By the time you get engaged, it’s easy to assume that you know just about everything about your spouse-to-be. While you probably know each other pretty well, there are a number of topics that don’t always come up if you’re not intentional about discussing them, and many of these subjects are ones that are crucial to talk about before you start wearing that gold wedding ring. Here are four key questions to ask before you say “I do.”
What do you want to be doing in 10 years? Knowing each other’s long-term goals before you walk down the aisle is extremely important to living in harmony when you become husband and wife. You may have already talked about how many children you want, but be sure to expand your conversations to discuss your career goals and your aspirations for life in general. Although differing goals aren’t necessary a problem, if you are working toward vastly different aspirations, you will need to have a serious talk about what you will pursue as a couple, as well as how each of you can reach your personal goals.
What do you expect regarding housework? Differing expectations about who will do what around the house can be a big source of contention, and it’s more than worth it to talk about how housework will be handled before the two of you are blaming each other for a stack of dirty dishes. If you’re having trouble pinpointing your expectations, try talking about who took care of various chores in each of your families when you were children, and what you would like to do similarly or differently.
How do you express and understand love? Different people express and understand love in different ways, and when you know how your partner gives and receives affection you’ll be better able to recognize his or her efforts to show love, as well as to communicate your love more effectively. For instance, some people use gifts such as romantic jewelry, while others tend to show physical affection or offer complements. If you’re not sure how you give and receive love, try thinking of times when you felt that you clearly expressed your affection, as well as times when you felt especially loved. You’re likely to see patterns that will clue you in.
How did your family handle money? Many of our views about money are formed as we grow up and watch how our families manage their resources. Talking about how each of your families handled money can help to make each of you aware of your assumptions about money and help you ease into talking about how you want to handle it as a couple. In addition to talking about how you’ll handle expenses, talk about how you want to save and if and how you want to give.
Don’t say “I do” without taking the time to ask and answer each of these questions. While these conversations might not be the most exciting you’ll ever have, they’re some of the most important.