Marriage is the biggest commitment you make to someone. Of course, while it is scary as hell, you still look forward to the sweet nothings of this relationship and a cuddle partner for life. But then, we do know that it is not “love” that keeps the marriage going. I believe that love is only the fuel to keep the marriage going. But a vehicle needs other things too, right? There are a lot of important things to discuss before marriage to avoid too many surprises and shockers after finally saying your vows.
Why is it important? Well, individual differences persist. You cannot expect that what you want, your would-be might also want. Such uncertain conversations become arguments after marriage, ultimately leading to disastrous ends. But it is merely a discussion when you do it before. There are several things to discuss before marriage. Not that if the answers don’t match your criteria you break it off, but it opens up the scope to find a mutual way to keep both partners happy.
Having such conversations after marriage might be too late, or also more annoying because by then your partner becomes your “husband/ wife.” Let’s take a look at some things to discuss before marriage to make your commitment life smoother.
20 Things to Discuss Before Marriage
1. Love Languages
More than discussing, this is one of those things to observe before marriage because if your love languages are too different, you might find settling down difficult. If you are more the kind of person who requires verbal love affirmations while he is very open about a committed relationship, then there is a big contrast. It could lead to arguments or feelings of sadness in the future. Talk about it, and share your expectations.
It took me time to realize that my husband liked being left alone when angry, and it took him time to realize I like to be held when angry. But when we discussed our love languages, we do what the other person requires at that time.
2. Do you really want to get married?
If you don’t ask your partner this question, “Do you really want to get married?” you might end up calling for big trouble. Sometimes, people don’t get a chance to speak their hearts because they don’t want to break ours. If you cannot ask, then observe. Are they as excited as you? Does he avoid the marriage talk? Does he talk about life after marriage? These are some of the things to discuss before marriage, or rather questions you need to ask.
Like it or not, money does play a factor in every relationship. It is one of the most important things to discuss before marriage. Know details like how much your partner makes, how they invest, how much they spend, existing EMI’s, future financial plans. Most importantly, you need to understand if both partners are willing to contribute equally, that there are no ego clashes with one partner making more. Talking about how you want to manage finances when either of you isn’t working due to job shifts or pregnancy.
Also, see if you can talk about how you can make these decisions together. One personal controlling the finances despite two people earning is not okay!
You can check out our article on How should married couples split their finances for more information about this.
4. Kids or Not?
No judgment there, but if one partner wants to have kids and the other doesn’t, then it’s a deal-breaker. Either of the two will end up giving up on a large part of their lives for marriage, and that isn’t fair to anyone. The topic of wanting to have kids, how many, and how you want to raise them is one of the most important things to discuss before marriage.
5. Sexual Preferences
As a couple, and soon-to-be a married couple, you should be able to talk to your partner about sex and your preferences. If one of the partners is too obsessed with it and the other is hardly interested in it, could be a problem, don’t you think? There is a lot more to discuss this topic if you’re entering a lifetime commitment.
6. Faith/ Belief
Living in one house with two different belief systems could cause discomfort to both partners. Not that people don’t do it, but it is best if you express your belief systems or the faith you follow, so your partner doesn’t expect you to do things you don’t want to do.
7. The “space” talk
There comes a time when people want space, even from their closest of relationships. It doesn’t mean that they should take off on a trip to nowhere in the name of space. The “space” talk is one of the very important things to discuss before marriage because it ultimately leads to the “you’re being too clingy” type of conversation. Talk about it. How often do you like to go out by yourself or your friends?
My husband and I live in a town where there isn’t much to do outside in the name of “space.” So we have a mutual understanding. We sit in different rooms of the house, doing our personal stuff, watching our favorite shows, or just sitting in one room but doing our individual stuff. It works out beautifully!
8. How would you like to spend time together?
Talking about spending time together is one of those things to discuss before marriage that’ll make settling down easier. Talk about how your partner foresees the time they spend together.
9. Hobbies & Interests
Imagine one of you loves traveling the world while the other is the “curl up on the bed with a book” kind of a person. Life would become boring, isn’t it? It’s not like you should cancel your marriage for this, talking about how your partner wants to overcome this difference in the hobby is one of the things to discuss before marriage. See if they are open to being on board with your interest and you reciprocate to it in their way.
10. Lifestyle patterns
Mostly, couples know each other well before deciding to marry them. But in India, where arranged marriages are still prominent, this is one of those things to discuss before marriage that you simply cannot skip. I’ve seen couples (not just arranged but even love), where partners have drifted apart due to a massive gap in their lifestyles. One of them cannot stay home even for one night while the other is disciplinary who cannot stay awake beyond 10 PM. While it may seem like a tiny issue, it isn’t. One has to go out without their partner and the other has to sleep in every day without theirs.
