Getting engaged is exciting, and it should be one of the happiest times of your life. But before you start planning the guest list and deciding on a colour scheme, there are a few things that every sane couple really needs to talk about before the engagement is official; and no, we don’t mean the size of the diamond or the venue for the engagement party!
It’s the big one – and this applies to all couples planning on tying the knot. Be honest – how do you really feel about kids? Maybe this is a second wedding and one of you (or both of you) already has children. Do you agree on whether you want to add to your family?
What will you do if one or both of you finds out that you can’t have children – even though you both want a family? What are your views on IVF, adoption and surrogacy?
What are your feelings about discipline for the existing children you might have and any that you might have in the future? Will your new partner be expected to help keep his or her step-children in line, or will that remain your responsibility?
If you love to spend time with your nearest and dearest, but your other half only speaks to his family at Christmas, he might resent you wanting to spend quality time visiting your folks at the weekend because he doesn’t understand how much family means to you.
Family is also important if for any reason one or other family disapproves of or doesn’t get along with your intended. There’s no getting away from the fact that if your parents don’t like your spouse, life can be difficult. So if you’re making the decision to spend your lives together, it’s worth just one last shot to try to encourage them all to get along. Try to organise a get-together and negotiate a truce.
If that’s just not going to happen, ask yourself how you’ll feel if your relationship causes a rift between you and your family, or his? Can you really deal with that?
Where you’ll live
If you’re not living together already, you’ll probably want to start looking for somewhere to live once you’re engaged. Sit down and discuss all your options. Do you have a deposit for a house, or are you going to have to rent for a while? Will you live near one or both families, or spread your wings?
If you’re buying, do you agree on the type of property you want? There’s going to be a problem if one of you wants a loft apartment but the other can’t bear the thought of living in an apartment block. Or if one of you wants an old, character home to renovate but the other is DIY-phobic and just wants to move in with the Magnolia paint and get on with it. Or if one of you is a town person and the other a country person. And so on…
If you both work full time, it seems pretty straightforward that the domestic chores are shared. So why is it that women always seem to end up wielding the iron or vacuum cleaner?
This one is especially important if one of you comes from a family in which they didn’t have to lift a finger, and being expected to make a bed or do the laundry is a big surprise! Sort out the division of labor before the wedding is booked and you’ll have a lot less to argue about by the time you get to your first anniversary!
A study carried out by Utah State University revealed that the more often couples argued about money issues, the more likely they were to get divorced, especially if the rows happened on a weekly or daily basis.
It’s a no-brainer really. Attitudes to money are ingrained in us from a young age, and although it might seem cute that your beloved spends too much on shoes when you’re dating, once you’ve pooled your finances and it’s YOUR money that’s being frittered away too, things can get awkward.
Will you have a joint account with everything in, or perhaps keep separate accounts and just pay into a joint bills account? Will you both save, or have a joint credit card? What are your attitudes to debt, and does your intended already have debts?
Talking all these issues through before you make any commitments will go a long way to making sure your marriage is as harmonious as possible. What essential topics would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments below!
Image via Sevitz
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