Create These Conversations To Get Your Marriage On The Right Track.
Often times, couples are just trying to make things right, strengthening the relationship with effort and intention, creating the conversations, keeping the dialogue open, building and maintaining a happy relationship or marriage.
But we all know that happily ever after doesn’t happen for everyone.
As a marriage therapist, I see a lot of couples.
Lots of heartbreak and heartbreak.
Often – eventually – lots of happiness and smiles.
I see them thinking, feeling that “yes, we are going to make it”.
These are the times when, as a therapist, I cling, hug, and run.
While many of the couples I work with are married, others are not.
These couples come to me for premarital counseling.
These same couples want to do whatever it takes to ensure that, before they walk down the aisle, they are on the same wavelength and these nagging little issues don’t turn into bigger issues that wreak havoc and end the relationship.
Regardless of your opinion on marital/premarital counseling, I’m not here to change your mind.
What I mean is that there are significant long-term benefits for couples who take the time to engage in these necessary conversations before they get married, rather than waiting (as many do) until they get married, the years go by, and discord. and conflict appear and dominate a couple that was happy.
Here are 7 conversations and questions to ask before marriage.
We all have a relationship with money.
What is yours?
How do you see money?
Are you a spender or a saver?
If you have disposable income, how do you spend it?
Do you think you should have separate or joint accounts or both?
One of you makes more money than the other?
If yes, how will you split the expenses?
And the big purchases?
Do you have a budget?
How are/will the house costs be paid?
How about going out?
Who bears this expense?
Do you get a bonus at work?
What will you do with that money?
Talking about money can be a step toward preventing financial infidelity.
2. Extended Family
What are the differences in your family of origin?
Do your families get along well?
How significant are the differences?
How similar are they?
For example, do you come from a family that talks loudly or yells?
Was it difficult to express yourself? (This generally applies to communication styles).
What are your family traditions? You have some?
Will there be a conflict between traditions… especially around the holidays?
Do you have similar or different values?
Are you on the same wavelength on these points?
Do you discuss them now?
If there are differences, are they difficult to resolve?
How important are your values?
Is there room for compromise?
How is your lifestyle?
What are the similarities versus the differences?
How big are they?
Is one active and the other a television junkie?
How do you see your downtime?
And your use of social media?
What are the limits?
How do you spend your time away from work?
What are the expectations regarding time together and the break?
5. Communication Styles
Are you a distancer or stalker?
You either lean towards conflict (it’s not about being confrontational – big difference) or you run for the hills and avoid conflict.
Great Author John Gottman believes that men’s tendency to withdraw and women’s tendency to chase is linked to our physiology and reflects a basic gender difference and notes that this pattern is extremely common and is a major contributor to marital breakdown. .
Communication problems is the number one complaint expressed by couples.
6. Work/Life Balance
How important is your work to you?
Are you able to balance the demands of work and home?
How you do it?
Do you worry that once you’re married, that will change?
Does your partner understand/support your work – especially if they are very demanding on your time?
Do you discuss the importance of time apart versus time together?
Does that worry you?
Do you have your own friends and interests outside of the relationship?
Do you want children?
What are your parenting styles?
Are they similar?
How will you reconcile the differences in how you were raised and how you want to be a parent?
Do you plan to mirror your parents?
What would it be like to have a family?
Who will stay home?
Do you two need to work?
What about time away from the kids?
What are your thoughts on how you will nurture the relationship once the children arrive?
Are you ready to walk down the aisle but still feel like you have unresolved issues?
Do these questions to ask before marriage make you reflect on your relationship and whether or not you’re making the right decision?
Answering yes to any of these questions may indicate that premarital counseling should be considered.