To lay the foundation for a successful and enduring marriage, you must arm yourself with essential knowledge. To assist you in this endeavor, Viva Wedding Photography compiled a list of 27 essential things to discuss before marriage, informed by the guidance of relationship counselors and marriage therapists. So, whether you’re preparing to get engaged or simply weighing the prospect of marriage, this resource will aid you in navigating the ups and downs of a lifelong commitment.
Questions to ask before getting married
1. Having children or not? What about if you struggled to get pregnant?
You might think engaged couples would discuss having kids before tying the knot, but that doesn’t always happen. You should talk about whether or not you both desire them, but the conversation should go deeper than that. Having trouble conceiving may strain any relationship, and this is not the time to find out that one partner wants to try IVF, but the other thinks it’s too difficult or that one partner is open to adopting while the other is not.
Besides, same-sex couples may need to explore the possibility of sperm or egg donation, and it’s necessary to discuss who would carry the baby or provide the egg or sperm. Although your views may shift over time, discussing them beforehand will help ensure you enter the scenario as a united front.
2. What kind of parenting approach would you take?
Good for you if you and your partner are on the same page about having children and the exact number you want. How to nurture them is the next thing to be concerned about. Discussing your parenting philosophy with your partner is essential. The following are questions to consider before getting married that we recommend you two answer together:
- What are your expectations regarding child care and parenting if we decide to have children?
- Do you hold any gender-based expectations?
- What is your ideal situation? Are we both working and taking care of the kids, or do you prefer staying at home?
It’s also beneficial to reflect on your childhood experiences and identify what you feel was positive and negative. This information can influence how you want to raise your child and provide a valuable starting point for the parenting conversation.
3. What role does religion play in your life?
The spiritual and religious backgrounds of the couple might have a significant effect on the union. Share your thoughts on how your respective worldviews affect your relationship, family, and future plans. Seek to understand each other’s morals and identify areas of agreement on spiritual and religious matters.
4. What kind of wedding would you like to have?
Discussing your wedding expectations and desires is essential before tying the knot. While both partners might want to get married, they may have different visions for the ceremony and reception. For instance, one partner may prefer a simple, intimate wedding while the other partner dreams of a grand, luxurious event. So, communicating openly to find a shared view on this matter is essential.
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5. Where would you like to live?
One of the important things to discuss before marriage is your long-term plans as a couple. While you may be happy living in the city now, it’s essential to consider whether you both have similar visions for the future.
- Do you want to settle in the countryside or move to a different city?
- Do you want to return to your hometown after you have children?
These are essential questions to ask each other to ensure that your future goals are aligned and that you’re working towards the same vision. It’s better to have these discussions early on in the relationship to avoid any surprises or disagreements down the line.
6. What do you want your dream house to look like?
- Do you both envision living in a house or an apartment?
- Are there any specific styles of homes or locations that you’re interested in?
It’s advisable to initiate these discussions early, which may prevent misinterpretations and confirm that both of you see eye to eye about your future living conditions. These preferences may change over time, but a general idea can help you plan and make big decisions together.
7. What should we do about our in-laws?
Creating a new family requires establishing limits with one’s in-laws. Many adults still have strong ties to their families of origin, so they often act like obedient children seeking to win over their elders. Having a strong family bond is a desirable quality in a relationship, but it can also provide difficulties in the future if your families have different values.
To prevent possible disagreement in the future, here are some questions to ask before getting married:
- How would you prioritize our relationship once we get married?
- What would you do if your parent wanted something and I desired something else?
- How much time do you think we’ll spend with your family?
8. How are celebrations important to you?
As you and your partner may come from different cultural or religious backgrounds, discuss how you celebrate important events like Christmas, Eid, Diwali, Hanukkah, or any other significant religious event.
Will you take turns celebrating with each other’s family or host your celebrations at home? Moreover, discuss your expectations about birthdays as well. If you view birthdays as a big extravaganza while your partner doesn’t even see the point in the cards, you should communicate this difference early to avoid misunderstandings.
