Marriage is such an exciting time in a couples’ life. There are so many decisions and plans to be made that often couples completely bypass some of the more important conversations that should be had before they decide to dedicate their lives to one another. I’m not talking about where they will live or with whose family they will spend the holidays. I’m talking about the stuff that has a serious impact on the rest of a couples’ life together.
For starters, do you both want children? If yes, great. If no, great. As long as you’re agreed. If you’re undecided, that’s fine too, as long as you’re both open to the other person’s influence. If, however, one of you is firmly opposed to having children, and the other has dreamed of having children their whole life, this is a core issue that must be resolved prior to engaging in a lifelong commitment. If you stay together, one of you will wind up giving up something that matters to them. It is entirely possible that either way, the person who relented will grow accustomed to the situation and be perfectly fine, even happy. It’s equally likely that they will instead become resentful, and harbor that resentment until it grows into contempt. If you make the decision to give up something that is important to you, or to take on something you never wanted, make sure you thoroughly understand your motives and that you are not engaging in quid pro quo (agreeing to do something for them in return for them doing something for you- this is also unhealthy.) How you will raise children is a big topic too, but that in itself is a whole blog.
Finances are another major topic. I worked in finance for five years before transitioning to therapy full-time, and I saw plenty of couples both in that job and this one who struggled with the language of money. Some people are great with money, some aren’t. Most couples are comprised of one of each type of person. Money is a tough subject, but it is something that must be discussed in any successful relationship. One of the keys to successful relationships is delegation. When combined with another one of the keys, communication, delegation of responsibilities within a couple based upon the individual strengths of each partner contributes to the success of that couple. Talk about money openly and admit when one of you is more responsible with it than the other. Do this before you’re married, not after. Establish good habits and patterns early and they will serve you well.
I think one of the reasons that society balks at people who get married so soon after meeting is that it is hard to believe that people who literally just met could have possibly had all of the important conversations that need to be had prior to legally binding themselves to one another. Maybe they have a point. On the other hand, I’ve seen couples who were together for years before they got married who still didn’t have those conversations, and couples who were together for mere weeks before they got married who did. I think it’s more about quality than quantity. You can spend years with someone and barely say a word that means anything at all, or days with someone and say thousands of words that mean the world. Moral of the story: make what you do say count.