10 Upfront Conversations Before Getting Married

Conversations before getting married

8. Finances

Before you walk down the aisle, talk about your financial well-being as a couple. You will want to establish a plan for managing your finances as you begin your marriage. Here are several starter questions:

  • What are you spending and savings habits?
  • Do you have separate assets and debts? Recognize that being married makes your individual assets/debts joint assets/debts.
  • Work to create a plan for spending and saving money.
  • Even as you manage your finances jointly, you may want to maintain your own financial and credit standing, perhaps by having separate checking accounts.
  • Regularly discuss your financial goals.

Having an initial sit-down about your finances is important, but don’t stop there. Regularly discuss finances particularly as it relates to your individual and marital goals.

Also read 12 Common Habits In Healthy Relationships Every Couple Swears By

9. Health and Wellness

You may not think about maintaining your individual health and wellness as part of a commitment to each other and to your marriage. It is. Remember, as a couple, everything you do has an impact on your partner. Here are several thoughts to start your discussion.

  • How will you both maintain your physical health—nutrition, physical fitness, and individual health issues?
  • How will you support each other’s wishes to maintain physical health?
  • How will each of you take care of your emotional and spiritual well-being?
  • How will you support each other’s efforts to maintain emotional and spiritual well-being?

Having this health and wellness discussion will prepare you to have important talks if situations of ill-health arise.

10. Legal Issues

Besides being about love, friendship, and connection, marriage is also a legal union. Here are a few legal issues to discuss.

  • How will debt accrued in the marriage be handled?
  • How will you decide what health and life insurance plan to use?
  • How will you decide upon beneficiaries for savings plans?
  • Are there individual premarital assets? Are these to remain with the individual or become joint assets?
  • Create wills, including living wills.
  • If circumstances change, how will you divide marital assets?
  • If circumstances change, who will receive maintenance and/or child support from the other?

Ongoing discussions about legal issues as well as the other important areas discussed here can enhance your marital relationship.

Closing Comment

Sociologist Kathleen Gerson found in her study of young people that they hoped to create egalitarian relationships within lasting marriages or marriage-like relationships. [5] To achieve this lofty goal in a society that continues to define marriage in terms of outdated gender roles—breadwinner and homemaker—young couples must have the kind of upfront conversations described. It is not easy to maintain an equitable relationship. The pull toward the traditional model is intense—particularly once you have children.

You will have a much better chance of maintaining the kind of marital relationship you want if you begin by having frank, upfront discussions and continue them throughout your marriage as it evolves over the long haul.


References

1. Fisher, Helen. (2016) Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray. W. W. Norton & Company.

2. Gadoua, S.P. and V. Larson. (2014) The New ‘I Do.’ Berkeley, California; Seal Press.

3. Porter, Jennifer. “Why You Should Make Time for Self-Reflection (Even If You Hate Doing It).” Harvard Business Review, March 21, 2017.

4. Overall, Christine. (2009) Why Have Children? The Ethical Debate. Cambridge: The MIT Press.

5. Gerson, Kathleen. (2011) The Unfinished Revolution: Coming of Age in a New Era of Gender, Work and Family. New York: Oxford University Press.
Written by: Catherine Aponte, Psy.D.
Originally appeared on: Psychology Today
Republished with permission 
Conversations before getting married PIN
10 Upfront Conversations Before Getting Married
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Catherine Aponte

Catherine Aponte is a clinical psychologist who worked with couples for more than thirty years. She writes a Psychology Today blog and contributes posts to The Good Men Project. Throughout her career, she has been devoted to helping couples create and maintain a committed and equitable marriage. Her guide to achieving a committed, equitable, and vibrant family and work-life is in her book A Marriage of Equals (https://www.marriageofequals.com/). She trained at Duke and Spalding Universities and taught marital therapy courses at Spalding University as an Associate Adjunct Professor.View Author posts