Although I’ve been married for 10 plus years now, I can still remember when my hubby, Eric, and I were just dating. We were so young and excited about the future. Getting engaged and then getting married was a very exciting time in our lives. Now we talk with and enjoy spending time with couples in the same boat as we were all those years ago. Transitioning from single life to married life is not only exciting, but it is also life-changing.
Over the years, by talking with other couples and from our own experiences, I’ve discovered that there are a few conversations every couple should have not just before getting married, but also before even getting engaged. Because once the ring is purchased, the date is set, and you have said yes to the dress, the focus is often more on the wedding day than the marriage thereafter. So here are five things every couple should talk about before getting engaged. (And a few things few things even some of us married women may need to revisit with our hubby’s ?)
Your faith is not only an important part of you. It will also be very important part of your marriage and how you will raise any children you may have. You both may be at very different points in your faith walk, but you should be walking towards the same God.
You have to talk about not only your faith and beliefs, but how dedicated are you to them. Is going to church important to you? How often do you think you should go to church? How do you feel about serving in your church? What does your prayer life look like? Do you pray together now? And if not, why and how can you start?
I know there are many couples that have successful marriages that do not share the same faith. Yet at one point or another that will cause some issues. I could not imagine going to church on Sunday without Eric or every night praying alone. There are so many storms in life that we all will experience, having that solid foundation of you, your future husband, and God is so important to help you get through them.
2) Family Boundaries
As much as we love our families and how important those relationships are to us, getting married changes the dynamics of those relationships. The Bible makes it clear that we are to become one in marriage.
At first, this is very hard, but if you talk about these changes early and the boundaries you want in your marriage, it will help you to be on one accord. It could be something as simple as making sure everyone calls, especially your parents, before coming over. There are two boundaries that we set up early in my own marriage that has helped us in so many ways and recommended to all married couples.
The first one is that we never lend or give money to any family members, or anyone, without talking to each other first. It does not matter the amount, unless it comes from our own personal allowance. Lending or giving money to family can be a sticky situation. You need to make sure you both are on the same page before agreeing to do so.
Another boundary we have is whenever there is an issue or situation that arises between a family member and either of us, the member of that family has to address. For example, if I am having an issue with my mother-in-law, who I love by the way ?, I do not address my issue with her. I talk to my husband about it, then he addresses it and vice versa. You want to have the best relationships we can with our in-laws and this helps to do just that.
Now money is a hot topic for us all, but especially in marriage. So you have to talk about how you will handle your finances as a couple. It should not be his and yours, but it should be ours.
Nothing should separate you, including your money. However, in order for that to be the case, you have to talk about it. How you steward your money now, can greatly affect how you will manage after you get married. Along with how you will manage your money, you also have to talk about how you will make money. Do you want to eventually become a stay at home mom, SAHM, once you have kids? If so, how does your future husband feel about it and how will that work for your family?
I remember telling Eric that I eventually want to become a SAHM, but we never really talked about it or planned for it. So when I made the decision to stop working it was rough at first because we were not prepared. Our marriage suffered for a while because of it. So do not make the same mistake I did, talk about it now.
Having individual goals is so important, but I think having goals for marriage is even more important. You cannot be working towards the same goals if you have never sat down to talk about what those are.
Where do you see yourselves in 1 year? 5 years? 10 years? What does work-life balance mean to you? All things you want to not only talk about before getting engaged, but to continue talking about for years to come. You also want to not just talk about them, but you want to write them down and even have a visual representation of the vision and goals you have. Vision boards are great visual tool reminders, both for your marriage and potentially family to come. Teamwork definitely makes the dream work!
We all have expectations. Such expectations of how our marriage should be and how your future husbands should treat us. Having expectations is fine. It is when we do not talk about those expectations and hold others accountable to unspoken expectations that it can start to cause problems. By talking about your expectations you can get a realistic look at how your marriage will truly look, not just the way you think it should look.
Every marriage, like the people in it, is very unique. Your marriage will not look like your parents or anyone else you know and that’s one of the beautiful things about marriage. By talking about your expectations, you can both see which ones are realistic and which ones are not. You can also see where compromises can be made. Everything will not be a win-win, but learning how to compromise early is never a bad thing.
Getting married is a big step in a relationship. Taking the time to talk about important things before getting engaged would help you to focus more on the marriage you want to have than just the wedding day. Talking about your faith, family boundaries, money, goals, and expectations will help you to really see if planning a wedding is really even in your future and best interest. Because if you ask any person who has been married more than a day, what happens after the wedding day is always more important than anything that happened on that day.
If are on your way to getting engaged or walking down the aisle,
I’d love to hear if these are things you have already talked about;
And if you are already married, what advice would you give to someone considering getting engaged
in the comments!