As a therapist, I’ve noticed that many couples who go through divorce realize when it’s too late that they didn’t discuss things they ended up fighting over. All marriages are a legal contract, a lot like a business partnership. If you were entering a business partnership rather than a marriage, you would likely discuss things in detail and ask a lot of questions. But when it comes to love, our emotions get the best of us and we don’t always plan effectively.
We know that today one in two couples will divorce. So asking questions and knowing the details before you marry someone is so important.
Remember that this is your life, and you have to have these conversations. Here are five topics you need to discuss before tying the knot:
What do you spend your money on? What is important to you when it comes to money and lifestyle? Is it more important to renovate your home or invest in RRSPs? Do you intend to travel or do you prefer to save your money?
A lot of people don’t talk about money. Forgetting to discuss how you will organize your bank accounts, financial obligations, and what you spend and save is a recipe for misunderstanding and arguing later on. How you manage your finances isn’t something that falls into place. In a marriage, it involves planning, compromise and agreement. So talk about it now!
Do you want children? If so, how many? What are your parenting expectations? How will you raise your child? Will you save for their education or do you expect them to pay for their education? How will you discipline your children? How soon will you go back to work after birth?
Get really clear on what you and your partner want when it comes to children and rearing children.
3. Roles and expectations
What are your expectations around who will take care of what? Who cooks? Who cleans? Who takes out the garbage and changes the diapers? Who takes the lead on getting the bills paid? If you just assume that things will flow, you can end up frustrated and feeling like your needs aren’t being met. So share your needs and get to know your partner’s needs.
How often do you want sex? What is your view on pornography and strip clubs? If you feel strongly about these things, it’s really important to speak up now because these things may come up.
5. Future life goals
When do you want to retire? Where do you want to live? Do you eventually want to go back to school? What’s on your bucket list?
Don’t assume you know the answers based on what you already know about your partner. Before you initiate having these discussions, start by asking yourself what you’re assuming about your partner. Then make some time and a list of questions, and double check that you are correct regarding your assumptions. Now is the time to sort through this.