Getting married is obviously great if you’re in love and having the time of your lives together. But there are certain conversations every couple should have before swearing ’til death do them part. Relationship expert Tara Caffelle says these are the 10 chats all couples need to have before their big day.
Explore together what your expectations are of money, your uses for it, how you like to save and spend. No answers are wrong, but it’s important to avoid surprises (and also conflict) down the road.
The only time that sex becomes an issue in a relationship is when there are differing expectations about how much of it is being had… or isn’t. The important thing is to talk about how much of it is normal in your relationship and if you’re on the same page, even if it’s significantly more or less than is “expected,” you’re fine. But please have the discussion, because sex waxes and wanes in a long-term relationship.
3) Love languages
Discuss how each of you gives and receives love. If there is a difference – and there is likely to be – it can create a feeling of not being loved when it’s not given to you in the way or love language you “speak.”
Beyond sex, intimacy is the real foundation of a successful relationship. Explore what you’d like together, and how you would like to build on what you have. This is the vulnerable stuff, and it may take some bravery to open up. If you’re both willing to deepen your connection, your relationship will only continue to bloom.
5) The future
What are your goals and visions? How might you support one another in going after them? It’s ok to have very different paths ahead, and it’s important to identify commonalities and areas you can work at as a team.
With more people choosing to not have children, this is a topic that’s no longer a foregone conclusion when a couple marries. Talk about your expectations around when, and if, you’ll start a family, how you would approach raising your kids, and what sort of home you would like to build around them.
7) Expectations for family relationships
Getting married means you’re blending two families, along with their traditions, expectations and dynamics, so it’s important to talk about this ahead of time. Define how your new family will celebrate holidays and how you will choose to spend that time. Recognise that you are now a team and a family unit of your own.
This is a really important topic, even if a couple agrees that they’ll be monogamous, there may be varying ideas about what that actually looks like. Is one partner expecting that their spouse will never again speak to a member of the opposite sex, or is it ok to kiss old friends when meeting them after a long time? Talk about this beforehand.
There will be conflict in any relationship, it’s natural. If there isn’t, then the people in the relationship are perhaps not entirely engaged in it. With this inevitability, it’ll serve you well to talk about how you each approach conflict. This means designing how you’ll approach conflict and deciding on some strategies to employ while you’re still in agreement that work for you. For instance, it doesn’t work for all couples to resolve their conflicts in order to “not go to bed angry”; sometimes you won’t be able to address it all before bed, and will have to agree to continue your discussions in the morning.
10) End of life
This should be an ongoing discussion, but it’s really never too early to learn about your partner’s preferences for care if they were very ill. This is something you can speak about with your entire family, actually, and it provides more peace of mind as the sickness and health part of the vows plays out.