Holidays bring engagements and all the excitement they offer us, both now and in the future. Initially discussions between fiancées often consists only of details about the wedding, day, venue, wedding party, or type of service. Before beginning these discussions the couple should consider what their future will look like.
- Who is responsible for household duties? Will this change with a baby?
- Who makes financial decisions? One checking account or two? What about credit cards?
How much money do each of you owe on credit cards, student loans, or any other outstanding loans? When do these need to be paid? What is your credit rating? Can you balance a check book?
- Cat or dog? No pet?
- Do you want children? How many and how soon after the wedding?
- Who will be writing the thank you notes for the gifts? When are they going out?
- Mountains or oceans?
- What did Santa bring? Did Santa bring every gift or just one?
- What religious practices do you follow and will you continue them as a couple? What religion will any children practice?
- Where do you want to live as a married couple? House or condo? Buy or rent?
- How much input should your parents have into your marriage and decisions?
- How much time will you be spending with your family? Are you expected at certain events?
- What about nights out with the boys/girls? Stopping off after work?
- Are each of you going to work? What about after children are born?
- Is daycare and babysitters acceptable or will you want only family members to watch the children?
- How often should parents visit? Where should they stay if traveling to see you?
- Is birth control allowed and what types will you use?
- Are there any friends that you don’t want your mate to continue relationships with? Are opposite sex relationships OK? What about staying in touch with old relationships on social media?
- Is divorce an option?
- Will there be a prenup?
- How much time do you expect to spend on hobbies such as watching sports or going shopping?
- Is infidelity a deal breaker?
- How do you deal with the flu? Is someone supposed to take care of you?
- Take out or home cooked? Who will do the cooking in your home? Do each of you know how to cook, do laundry, clean?
- Does either persons job require traveling? Is one person engaged in seasonal business? How will these situations affect your marriage?
- Who is supposed to pay bills?
- Who will be #1-spouse or kids?
These are some general questions that hopefully will lead you into longer discussions about the life together you have planned. Differences in beliefs and attitude are best known before the wedding. Problems experienced during the engagement will not disappear after you are married and will increase risks for divorce. Expectations for the marriage must be spelled out prior so each person enters marriage with clear ideas about your life together. Irritating habits or behaviors now will only increase in intensity over time. Can you spend 5, 10, 15 years with this behavior? No one changes after marriage. If you are entering this marriage believing you can “change him/her”? This is a recipe for disaster as no one change someone’s behaviors.
Marriage has peaks and valleys. What are your expectations? How will you tolerate the valleys and difficult times? Clear communication prior to marriage is essential to build a foundation for the future relationship.
Premarital counseling will help you to explore the differences and similarities you are experiencing and will help navigate compromises and reach common ground. Many clients enter counseling after the marriage stating “I never knew about …” and what impact that would have on their marriage.
Consider beginning counseling immediately after your engagement and prior to beginning wedding planning. Would you be willing to cancel your wedding if you find you and your mate are not compatible? Entering into a marriage knowing you and your spouse have taken the time to explore each other’s attitude, beliefs, and habits will increase your feelings of security with your decision.
Kim offers a free 10-minute consultation on her Virtual Therapist Network site. Kim accepts most major major insurance companies and even offers a sliding scale for those in lower-income households.
Kim works in Bradley, Illinois and as an On-line Therapist (Video over the Internet) to help her clients verbalize their issues, learn to view things differently, and feel comfortable with their decisions. Just as there is not one correct answer in life, there are multiple ways to find a solution in counseling. Kim will work with you to find the most appropriate solution for you. Please contact Kim at her Associated Counseling office in Bradley Illinois or on-line at the Virtual Therapist Network.