So, you’ve finally found them — the person of your dreams. Now, it seems the next logical step is to get married. After all, you’re in love, and that’s all you need to handle whatever curves life may throw your way.
However, with so many people divorcing these days, it’s more important than ever to take the time to consider whether you are truly ready to devote yourself to a life-long commitment.
People spend so much time planning for that special day — the day of their wedding. But what about planning for the actual marriage, which is meant to last the rest of your life? As you would with any long-term commitment, marriage is something that you should plan for. So before you take the plunge, take the time to consider some things that could have an effect on your level of happiness.
1. Are You Ready To Get Married? During their teens and 20’s, people change considerably. Until a person has matured as an individual, it is difficult to know if a relationship that worked for them in their younger years will still be working for them years later. Have you experienced everything you wanted to as a single person?
2. Finances — Do you have enough money to get married? Getting married can be expensive. Once you are married, how will you spend your money? Discussing money issues ahead of time, (spending habits and where you each feel your money should go), can prevent disagreements later. Discuss how you and your partner feel about buying, saving, and sharing bank accounts. How will the bills be split up? Will a prenuptial agreement be necessary?
3. How Alike Are You? Where do you stand on important issues such as religion and having children? Do you both agree on what a “good relationship” looks like? Do your personalities clash or are you in-sync? While some people prefer that their mate to be very similar to them, others feel that differences “spice up” the relationship.
4. Personal Needs and Beliefs — What do you need to make a relationship work? What are your views on important issues such as loyalty, honesty, and dealing with anger? How do your views fit with your partners? What behaviors are considered to be “off-limits”? Communicate these with your partner.
5. Communication Skills — How do you plan to communicate with your partner? Do you know how to fight fairly? There will be things you disagree on — how will you handle this? Set ground rules for communication, making sure to discuss specific issues such as arguing, yelling, and name-calling.
6. Life Outside of Marriage — Having a life outside of your partner is vital, and it is important to maintain your identity rather than to lose yourself in your mate. Discuss how much time you will set aside to spend time with friends, or on hobbies.
7. Do You Want To Have Children? If so, how many? How do you plan to discipline them, raise them, and care for them? How would you handle issues such as infertility and adoption should they come up? Having children brings changes into your relationship and you will have less time to focus on the two of you.
8. Employment — What are your long-term career goals? Will you have to travel or relocate for your job? Do you spend long hours at the office? Do your work schedules allow enough time for you to spend together? What kind of effect will your job have on your family life? If you have children, will someone quit their job to take care of them?
9. Sex — Being unsatisfied with your sex life can cause problems in your relationship. Discuss your expectations with your partner, and find out what he/she expects from you in return.
10. Daily Life — Who will be responsible for daily activities such as household chores and paying the bills? How will these responsibilities be handled if life’s circumstances change — for example, when children are born or work hours are changed?
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