Marriage is one of the biggest decisions of your life. When you say “I do”, you’ll be linking yourself to another person not just romantically, but in every other way. It’s a big commitment that is best not taken lightly . Before you tie the knot, be sure to explore with your partner the following six areas. While this is certainly not an exhaustive list, it’s at least addressing some core factors that will give your marriage a better chance of success if discussed. Feel free to call Sylvia with any of your premarital or couples counseling questions at (619) 318-1901.
It’s important to know the financial habits and picture of your future spouse before you get married. The two biggest areas that lead to divorce are over financial and sexual differences. Be sure to communicate your financial needs, vision and current debt and create a budget before you marry. Explore questions such as: What are each of your spending habits? Are you savers or spenders? What are your financial goals? Retirement goals? How do you view taking on debt in the form of loans?
2. Do You Want Children?
How many children do you or your partner want? Sometimes, you may not want to have a child and that must be discussed with your partner. It’s imperative that you are both on the same page regarding children. Unfortunately, some couples make the mistake of thinking this difference will “work itself out”, and it usually doesn’t and often leads to divorce.
3. Sexual Expectations
As stated above, sexual dissatisfaction is one of the two leading causes of divorce. This may be uncomfortable for some couples to talk about, but it’s very important. Discuss what expectations you have as a couple after you are no longer a newly married couple. Discuss needs and preferences and make sure you are both able and committed to meet each other’s needs.
This is an area often overlooked because it seems so remote. Have you talked to each other about the expectations each of you have regarding the care of your parents when they age? This care involves money, housing and time. Sometimes there are vastly different desires surrounding the care of aging parents and this is another good stone to turn over.
You both don’t have to be of the same spiritual or religious practice, but it’s a very good idea to make sure your beliefs don’t conflict or there aren’t unspoken desires or expectations in this area. Often, these differences don’t come to light as much until children are born.
6. Is He or She the Right One for You?
Going into a marriage quickly or blindly without a solid foundation will most likely not end well. You need to know as well as you can that the person you’re about to marry is the right one for you. Are the two of you best friends? Can you discuss anything with your partner? Do you communicate openly and navigate disagreement without it leading to conflict? Do you have a lot in common, enjoy each other’s company and laugh? Are your values aligned?
It’s important to go into a marriage with the general idea that it will last forever. We don’t know what the future holds for us, but we should always do our best to marry with the intent that this is the person we’ll want to be with for the rest of our life.
Many couples decide on premarital counseling as an investment in their marriage. If you are interested in premarital counseling, I am experienced this service and would be happy to discuss details and any questions you might have. Please call or email to reach me.
Sylvia Flanagan, MFT is a San Diego therapist with a private practice in Mission Valley. For more information about San Diego Counseling, feel free to call or email her. Office hours are Monday through Thursday 10:00 am through 6:00 pm.