I’ve read a lot of these in the past. I think they’re important to avoid future problems or controversy later in the relationship. Even before Rory and I were engaged, we’ve been pretty good at communicating. This is mostly in the last couple of years, in the beginning we were happy to just float along and see where we ended up. As our relationship became more long term, and we moved in together, we started to have “talks”. We’d often go out on walks together and start chatting about our future.
From early on, we knew that we’d want to buy a house first before having kids. Children are great, as a daycare teacher, I love babies and children in general, but they’re also expensive. Owning a house is also expensive, but is more of a priority for us at the moment, since we’re still in our mid-twenties. Kids can come after. We also knew that we would only want two kids at max. Funnily enough, from a few years ago, we talked about marriage as a given. We loved each other, we had plans for the future, we figured it was gonna happen. Still didn’t stop me from being floored and bursting into happy tears when he asked me.
Before getting married, our officiant sent us some questions that he encouraged us to talk about. He didn’t need to hear this conversation, it was a tool for us, to open up dialogues of conversation we hadn’t thought of before. It covered topics about Communication, Family and In laws, Sexuality, Work, Finance, Spirituality and a lot of others. It was an extensive list. Rory and I went through this list over a period of months. While we didn’t get to every single question, we did talk more openly about subjects that hadn’t really been discussed as much before. For those who are interested, I’ll post a couple of questions from each subject below.
- What subjects do you talk about most and why do you think you do?
- On which subjects do you find it difficult to reach agreement and understanding?
Family and In-Laws
- How are your family backgrounds similar and different?
- How do you feel about your partner’s family?
- What have you enjoyed most in relationship with them so far? Have you experienced any problems in your relationship with them?
- Could you live as a married couple for a short time with the inlaws. What would be the obstacles to this idea in your mind?
- What are you most afraid of with having children? Where or what did this come from?
- If your contraception failed, and you had an earlier than expected pregnancy, how do you think it would change your plans?
- What are your values in raising children? Who is to care for them?
- Emotional attachment or physical enjoyment of another is an early warning of attraction to the opposite sex. Do you think you should tell one-another about attractions or attachments to help protect one-another? Why and how would this help or hinder? What if jealousy or fear arises from this sharing? Should it be talked about?
- Would you need to stop the relationship totally? Or are there negotiable parameters to continue the contact? What if you disagreed that contact should continue on, what basis would you decide what to do?
- Describe your partner’s work in as much detail as you can.
- Have you visited their place of work? Why is this a good/bad idea?
- Do you see any tensions developing between the demands of work and the need to be spending time at home? Are there any early decisions you can make about this now?
- What amounts are spent now on entertainment and extras per week? Do you consider these valid expenses?
- Will you rent all your life or purchase your own home. What are the long-term issues that shape this decision?
- What kind of family holidays do you foresee? Will the budget and children restrict those ideas? What will be the expectations of your parents and siblings about holidays with them?
- Describe your understanding of spirituality.
- What sources do you turn to in establishing truth and morality? Are they equal?
- What tensions do you still experience from your previous relationship?
- In what ways do you think your views of marriage have developed and/or changed as a result of your previous marriage/ Relationship?
We didn’t have all these conversations in a day, it would’ve been too much. We talked about a couple when we both felt ready to have an open, honest conversation, without any judgement. I think these are all relevant discussions to have if you’re planning on getting married and moving forward with a long term relationship.
What do you guys think? What sorts of discussions or questions do you think should be talked about before going into marriage?