children, how do you want to plan financially for growing your family?
What are you goals for saving?
Is retirement planning important to you now?
Are you a spender or a saver, and how will you handle any conflicts if you differ on what to spend your money on?
How would you handle tough financial times as a couple?
Family & Social Life
How was conflict handled in your families of origin?
How was money handled in your families of origin?
Do you agree or disagree with the way your families of origin handled conflict and finances?
Are you OK with your partner having separate friends and interests?
Do you and your partner plan to share household duties? Do either of you expect your partner to assume defined roles in your marriage?
Do you want to have children? How many? Do you think one parent should stay home after children are born?
Do you prefer large social gatherings or smaller gatherings of a few close friends? How about your partner?
If you are blending families, what roles will you have in the lives of your partner’s children?
Work & Career
What do you expect from each other regarding success in your respective careers?
How would you feel if one career took off, and the other was slower to grow?
Are you equally ambitious in your careers?
What does a balanced work and family life look like to each of you? Do you think it’s important to your relationship? How do you and your partner plan to achieve this balance if it is important to you?
What if your partner wanted to make a career change or return to school? Is that something you would support?
If you find that you and your partner disagree on any of these questions, you may want to have a professional counselor facilitate discussion for you in premarital counseling sessions. Think of premarital counseling as an investment in your marriage and your future together. You won’t regret it!