In our case, we’ve balanced it out. And now with the time we’ve spent with one another, we understand how some days go according to his lifestyle and some days according to mine. It adds a lot of newness to living, I must say!
11. Splitting Chores
Gone are the days when women had to manage only homely chores and men ran errands outside. This pattern doesn’t work anymore, especially with working couples. Both get equally tired, and so the chores at home are both’s responsibilities. It may sound silly, but it is one of the most significant things to discuss before marriage so the responsibility doesn’t fall on one person alone. Be it cooking, buying, or cleanliness, your partner should be willing to mutually split the work.
If not, there should also be the mutual understanding that one partner is okay with doing all the work themselves, and so it will never be a reason for arguments.
12. Are you open to communication?
Whether it is to express your unmet needs or about something at work, is your partner open to communication? Will they put the phone or remote down when you need them to listen? Are they good listeners? It wouldn’t seem important right now, but when you start living together and have no one to listen to you, it’ll be so annoying!
13. Career choices
Sometimes, some jobs demand a lot of sacrifices, not just from the person, but from the entire family. Talking about career choices is one of those things to discuss before marriage on which your future depends. Are they expecting too many transfers? Do they expect you to stay behind in case you have kids or move with them? I know couples who’ve moved out alone, leaving the family behind. They visit only once a month for a couple of days with the other partner managing the house, kids, shopping, chores, etc. by themselves.
It all boils down to, do you want to do it? If you do, will your partner support you in whatever way they can? What kind of support are they willing to offer? Talk about it!
14. Prenuptial Agreements
One of the newer trends, but prenuptial agreements has become one of the most important things to discuss before marriage, especially for well-to-do couples. But it doesn’t just talk about only finances anymore. Sometimes, the law doesn’t favor both parties. A prenuptial agreement for the marriage will set aside all rules of what happens to you both, what you owe each other, what you don’t, and the like in case the marriage doesn’t work out.
15. Discuss your Triggers
What pisses you off the most? Uncleanliness? Abuses? Even if it is a wet towel on the bed, not being asked about your day, or a random comment if it triggers you to talk about it. In fact, asking your partner about their triggers is also one of the helpful things to discuss before marriage. If both of you take care of avoiding acts that trigger your partner, there’s no chance for minor arguments.
16. Family Involvements
See, no one’s going to like a “mamma’s boy” or a “spoiled princess” in this day and age. Talking about how much your families are going to be involved in your day-to-day lives is one of the vital things to discuss before marriage. Why do I bold the letters day-to-day? The involvement of family members is beautiful. But, you don’t want someone’s mother calling you every day to ask if her son has had breakfast or the father asking you if his daughter is getting enough rest! When you live by yourself, the couple needs to independently decide their lifestyle. Not the families!
My husband and I had an inter-culture marriage. There are so many things our families do. When we visit them, we live according to their lifestyle. But when we’re at our place, we live according to our mutual choices and stand up for each other in front of our families. (Just an example)
You cannot marry someone without knowing about their health issues. I know someone who married into a family that had a history of physical and mental illnesses, which they hid. It’s not like there’s something wrong with it, but the person marrying into your family has the right to know, so she can take care of her health accordingly. After all, the kids the two of you will have will be a mixture of both your genes, not one person alone. If there’s something serious to know, they should know!
18. Dreams/ Aspirations
It would suck so bad when the person you marry wakes up one day and announces a dream that would change everything for you. It happens! People miss out on sharing their dreams, which later come as a shock to the other partner. Remember that part in F.R.I.E.N.D.S when Monica dates the rich millionnaire, finally falls for him, and then he reveals he wants to be some Ultimate Fighting Champion? Yeah, so… you have to talk dreams among the other things to discuss before marriage!
19. Openness towards counseling
Marriages do hit a rocky patch sometimes that even our friends and family cannot resolve. It happens when we’re unable to see each other’s views and a counselor helps with just that. Of course, that is possible only when both partners are open to counseling. Not just marriage, but in the future, your kids may need it too. And if one parent doesn’t agree, it could be distressing for everyone in the house. So add things to the list of things to discuss before marriage.
20. Equality and Independence
You are a fabulously beautiful individual and it is important you marry someone who respects that. Being an over-clingy wife or husband or someone who’s absolutely disinterested in the partner’s lives is not okay. There should be equality where both partners get to call equal shots and independence. It’s not the kind of independence where you hit the bar every night. No. The independence to be you, to make choices, dream, feel, express… Marriage doesn’t mean controlling or being controlled. It is about equality! Although, sometimes, people misunderstand this concept, but let’s leave that for another day. Isn’t something you must discuss among the other things to discuss before marriage?
At the end of the day, every human and every marriage is unique. Don’t sit down with this list to talk. Weave all these talks during your regular conversations and get an idea of how it’s working out. See where compromise is possible and where it simply isn’t. Only you can decide the best for you and let the mind decide and heart only love.
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