9. How important is your career to you?
Recognizing that a job can hold different meanings for different people is necessary. While some consider it as simply a means of earning money, it provides a sense of purpose and fulfillment for others. Understanding the significance of your career to you is important, as it can impact various aspects of your living, such as where you live, your income, and your work schedule.
In the context of a marriage, you should communicate openly about your job and how it affects your life together. There may be times when changes, such as relocation or taking time off work, become necessary. Knowing each other’s job-related priorities and preferences is key to navigating these transitions.
Additionally, discussing how work encroaches on your time together is essential. Suppose one partner frequently works late or has to address work issues on weekends or during holidays. In that case, it’s essential to consider how this affects your relationship and whether any adjustments need to be made to ensure a healthy work-life balance.
Financial things to discuss before marriage
10. Understand your partner’s financial past and present
While discussing finances can be uncomfortable, having an honest and open conversation before getting married is important. It’s essential to discuss any outstanding debts, credit card balances, or potential overdrafts to ensure that both parties know profoundly the financial things to know before getting married. This conversation should occur when you get engaged to avoid overspending on a wedding when debts need to be cleared.
11. What is your financial splitting plan?
It is likely that you have already split many bills together. Make sure you are content with this arrangement. The most equitable approach to dividing things is typically based on each person’s respective earnings. You also need to determine whether you prefer a joint or separate bank account.
If you’ve decided to have children, it’s also critical that you discuss how any maternity or paternity leave will be covered and paid for, as well as what childcare you may require and how it will be paid for.
12. Save up for what?
It’s essential to discuss your financial goals and priorities as a couple. For instance, if one of you has a dream car and the other dreams of owning a holiday home, deciding how to save for these things together.
You should also determine necessary expenses in your day-to-day spending, such as hiring a cleaner or a personal trainer, and identify areas where you can cut back to save money, such as canceling streaming services or gym memberships. By having these discussions, you can work towards shared financial goals and make informed decisions about your spending.
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Legal Things To Discuss Before Marriage
13. Marriage License
Obtaining a marriage license is a prerequisite for getting married and is essential for both parties to comply. The requirements for obtaining a marriage license may differ from state to state, but both individuals generally must present identification and proof of age. Additionally, a waiting period may be involved that needs to be fulfilled before obtaining the license.
After tying the knot, couples have the option to file their taxes either jointly or separately. It is vital to comprehend the tax implications of each alternative and assess which choice is the most suitable for your circumstances.
15. Property Rights
In most states, any property acquired during a marriage is considered marital property and is subject to division in the event of a divorce. Nevertheless, it is possible to safeguard individual property rights by entering a prenuptial agreement. This legally binding agreement enables both parties to specify the distribution of their respective assets and debts should they decide to divorce.
16. Estate Planning
Entering into marriage can significantly affect estate planning. Therefore, it is important to update wills, trusts, and beneficiary designations to align with the altered marital status. This ensures that the assets are distributed as intended and that the legal rights of both parties are protected.
17. Name Change
In the UK, it’s customary for women to adopt their husbands’ last names after marriage. This tradition is not mandatory and may not be relevant for every marriage, particularly those between same-sex partners. Nonetheless, it’s still one of the things to discuss before marriage for many couples.
When it comes to your name, you have several options, such as retaining your current name, combining your last name, or creating a new one. If either individual plans to change their name after getting married, obtaining updated identification documents, such as a new Social Security card, driver’s license, and passport, is essential. This ensures that the individual’s legal identity aligns with their new name and that they can properly exercise their rights and privileges.
Things to know related to relationship dynamics and compatibility
18. How do you typically express love?
Understanding each other’s love language might seem trivial, but it’s fundamental to any healthy relationship. By identifying whether your partner values gifts, touch, actions, or words as expressions of love, you can learn how to best demonstrate your affection and appreciation for one another, whether it’s through a big hug or other meaningful gestures. This way, you can tailor your expressions of love to suit each other’s needs and strengthen your bond.
