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4 min read

12 Essential Topics To Discuss Before Marriage

Couples therapy room

The period before marriage can be an overwhelming, yet exciting time. You've found that special person you want to spend the rest of your life with, and everything seems to be bursting with possibilities. However, married life isn't always easy, and it's essential that you and your future spouse be on the same page about important life ideas before taking the plunge. In this article, we'll discuss important topics to discuss before marriage that can help you maintain a strong relationship.

Why is it important to be on the same page?

When it comes to married life, you may wonder why it's important that you and your partner have a basic idea of what the other thinks about different things. After all, it's not like you have to agree on everything. But a major problem in many marriages is a lack of open and honest communication about certain things that may seem small but can become deal breakers as you live life together. Hashing out your thoughts and opinions on certain topics can help you avoid future trouble as family obligations change over time.

What Are Your Financial Goals, and How Can We Try to Reach Them?

Money and how it's handled is one of the biggest challenges in married life. Experts agree that before you start married life, you need to figure out your financial situation. Some financial questions to ask before marriage include:

  • What will day-to-day spending habits look like?
  • The need for a separate bank account
  • How much debt are we carrying, and how do we plan to pay it down?
  • What do your savings look like?
  • How are we splitting the finances, including bills, mortgages, and incidentals?
  • What do we need and want to spend money on?

On Shared Values

A successful marriage involves shared values. You may already have a pretty good idea of your partner's life goals and ideals, but it doesn't hurt to have a deeper discussion. Ask your partner what they see in your future. What do they believe makes a healthy marriage? Talk frankly about where you want to live, what family traditions are important to you, and your religious beliefs.

You don't necessarily need to have the same political views, but you should know what others think and make sure that they don't have any beliefs that are a huge deal breaker for you. Or you don't want to deal with fights and contention down the road because you didn't realize that it would be important for your partner to go to church every week, or attend some other significant religious event.

What Being a Partner Means

Another important concept to discuss is what your partner's expectations are, as far as what being a partner means to them. It's the "little things" that can come back to cause resentment in family life if you aren't sure about how the other person sees things. Some questions you may want to ask (and answer for your partner) include:

  • How much alone time do you need?
  • How will the household chores be allotted?
  • What will spending time together look like?
  • Is there a long-standing tradition that is important that we follow?
  • Are we sleeping in the same bed?

Honest conversation is important, and really, there aren't any small questions when it comes to how you plan to live together. Some may be more or less important to you or to your partner, but it's important to make sure you're on the same page.

What Are Your Expectations Around Childcare and Parenting?

This is a big topic and can be a bit tricky. Be sure that you are thinking along the same lines when it comes to parenting. Ask your partner questions like:

  • Do you want to have children? If so, when and how many?
  • What needs to be in line in our lives to make having children possible?
  • What are your thoughts on maternity or paternity leave?
  • How will other family members fit into the lives of our children (visits, babysitting, trips, etc.)?
  • What is your personal history as far as family life? (There may be unresolved trauma to deal with before someone is ready to be a healthy parent.)
  • How will domestic labor break down when children are thrown into the mix?

Communication Styles

Communication styles are an important way to better understand how you will deal with conflict resolution in the future. Someone who is assertive may have difficulty communicating in a totally honest way with someone who is passive-aggressive or simply aggressive. Ideally, you can work together with a therapist before marriage to figure this out.

Ambitions and Personal Goals

For some people, it's "just a job" while for others, a career is an important part of their identity and long-term goals. Have a talk about how work life will factor into your married life. Does one of you work unpredictable hours? How will you work around this?

Marriage is a Joining of Families: Family and In-Laws

Have a good idea of what your partner's relationship is with their family members, and how you feel about them. Know how often you'll visit, and what their presence in your life will look like. How much interaction will you have with your in-laws? Are you in agreement on these parameters?

What Are Your Relationship Deal-Breakers?

Many people have different deal breakers, and they aren't always "reasonable" from another's point of view. Make sure that you are fully aware of your partner's deal breakers.

Other Family and Friends

Social connections are a big part of life, and it's important to have an honest conversation about how you will manage your social life, both apart and together. You may have friends that you share or friends that one or the other doesn't really like.

What Are Your Expectations on Sex?

Honest discussions about your sex life can keep intimacy strong. Sexual needs should be established early, and discussed. A healthy relationship allows couples room for safety and comfort, but also imagination and play. Keep it fresh by being upfront from the beginning.

Future Living and Goals

What does the future look like for you and your partner? Do you have a dream house and a dream holiday home, or do you prefer apartment living? Does one of you prefer working part-time outside the home and taking on more domestic labor? Where do you see yourselves as a team five, 10, or 15 years down the road?

On Intimacy and Staying in Love

How do you want to spend time together? For one, a dream break may involve an action-packed camping trip and a long bike ride, while the other may envision a dream holiday in a luxury hotel. Both can be fun, just make sure that you find a way to allow for compromise and enjoy your dream as well as making room for your partner's. Alternating date nights and vacations can keep you close.

Seek Help Early

If you have any misgivings about communication or mismatches in your goals, couples or marriage counseling can help. A therapist can offer strategies for improving communication, share tools for conflict resolution, and take you beyond wedding planning and into life planning.

Preparing for Marriage Austin, TX

Wedding planning can be about more than finding the perfect dress and venue. Learn how to build the foundations for a healthy and happy marriage with a licensed therapist.

At Williamsburg Therapy Group, we have a team of doctoral-level Austin marriage counselors and psychotherapists that offer sessions at a variety of times both online therapy and in-person treatment so that even busy couples can get the help they need.

Book a Therapy Session in Austin Today

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