Becoming engaged is a pretty big deal. Deciding to spend the rest of your lives together, maybe having a family, and sticking with each other through the most ridiculous arguments is both romantic and terrifying so it’s better to have a few of those big conversations out of the way.
If you have just gotten engaged or if you’re planning on becoming engaged, you should know about the most important topics to cover. It won’t guarantee you everlasting happiness, of course, and the talks may bring you both back down to earth a bit – that way, you won’t go into the next chapter of your life while being in the dark.
Here is a handful of things you should have had a talk or two about before putting a ring on it.
#1 Your goals: Money and career
Sadly, many of us realise while we’re in a relationship that we don’t have the same goals at all. Some of them are possible to overcome, however, and if you’re both willing to compromise, it can definitely still be worked around. Nonetheless, it is much better to know about this long before you get married.
The goals you both have in terms of money and careers should be covered first. The reasons behind it are simple; most couples end up arguing about money and personal finances above everything else, and the better you are at communicating with each other when touching this topic, the better your foundation for marriage will be.
How much do you think you should have been able to save within five years from now, for example? If you and your partner have very different goals in terms of saving, you could end up feeling either inadequate or quite frustrated.
Keep in mind that it is alright to have a different money personality than your partner, though, and even if your SO is an avid saver while you like to splurge a bit, you can still find a way to make it work without too many hiccups.
Think about how you would like to keep your personal finances as well and if they should be combined or separate. A lot of couples end up having a mix of this these days, by the way, and it’s a good middle ground to have.
No matter what you do, make sure to have this talk and be on the same page in terms of money long before you get married.
#2 Communication: How to argue
Arguments between loved ones will always happen but how you choose to handle them is up to you. Any old couple you ask for marriage advice will usually point to the same things as the most important factor: kindness and communication.
While we can all say things we shouldn’t say in the heat of the moment, it’s important to train yourself to be calm and stay non-reactive as well as non-defensive when you find yourself in the middle of a disagreement. React to the issue instead of the person, put yourself a step outside of the situation, and try to look at it logically.
It is important, however, to remember that being calm and logical when you’re emotional is quite difficult for most people. That’s why you need to take your partner’s feelings into consideration while arguing as well; if he or she is clearly emotional about something, you simply can’t expect them to be completely logical and it’s better to take a step away from the situation in order to diffuse it.
This is the basic foundation of empathy and you should hope that your partner treats you the same way if you’re emotional about something. The better you are at handling these kinds of situations long before you buy that diamond ring, the more love you’re going to preserve and grow in ten or fifty years from now rather than resentment and awful arguments.
#3 Children: To have or not to have?
As a big part of many people’s lives, having children is something you should have talked about quite early on. It doesn’t have to be a big talk with lots of plans and promises, though, as long as you have an idea of what your partner would want, in the future.
Realising that he wants a bunch of kids while you’d rather have none would, after all, be quite an obstacle in your relationship.
There is, however, much more to having children than just deciding on how many. What are their views on different parenting techniques, for example, and how will they be raised in terms of religion? What if you’re not able to conceive – is your partner open to other options such as adoption?
Plus, what do you imagine that their discipline style will be like? In order to give your child a steady and consistent upbringing, it is important that their parents agree on the basic things and work together as a team.
If your partner should communicate a much stricter discipline style than you had in mind, you need to know where the other one is standing and how you can still be united while giving your kids a great childhood.
Many couples end up struggling when they don’t lay down this fundamental foundation of marriage and you should both be in-the-know when it comes to discussions about children and parents. A lot of this will be rather clear to you if you know their family and how they were brought up, though, but it’s good to talk about it as well so that you avoid any major problems later on.
The more you’re able to talk through the difficult topics and come to an agreement, the better it will feel when the big day is approaching. Now you will both be ready to start the rest of your lives together and may, hopefully, avoid a few of these common arguments in the future.