So you’re considering marriage – yay! This time in your life is so exciting but can also feel scary. How you feel about marriage is largely impacted by your life experiences as well as the experiences of your family and friends. Perhaps you’ve witnessed nasty divorces you want to avoid at all costs; perhaps you’ve met couples who have been happily married for 50+ years (they do exist).
Before ring shopping, venue searching, and finalizing your Pinterest board, I highly recommend having some important conversations with your partner. Some of the topics are more on the serious side while others can be fun to talk about!
Here is a list of topics and questions I recommend you both explore before tying the knot:
☐ What does the act of marriage mean to you?
☐ What are your beliefs about divorce?
☐ What do you consider cheating, either emotional and/or physical?
☐ How will you handle arguments in the marriage?
Morals, values, and goals:
☐ Make a list of your morals and values.
☐ Explore religious beliefs and spirituality.
☐ What are your short-term and long-term goals, both as individuals and as a couple?
Physical and mental health:
☐ What makes you feel physically healthy?
☐ Describe the mental health needs that are important to you.
Work and finances:
☐ What does your ideal work-life balance look like?
☐ Discuss your relationship with money.
☐ Consider your financial strengths and weaknesses.
☐ If you already have children: What do you envision the child/stepparent relationship to look like? Consider how you will blend your families.
☐ If you don’t have children: Do you want kids?
✽ By the way, it’s totally okay if you’re not sure! Some couples who are undecided choose to wait and reassess in the future. ✽
☐ If you’re already living together: What’s working and what’s not when it comes to the household? Assess the current division of labor.
☐ If you’re not already living together: Discuss your thoughts on the division of labor in your future household.
☐ How do you feel about the relationships with your in-laws?
☐ What role does your partner play in your friendships with others?
☐ How will you balance time with family, friends, and each other?
☐ Explore how and when you would take vacations/time off from work.
☐ How much alone time do you need?
Lastly: Bring up anything else that is important to you. Be open, honest, and kind.
You might find some of these conversations to be refreshing or even relieving. If you’re unsure or find that you’re getting stuck, consider premarital counseling. I recommend premarital counseling for almost all couples ready to tie the knot. Premarital counseling can help by:
❖ Creating goals for your lives together.
❖ Reinforcing compatibility and connection.
❖ Assessing areas of tension or disagreement.
❖ Sorting out issues that you’ve struggled with in the past.
❖ Taking stock of your confidence in this exciting and big decision.
❖ Going over this checklist with a trained professional.
Have questions about premarital counseling? Contact me.
MCC offers pre-marital counseling for couples in Metuchen, Edison, Middlesex County, and surrounding areas in New Jersey. Couples of any gender, race, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation are welcome.