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 37 essential things to know before getting married, 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.
The First Look
To have a successful and satisfying marriage, knowing things to know before getting married and making a lifelong commitment is important. Marriage is a significant undertaking requiring substantial emotional, financial, and social adjustments, especially to avoid the risk of an emotional affair. As a result, being informed and prepared is critical before taking the plunge.
Besides, recognizing the challenges, potential conflicts, and differences that can arise in a marriage can assist couples in working together to overcome them. Knowing each other’s expectations, values, and priorities can establish a solid foundation for a joyful and enduring marriage.
30 Essential Things To Know Before Getting Married
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 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.
2. Having Children Or Not
While asking other couples this question is not polite, addressing it within your relationship is important. Failing to do so could lead to heartbreak if one person anticipates a change of mind from the other. Even if you and your spouse disagree on the specific number of children you want, it’s essential to establish that you both want to have them. Besides, as your situation changes, you can revisit this issue after having your first child. You may find that your preferences change, and you want more or fewer children than originally thought.
3. Raise Children
Discussing your parenting philosophy with your partner is essential when considering having a child. This involves exploring various topics such as discipline, schooling, screen time, and sugar. Having a baby significantly impacts your relationship, and you don’t want to wait until the first temper tantrum to discuss how to handle it.
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.
4. If Having Children Is Not An Easy Task
A conversation about becoming parents is essential, especially if there are additional steps to take, such as overcoming infertility. Discussing and aligning your thoughts about various routes to parenthood, such as IVF, adoption, surrogacy, or fostering, is essential.
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. Discussions about this topic can be difficult, but they are essential to guarantee that both individuals agree and are at ease with the decision to become parents.
5. Religion Problem
If one or both of you are religious or have different religious beliefs, discussing how this will affect your living together, including the mundane things, is essential. Will there be any expectations for a religious wedding ceremony? Will children be raised to observe a particular religion if they have children? Engaging in these discussions to establish a mutual understanding, even if your beliefs do not significantly impact your day-to-day routines.
Besides, consider how your religious beliefs and practices may evolve and how they will fit into your living as a future spouse and family.
6. Wedding Expectations
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 your preferences and expectations and finding common ground to create a wedding that reflects your personality and values.
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7. Where To Live
One of the important things to know before getting married is your long-term plans and aspirations 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 start a family, and if so, where would you like to raise your 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.
8. Dream House
Be aware of each other’s housing preferences and expectations for the future. 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? Initiating these discussions early may prevent misinterpretations and confirm that both individuals share the same vision concerning their future living conditions.
Besides, understanding that these preferences may change over time is essential, but having a general idea can help you plan and make big decisions together.
9. Split Finances
Financial stability is essential to any partner’s relationship, particularly when planning a future together. So, discuss how you plan to split bills and expenses and decide whether to have a joint or separate bank account. A fair arrangement is usually one that takes into account each person’s income.
If you plan on having children, discussing how you’ll handle maternity or paternity leave and how childcare will be covered financially is important. So, engaging in these discussions may assist in verifying that both parties share a common understanding of how to budget and handle finances for the future.
10. 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 is essential.
You should also determine what you consider essential 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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11. Split the Chores On Married Life
Effective communication is essential to establish mutual understanding when dividing household responsibilities. Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses, and try to find a balance that suits both of you. Whether sharing the chores equally or dividing them based on individual preferences, set clear expectations and discuss any adjustments as necessary. Remember, teamwork and compromise are essential to building a healthy relationship.
12. Political Views On The Same Page
Discuss your political views with your spouse to ensure that you’re on the same page or at least can respect and tolerate each other’s differences. If you have opposing views, have an open and respectful dialogue about them and determine if you can find common ground or if the differences are too significant to overcome. This is essential if political issues are important to you and impact your daily life.
13. Sex Life
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. So, assess if both you and your spouse are satisfied with your sex life and if there is anything you would like to try or if something is missing. It’s also to ensure that you are truthful about your sexual preferences.
If you plan to spend the rest of your life with this person, you should feel comfortable discussing your sexual desires and needs with them. Having frank and open communication about your sex life can ultimately lead to deeper intimacy and trust in your relationship.
14. Each Other’s Family
Once you tie the knot, family obligations often undergo a shift for many couples. So, discuss any family traditions or commitments you or your partner have always followed and how you plan to adjust to them.
If you or your spouse already have children, openly discussing your expectations and feelings toward family life is essential. When sharing a life and a home, you must ensure that everyone’s voices are heard and that you make time for each other as a couple and a blended family.
Additionally, you must consider how much each other’s families will be involved in your daily life. Will your mother-in-law provide childcare, or is your father planning to move in with you? Discuss and come to a mutual understanding of the different family situations you might encounter.
15. Celebrations View
As you and your partner 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 may communicate this difference in expectations to avoid misunderstandings. Clear communication can help ensure that both you and your spouse have a mutual understanding of how to celebrate these events.
16. Love Language
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.
What feels comfortable, meaningful, and loving for you might not be the same as what your partner feels. Therefore, asking each other when you feel most loved can provide valuable insight into how to nurture your relationship. This way, you can tailor your expressions of love to suit each other’s needs and strengthen your bond.
