To have your ending be a happily-ever-after, set aside time for these key concerns.
First comes love, then comes marriage, then come the squabbles, fights and all that baggage! Hopefully, you've got your man's Monday routines pegged by now, and know him like a second skin. You may have lived together, floored his folks, and slept in his pajamas, but there still may be some answered questions. Says US-based pastor Todd Outcalt in his book Before You Say 'I do', "Great relationships happen when individuals speak and listen to each other. Asking the right questions before you walk down the aisle is the key to exploring a future marriage relationship."
Why are we getting married?
"Because we love each other!" may make an awww moment, but it's important to address the underlying 'why now' question. Does it feel like the logical next step? Would you like to start a family? Simply want to celebrate your commitment for one another? It's crucial to weigh your reasons to see if they match, keying in on your expectations of each other after marriage. How do you want your relationship to change/evolve? What are some partner traits you cherish, and others you could do without? You don't want unaired dirty laundry to end up in cold feet at the aisle.
Piggy bank prepping
Are you spenders or savers? How do you plan to pay the big bills, your separate debts and save for retirement? Discuss if you'd like to have a joint bank account, check-in with each other before certain expenditures and how you might collectively save for cars, holidays, or that first home.
The kid question
It might be your reason to tie the knot in the first place, or you could be the duo that opts for a pet farm instead. If you'd both like kids, flesh out the specifics of how many, when you'd like to try for a family, and how you'd like to raise them-do you believe in strict discpline while he'd like to give his kids space? That's an issue you'd like to figure out now. But it's a necessary nail to hit if you see baby talk in your future and your man finds it frightening- don't kid yourself into thinking he'll come around as he grows older. According to experts, a lot of women think they'll change their partner's mind once they're hitched, but that rarely happens. And forcing an unwilling partner to have a child will almost definitely lead to problems- and won't be fair to your child or your marriage.
Who's doing the dishes?
We're (thankfully) out of the '50s, and you no longer need to be domestic dollhouse-keeper. But how will you divide chores? It makes sense to discuss and split weekly tasks, such as grocery shopping or dishwasher loading, and consider paid cleaners if you're both unlikely to take the trash out. Treat your shared space like your mom had you treat your room-each responsible for his/her mess. If you keep the kitchen counter clean after you've made lunch and he puts the dirty clothes in the washer, you'll both be happier.
Sure, you both love 'em to death, but it's crucial to talk about just how much you want to share with the folks lest you await in-law meddling. Decide how much time you'd like to commit to family and where you'd like to spend major holidays, avoiding a showdown when Diwali rolls around.
US-based psychologist Susan Heitler warns, "The biggest mistake couples make is to avoid discussing the areas of differences before they walk down the aisle." It pays to know your partner's ticks and take a breather before you melt down over a molehill.
How do we keep the spark alive?
Australia-based love coac h Carolin Dahlman suggests asking, "How can I make you feel loved every day?" A rose under your pillow or sweet nothings in his ear, keeping the romance alive can be a fear factor. Talk about how often you'd like to get under the covers and settle those sexual wants and needs beforehand.
To work or to play
Long hours and demanding projects often wreck homes, so agree to accept each other's careers and their important they are to you. Can you be understanding when you feel neglected? How would you like to spend free time and weekends?
Where's the 'you' in the relationship?
Will you be the twosome that's attached at the hip? It's important to set aside self-time to ensure you don't abandon friends or hobbies that were longtime keepers. Or maybe you'll be the kind that take the phrase "and the two became one" literally-either way, talk about how much of your own space you'd like to savour once married.
10, 20, 40 years later
Is he saving up for an African safari you can't wrap your head around? Do you dream of honeymooning in Paris when he wants to hit the beach? Compromising is key, balancing a healthy fit of both your wishes. "Couples who are able to grow and change together, striving for common goals and dreams, have the best marriages," encourages Outcalt. Define and draw out your dreams to paint that happy picture together.