When you decide to get married, the goal is usually to spend a lifetime together. As a result, you have what seems like an eternity to genuinely get to know everything about each other. That can make some people complacent. While you do not have to find out all there is to know about your soon-to-be spouse before the big day. There are a few points you do need to cover before you commit to a life together. With that in mind, here is what you should know about your spouse before the wedding.
1. Where They Stand Financially
While talking about money is anything but romantic, it is absolutely critical. Arguments about money are one of the most commonly cited reasons for getting divorced. Sticking your head in the sand before the big day could set you up for a world of heartache.
Before you get married, sit down and have a serious discussion about where both of you stand financially. Go over your income. Talk about your workplace benefits (like retirement and medical insurance). Use local reports like this one to figure out what you can afford in rent payments. Review your investments, and, most of all, examine each and every debt you both are bringing into the relationship. You might even want to pull credit reports as you prepare for the conversation. This ensures that there is nothing that isn’t discussed.
Why would you want to go through this much trouble? Because, once you are married, your financial lives are completely intertwined. Your spouse’s income, debt, and credit scores will affect you. Yours will also affect them right back.
Yes, it can be a hard conversation to have, especially if you are embarrassed about your financial history. But, if you are going to set your relationship up for long-term success, it is better to go over this now instead of fighting about it later when one of you is caught off guard by the other one’s financial life.
2. If You Are on the Same Page About Children
Children is another point that can cause strife if you both see the future differently. You need to have a conversation about your hopes for your family over the long-term, including whether you both want children, how many you think you would like to have, and when you would like to bring a life into the world.
You also need to discuss how flexible you believe your plans are and how willing you would be to change depending on the situation. For instance, you may need to talk about how far you are wanting to go if there is an issue of infertility or what alternatives you find acceptable. Similarly, if you want to start having children after a particular other goal is reached, like buying a home, you need to go over whether you are open to changing your mind if that goal is delayed for some reason.
While small differences – like being one year apart on when you think is the perfect time to have kids – probably won’t be a big deal, larger discrepancies could cause serious problems. For example, if one person really wants children and the other doesn’t, that means someone may feel stuck making a major sacrifice in the name of saving the relationship or that the marriage will fail when one person becomes unhappy.
Talking about the future can be hard, especially since neither of you can be completely certain as to what is on the horizon. However, making sure you are both in the same ballpark now is crucial. Otherwise, problems might arise that could end up being deal-breakers.
3. How They Handle Stress
If you are planning to spend the rest of your lives together, at some point, you are going to end up in stressful situations. Unexpected job loss, the death of a loved one, a difficult moment with a child, or even just a rough week at work can lead to some strong emotions. It is important to understand how your soon-to-be spouse deals with them.
Some people legitimately need space when they are stressed. If their partner isn’t aware of that, they may assume the person is withdrawing or hiding something. In reality, all their spouse is actually doing is trying to handle their needs. Then, if their partner keeps pushing them to talk, thinking it may help, it actually hurts the situation. This can lead to more stress.
Other people need more support. They want to talk about what they are feeling or here kind, supportive, or guiding words from their spouse. If they don’t get what they need, they feel neglected, even if their spouse doesn’t mean it that way (often because they think giving their partner space is being helpful).
Before you get married, it is smart to talk about how you both handle stress. Let each other know what you need from the other and why that method works for each of you. This limits the chance of confusion when that first stressful event occurs, reducing the chances that the other person’s actions will accidentally make a hard situation worse instead of better.
Learn As Much As You Can
While you can’t find out everything about each other before you get married. Especially since people change over time, you should take time to tackle the points above. Otherwise, you are not setting your relationship up for success and could be paving the path to heartbreak in the future.
Is there anything you didn’t know before the wedding but wish you did? Tell us about it in the comments below.