17. Career Problem
Recognizing that a job can hold different meanings for different people is essential. While some view it as simply a means of earning money, it provides a sense of purpose and fulfillment for others. Understanding the significance of your job 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 must 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.
18. Last Names Problem
In the UK, it’s customary for women to adopt their husbands’ last names after marriage. Still, this tradition is not mandatory and may not be relevant for every marriage, particularly those between same-sex partners. You have several options regarding your name, such as retaining your current name, combining your last name, or creating a new one.
However, you must converse with your spouse about what you’ll do with your surname if you decide to have children, as it’s a significant decision that may affect your family’s identity. Ultimately, the decision about your name rests with you, and you can choose what works best for you and your family.
19. Alone Time
Although it may seem trivial, understanding each other’s need for alone time is essential for maintaining a healthy relationship. So, discuss and determine how much time you need to decompress and avoid feelings of loneliness.
It’s natural for everyone to require some solitude occasionally, even if it’s just for a short while. 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.
20. Non-Negotiables Problem
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?
21. Will Problem
If you are planning to get married, it is advisable to draft a will jointly. While you may intend to leave your assets to each other in many cases, it can become more intricate if you have other dependents.
By discussing and clarifying what you will entail, you can ensure they reflect your wishes and are legally binding. It is important to take the necessary steps to have your will in place to avoid any uncertainties in the future.
22. Pets Problem
While it may not seem like a significant conversation, discussing your plans regarding owning a pet is essential. You must clarify if you have always envisioned having a dog someday, but your partner opposes the idea.
23. Avoid Deal-Breaker
To ensure a healthy and respectful partnership, be open and honest about deal-breakers and actively listen to your partner’s concerns. Together, it’s essential to discuss whether these issues are manageable and reasonable for both parties.
Furthermore, you may have a conversation about what the potential end of the relationship would look like. Although it may be uncomfortable to discuss, it’s important to determine what divorce would mean to you and how assets would be split. Custody arrangements should also be discussed, as these are key factors to consider during a separation.
Hence, having this conversation when the relationship is in a good place can make it easier to deal with the potential end of the relationship, as both parties have already established a basic agreement and understanding.
24. Expectations Holiday
To ensure that your holiday meets your preferences, you must clearly understand what each of you likes. If you enjoy an action-packed camping trip that involves hiking and biking while your partner prefers a laid-back vacation by the pool, you may communicate and find a way to compromise.
One option could be to plan a trip that accommodates both activities or to take turns doing what each person enjoys. Hence, compromise is key to feeling satisfied and rejuvenated after your vacation.
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25. Cheating Problem
It’s important to clearly understand what actions you consider cheating in a relationship. For example, while some individuals might perceive viewing pornography as a breach of trust, others may not have an issue with it. So, have an open and honest conversation with your partner about your individual beliefs regarding what constitutes cheating. Doing this may confirm your shared understanding and create a constructive framework in your relationship.
26. Retirement Problem
While planning for retirement, acknowledge that your individual goals may differ. For instance, you may envision spending your golden years exploring different parts of the world, while your partner may aspire to settle in a remote village and hone their fishing skills. While these goals may not align perfectly, evaluate whether they are compatible and feasible.
27. Deal With Things
You must comprehend that people have different ways of coping with stress and anxiety. Some may withdraw, while others prefer to discuss or write about their thoughts and feelings.
Understanding how your partner deals with negative emotions and communicating how you cope with them is essential. So, you may avoid taking their response personally in challenging situations and have a clear understanding of their coping mechanisms.
28. Social Media Problem
Although it may appear insignificant, 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.
By having an open and honest conversation about these topics, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of each other’s perspectives and values.
29. Handle Conflict
Resolving conflicts healthily and productively is essential for a successful marriage. Collaborating with your partner to find effective solutions and respectfully communicating your needs can strengthen your relationship and build trust. Therefore, couples should develop conflict-resolution skills to overcome challenges together.
30. Pre-marital Counseling
Seeking pre-marital counseling can benefit couples as it allows them to proactively address potential issues and establish a solid foundation for their marriage.
Through counseling, couples may gain valuable tools and strategies to communicate effectively, resolve conflicts, and navigate challenges that may arise in their marriage. This can help them build a stronger and more fulfilling relationship together.
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7 Legal Things To Know Before Getting Married
Before tying the knot, it is important to consider various legal aspects to safeguard the interests of both individuals and ensure their entitlements are honored. To help with this, here are some key legal things to know before getting married.
31. 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.
32. 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.
33. Debt Liability
It’s important to comprehend that both individuals can be held responsible for debts accumulated during their marriage, irrespective of which party incurred the debt.
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 the couple’s circumstances.
35. 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.
36. Name Change
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.
37. Immigration Status
If one party is not a citizen, entering into marriage can significantly affect their immigration status. Therefore, it’s essential to seek advice from an immigration lawyer to understand how marriage could affect their immigration status.
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Before getting married, be aware of the essential things to consider 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 know before getting married has provided valuable insights and practical tips to help you make an informed decision and lay the foundation for a fulfilling married life. Finally, marriage is so worth it if you’re with the right person and you work together.