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When people hear the word marriage, they might think of love and happiness. Most don’t think about the day to day realities that need to be addressed. Marriage, yes is full of love and there can be some wonderful moments along the way, but the other side of marriage is not so glamorous. It’s filled with finances, car troubles, loans, job stress, and kids. So how do you know you’re ready to walk down the aisle and say, “I do”?

  • Finances
    • This is so crucial in marriage because this can often be a big source of conflict. Knowing each other’s incomes, knowing the bills, and knowing what your savings goals are is important. Maybe your partner wants to save up for a car, and you want to save up for a vacation, those things should be discussed and agreed upon. 
    • Joint or Separate accounts is another thing people don’t always think about. Do you guys want to stay completely separate? Do you want separate and joint accounts? Or, do you just want joint accounts? This is another area of finances that needs to be discussed. If you go fully joint, that means constant communication throughout the day of what’s been spent, so the other is aware of what is left in the account. If you have both separate and joint, you need to discuss what the joint account is used for. Is it used for bills? Gas? Groceries? 
    • As stated before, spending habits. Maybe when you’re in a relationship it’s cute that he spends $300 a month on games or cars, or what have you, but when you’re married with bills, loans, and car payments, it might not be so cute anymore. Discussing reasonable spending is important. Maybe each of you gets $50-150 a month for personal spending depending on your combined income. Maybe you know one of you is more frugal and the other is impulsive, how do you handle that imbalance? How does one address the impulsive spending? These are things to think about and discuss before saying, “I do.”
    • Who keeps records? Who is going to make a monthly budget, keep track of bills, and make sure things are going smoothly financially? Is it one of you, or will you divide and conquer? Who has the skills to do this?
    • Loans that you haven’t paid off should be discussed before marriage. Once you say “I do” your spouses’ financial troubles may well become your financial troubles. 
  • Household Chores
    • There is going to be plenty of housework that needs to be done daily. Dishes, laundry, yard work, cooking, taking out the trash, etc. Who does what? Who is stronger in which areas? For me, my husband cooks because I am abysmal at cooking. I do the cat litter because he hates it with a passion. We compromise and discuss. Making sure you know who does what is important, not only for equality purposes but so you both agree on what you might be more comfortable doing.
  • Kids
    • Have you discussed kids? Do you already have kids? This is very important that should not be skimped out on. Knowing whether your partner wants to be a parent or despises the idea can really become an issue if you are on opposite ends of these desires. 
    • If you want kids, how do you want to have kids? I know most might think, “Pregnancy, duh!” but what if the woman doesn’t want to ever get pregnant? What if there are fertility issues? Is surrogacy okay? Is adoption okay? These are very important to discuss. 
  • Careers
    • This might not seem important if young or in the early stages of dating, but it really is important. Knowing whether your partner wants a job that has to travel all the time might not be something you want. Or what if your partner wants a job where they are risking their lives, like a police officer, fireman, or FBI agent? What if they have a job with odd hours and might be on call like a Doctor? These are important things to discuss so you know if you truly do want to be with this person and the lifestyle that may accompany their career choice.
  • Relationship and Moral Values
    • This is crucial. Having open and honest talks about your values in life and your idea of what a relationship entails might be one of the most important conversations to have to get an idea if you two are compatible long term. Do you both want a monogamous relationship, or are you okay with polygamous relationships? Are you okay with porn and cam girls, or do you feel being monogamous means just you? These are topics to discuss, in non-judgmental ways so you can get a better idea of where your values lie. If you feel stealing is wrong, and your partner thinks it doesn’t matter, that is something to address before walking down the aisle. 

This book, Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married by Gary Chapman, who wrote the book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts is amazing to read before marriage, in fact, both of those books address important topics. When Jak and I were together, during the first year we talked a lot about the topics above. We took Gary Chapmans love language test, and I’d already read the book Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married, so I knew what topics to address throughout the relationship. 

In your relationship, do get to know each other and share. Understand what is important to each other, your goals in life, the things you aspire for. Make sure you’re compatible before walking down the aisle.