19. In times of stress, how can I help you?
Learning to comfort your partner when feeling low is a priceless act of love. Everyone has different comfort zones; some thrive on reassurance, others on distance, and yet others on a good talking-to. However, it might be difficult to convey all of our demands at times of high stress and strain. When you and your spouse clearly understand your needs, you can assist one another and work through stress together.
20. To what extent do you require time alone?
Some require more alone time than others, but this is not universal. Your partner may seem distant, angry, or resentful if you don’t understand that they need time alone to recharge. Additionally, it’s helpful to explore what solitary activities mean to each other. For some, it could be going on a long bike ride and getting enough sleep; for others, it may be as simple as reading a book or watching TV in a separate part of the house. You may create a supportive and respectful relationship by finding ways to accommodate each other’s need for alone time.
21. When it comes to sex, what do you expect?
Having open and honest conversations about your sex life with your partner may seem uncomfortable or difficult, but it is essential for a healthy and fulfilling relationship. Some things to talk about before marriage related to this matter are:
- Are both you and your spouse satisfied with your sex life?
- Is there anything you would like to try?
- Is something missing?
Answer these questions honestly will help you know your and your partner’s sexual preferences better, leading to deeper intimacy and trust in your relationship.
22. What are the things that cannot be compromised?
Have you identified the most important things to you that are non-negotiable in your relationships? Are these needs and values communicated and respected by your partner? For instance, if you have a tradition of going on a yearly holiday with your friends, have you expressed the significance of this to your partner? Similarly, if your spouse has a weekly commitment with their family, have you discussed accommodating this into your shared schedule?
23. For you, what is a deal-breaker?
Each person has their own set of deal-breakers. Be open about yours, and listen to what your partners are. Everyone has their own set of deal-breakers. Be open about yours, and listen to what others have to say. Decide whether you can deal with those and whether they are reasonable to you. Here are some topics to discuss before marriage so that you two understand each other better:
- What would happen if your relationship ended?
- What does divorce mean to you?
- How would you divide your assets?
- How would any custody arrangements look?
Not all marriages work out, and if you agree to the basic things when you’re in a good place, it will be a lot simpler to handle if the marriage does come to an end.
24. What are your marriage fantasies?
Another question to ask before getting married is, “Do you have any thoughts or fantasies regarding what you’re trying to find in a marriage or in your partnership?” You and your spouse may have different ideas about a happy relationship.
Your partner may desire nightly home-cooked dinners, weekly date nights, frequent travels, and functioning as a team in social circumstances, but that might not be what you want. Knowing each other’s marital expectations is important to minimize hurt feelings and disappointment after the wedding.
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25. What should be posted on social media?
Although it may appear trivial, discussing social media is an essential aspect that should not be overlooked. So, address whether you feel comfortable sharing personal information on social platforms or if certain details should remain private. If you have children, it’s also necessary to discuss whether or not they will have a presence on social media.
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26. How do you view household responsibilities?
By being open and upfront about your expectations, you can prevent any potential disagreements or resentment from arising when living together. If you dislike taking out the bins but are okay with doing the washing up, communicate your preferences clearly and find a mutually agreeable solution so that both partners feel a sense of fairness and are willing to contribute to maintaining a harmonious home.
27. In your opinion, what does marriage mean?
The meaning of marriage might vary from one individual to another. Some think it’s a legal agreement, while others consider it an all-encompassing partnership. You can feel more prepared to tackle this next chapter as a couple if you take the time to talk about what you hope to accomplish. This way, you can avoid disappointment and make sure that your needs and expectations are being satisfied.
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Before getting married, be aware of the essential things that can help you build a strong and lasting marriage. Educating yourself and seeking expert advice can increase your chances of having a successful and happy marriage. We hope our guide on things to discuss before marriage has provided valuable insights and practical tips to help you make an informed decision and lay the foundation for a fulfilling married life. Vive Wedding Photography believes that marriage is worth it if you’re with the right person and you work together.