4 Essential Questions to Consider Before You Tie the Knot
Getting Married? Hills District Marriage Counsellor Recommends to Have These Eye-Opening Conversations First.
Marriage is an exciting new chapter in anyone’s life. Having a partner to travel through life with is motivating, because you can take on new adventures and challenges together. However, marriage is a major life step! And not one that should go without consideration on a few different levels. So, what are the top questions to ask your partner before getting married?
These topics commonly arise for couples moving towards marriage. And be assured, questioning your compatibility or alikeness to your partner in the face of marriage is not a bad thing. In fact, deep and honest conversations about what you both want and expect from marriage are crucial for a solid foundation. You’ll gain an understanding of your partner’s expectations, boundaries and goals in life, as well as your own.
So let’s get into it. Every committed couple should engage in conversations about their futures, whether you’re considering engagement or approaching the big day.
The 4 Questions to Discuss with Your Partner
1. To have or not have children?
Before tying the knot, it’s important to have discussions around what your future as a couple may look like. A large aspect of visualising what this may be is considering whether you will expand your family and welcome children into the world together. This discussion could range from the number of children you both want, how you see yourself raising children, your attachment styles, or the expectations of yourself and your partner when it comes to parenting roles. For example, you may have a different expectation to your partner when presented with the question of taking time off work when the baby comes. Will you both take off time? Does your husband expect you to take off an extended amount of time? And what about the late-night-nappy-changes? All these small questions are important in building the bigger picture of what your future will look like, and if you are both content with it. Some other big discussion points could be infertility, adoption, disabilities, abortion, circumcision, and whether the in-laws will be hands-on or not.
Making the decision to have a baby or not is a life changing moment. It’s important to have this conversation with your partner before getting married. Why? Because it’s desirable to have aligned values and goals with your spouse. If you and your partner do not discuss the topic of children before marriage, you may discover down the road that your opinions differ on the matter. This could potentially alter the course of the life you had envisioned.
2. How do you want to manage finances?
Finances are an inescapable aspect of life. When it comes to getting married, it is important to discuss how you will manage your finances within a partnership. It’s a transition from solely taking care of your own money, to joint assets and shared responsibility. So naturally, finances must be discussed. For example, this discussion may focus on:
- Will there be prenuptial agreements?
- How would you like to save money?
- How comfortable are you with sharing a bank account?
- The spending patterns of you and your partner
What happens if you each manage money differently? Without discussing how you would like to go forward as a partnership, your differences in management styles may cause conflict.
3. Where do you want to live?
Similarly, where you chose to live is a decision in life that is essential and unavoidable. When getting married, deciding where to live will affect both individuals entering this new life together. This conversation may concern;
- The type of housing you would like, such as an apartment or house (tying back into the conversation of your finances).
- Will the in-laws live with you?
- Location; you may wish to live in a different suburb, city or country than your partner.
- Would you be willing to move for a job, children or any other reason?
Discussing where you both want to live is an important conversation before getting married. This is because where and how you live is a big determinant of your happiness. It’s important that both people within the relationship are aware and happy with the choices made.
4. How will we manage our differences? What is your understanding of how we deal with conflict?
Conflict can be managed in many ways. Within a relationship, a vast difference in conflict styles can cause further confusion or hurt. This makes discussing how you will manage conflict as a married couple, an important pre-marital conversation to have.
Conflict styles include:
Should the conflict styles of you and your partner differ, it’s important to discuss how this will be managed and understood within your marriage. This discussion may include asking your partner how:
- Have they managed conflict in the past?
- Would you like to be treated during times of conflict?
- Do you want to resolve conflict?
Are you open to marriage counselling during communication breakdowns?
Are there any questions to avoid asking?
If you’re about to make the biggest commitment of a lifetime, I’d say no questions or curiosities should be off limits. If you avoid specific questions before marriage, then I’d suggest you ask yourself why, as it’s likely a red flag that will cause problems down the track. To build a secure relationship, couples need to know they can safely come to each other with anything, regardless of its nature or the discomfort it may bring. Expressing your needs, desires, and concerns openly and honestly is vital to creating a healthy functioning relationship.
How to start this conversation with your partner
The hardest part about starting a conversation can be the anticipation of how it may be received or interpreted by your partner. Especially if there’s been a history of challenges to communicate effectively. Having an intentional soft approach to any conversation is more likely to land better, even more so when it comes to extra meaningful and important topics. Remember to consider each of your opinions, respect each other and listen actively. It’s also helpful to consider the timing: ask your partner when they’re free to chat. Create the space and time for an undisturbed, constructive conversation. Let them know you have something important to talk about. When it’s time for the conversation, share with them if you’re a little anxious about how they will respond, but it’s very important to you to discuss it.
While organising your nuptials is a time of excitement and anticipation, it should also be a time of reflection and discussion. Learning how to have healthy and informative conversations with your partner about your life together, before you say ‘I do’, will ensure neither of you are unpleasantly surprised in the future. And your relationship has a strong and stable foundation for all future tricky conversations ahead.
If you need pre-marital support, consider counselling. Together, we will explore helpful skills and strategies to manage these tough conversation topics. As well as communicate more effectively, so you can move forward in a healthier direction. Kylie Lepri Counselling offers a no obligation 15-minute phone consultation, to determine if counselling is the right next step before you tie the knot. Or call us now on 0404 032 636.
The team at Kylie Lepri Counselling are all registered Counsellors and Psychotherapists. Located in the Hills District, we specialise in Individual, Relationship and Family therapy. Providing online and in-person support to clients all over Australia. Get Kylie’s FREE e-Book: 5 Proven Strategies to help manage stress today, by joining her newsletter below.