Getting married is one of the biggest decisions a person will make in their lifetime.
And with any big commitment, the best thing you can do for yourself (and your significant other) is to be prepared as fully as humanly possible. If you are getting married, or are thinking about getting married, here are eight things you should do before committing your life to another person.
Communication is key
Everyone knows that communication is one of the most foundational necessities for a successful marriage. But what people do not realize is that it takes skill to be an effective communicator with your significant other. Take time to become skilled at telling your significant other what your needs or wants, frustrations, disappointments or dissatisfaction or anger are without making them feel attacked or putting them on the defensive.
This is a skill that will help prevent any unnecessary hurt and will put you on the path to a long and happy marriage.
Kids or no kids?
Do you know how many children your significant other wants, if any? This is a conversation that you should have with them before you tie the knot. Having a child changes every aspect of your life and if your significant other is not on the same page as you or vice versa, you could run into some serious problems down the road.
Having a conversation about family planning before marriage helps level set you both for what to expect after the honeymoon is over.
I’m not perfect
Before you tie the knot with your significant other, take time to acknowledge areas where you could possibly use improvement when it comes to your relationship. No person is the perfect husband or wife and taking time to acknowledge to your fiancee that you are aware of your shortcomings and are working on them shows that you are ready to work at the marriage as well.
Resolution is key
Hate your fiancees best friend? Not the biggest fan of your future in-laws? Okay. But remember that these people are important to your fiancee and they are going to be a part of your life for a long time. While you are not marrying these people, they are important to your fiancee and and issues between them and you puts your fiancee in a difficult position. If at all possible, you should try to resolve and issues you have with family and friends – but only that which is in your control. This is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your partner.
Marriage meetings – set them and keep them
This is something that many couples do not do, but when you get engaged, set weekly meetings with your fiancee to have short, conversations with a loose agenda that allow you both to discuss things like what you need to accomplish for your wedding as well as the other things happening in your lives.
Planning a wedding can be very stressful and will pull you both in all different directions. Committing to make time every week with your significant other will not only reduce stress, but will also foster feelings of intimacy, romance and teamwork.
Discuss your finances (even if you don’t want to)
Money is the number one reason that many couples fight. When going into your marriage, have that oh so fun conversation with your significant other about how your money will be managed. Discuss things like joint bank accounts and who will be managing the budget because after you are married, it will be a lot more stressful and complicated if you do not have a plan.
The biggest key to navigating finances is complete transparency. Your partner needs to know how you have been managing your money and vice versa. This will help you both in the long-run and will reduce (or even eliminate) arguments about money.
Difficult issues need to be addressed
Every couple has an issue or problem that they need to face. And while it is never fun to address issues head on, the best thing for your relationship and your future marriage is to address them. Sweeping your issues under the rug does not make them go away, it just adds fuel to the fire.
In order to have a successful marriage, you should work as a team to take your issues on together.
Premarital counseling is a good idea
The word “counseling” tends to have a negative aura around it, but premarital counseling is actually a good thing for couples to participate in before marriage. You can use this time to get any questions or concerns answered that you were not sure about. This time can also be used to set expectations about the marriage and how you both see things functioning after the “I do’s” have been said.
Having a good counselor before marriage also gives you an option for someone you trust in case you both need a little pick me up down the line. It never hurts to have a good resource available if needed.