In short, Weddings are amazing. You and your friends have a reason to get dressed up, celebrate, dance and drink until your feet hurt. However, after all the guests have gone, you’ve honeymooned and you’re now back in your new reality of being a “spouse”, what do you do next? If you and your significant other, haven’t lived together before (and even if you have!), you may find there a few topics you should discuss and define to make your first year of marriage (and the years thereafter!), pretty much amazing. Here are our top 5 MUST HAVE convos before saying “I Do!”
CONVO #1: ROLES + RESPONSIBILITIES
If you and your betrothed haven’t lived together before, it’s imperative to have a detailed conversation about who is going to do what. From simple questions such as when the trash goes out; who is going to cook and clean to the more complex questions of who will do the finances; and when you will start to have children. When single, it’s easy to take on all these responsibilities yourself and know when certain things need to be done and exactly how you want them done. Your entire cycle and routine gets altered when another human being enters the picture. Marriage is like a sports team - everyone has a position to play, and when everyone plays their position, the team wins. In this case, winning is defined as making sure you and your spouse make it from one day to the next successfully.
CONVO #2: HOLIDAYS + OTHER FAMILY CELEBRATIONS
The reality is everyone has certain holiday and family traditions they have either grown up with or created for themselves. When these traditions or the significance of the traditions has not been communicated, there is a very, very good chance one spouse is going to be upset with the other spouse because of potential unmet, unspoken expectations. Do yourself and your future spouse a favor, talk about each of your expectations before the holidays and other important family celebrations roll around. Holidays can be stressful enough without you being at each others throats because you didn’t get as many gifts as you want or you are at your in-laws house when you would rather be celebrating at your own home.
CONVO #3: CHILDREN + PARENTING
Children have a tendency to be very demanding. And because they require so much love, time and attention, married parents are often are too tired to have logical conversations with each other about important matters dealing with children once they arrive. You’ll save yourself a lot of disagreements if you discuss in advance WHEN you want to have children, how many you want, how you're going to raise them, and what values you want instill in them. What’s a good starting point on this conversation? Talk about your childhood and what you do or don’t want your children to relive.
CONVO #4: FINANCES
Recently, we learned there are 5 different money personalities that play a major role in how you view and use money. Understanding if you’re more prone to saving because it brings you a feeling of security or if your future spouse feels that the best way to show love to close friends and family is through gift giving will allow you to pre-determine methods to resolve differences when it comes to money. In marriage, you’re likely to face conversations about money you never had to deal with as a single, so refer to some great resources that can help you start the important convos about money, investments, and bank accounts.
CONVO #5: PERSONAL GOALS
Just because you’re married that doesn’t mean you’re not you and your spouse is not uniquely them. Marriage also does not mean any goals you had prior to marriage magically disappear because you got married. Marriage is two people who have joined together, to do life together. It means you are intentionally involving someone to walk alongside you day in, and day out. The two of you should have conversations (often) about the goals each of you want to achieve in life. Some of these topics could be relating to careers, hobbies, community involvement, etc. Talk with each other about how you can help the other one achieve their goals. That’s what makes part of the marriage journey sweet - unselfishly helping the other person cross something off of their bucket list. Alternatively, there will be goals you will want to achieve together. There are so many couples who start businesses, write books, make movies, start fashion lines, etc. Talk to your future spouse and see if you have any common interests you want to work on and complete together.
It’s okay to disagree on any of the above at any point in time. The magic secret to resolving your disagreement is your communication. One of the biggest misconceptions in marriage is that because you married your spouse, then they automatically have ESP. NOT. TRUE. Be sure to communicate clearly, without accusation, and share what is important to you and ask your spouse to do the same. Just know that in any of these areas, you both will bring different perspectives to the table. Your life experiences color how you and your future spouse view the world. And surprisingly, neither one of you are wrong, you just come from different worlds. Your goal in marriage is to learn each others diversities and figure out how to appreciate them.