This series is mainly about how to plan your wedding with your budget and eco-initiatives in mind. However, before you began to plan for your wedding you should consider planning for your marriage. (And maybe you’ve already done this.) After all, the wedding is just the celebration of the marriage. This is going to be your lifelong partner in all things so let’s take a step back and revisit a few things that will help set a solid foundation for your future marriage.
Please, keep in mind that I am not a certified counselor and I’ve only been married for 2 years. However, my husband and I have gone through very difficult and life changing times throughout those two years. We started new careers, moved several times, delt with cancer in our immediate family, and had a child. Preparing our hearts before marriage kept our relationship strong during difficult life changes and new and exciting adjustments. I highly recommend premarital counseling for those who are interested.
Talk about your marriage expectations.
What might seem obvious to you may not be obvious to your partner, especially if you come from different cultural or socioeconomic backgrounds. Talk about what roles you each plan to play in your marriage and the expectations you have for each other and the role you expect marriage to plan in your life together.
Talk about boundaries.
Boundaries are important in every relationship. In my opinion there are 3 main boundaries: spiritual, sexual, emotional. Do you believe your religion comes before your spouse? What about sexual boundaries? Do you want to keep some independence and separation when it comes to emotional boundaries? Knowing your partner’s boundaries and voicing yours with create better communication and emotional maturity in your relationship.
Talk about sex.
I have found that for a lot of people talking about sex with their partner can be embarrassing or intimidating. My momma always told me, “If you’re not ready to talk about sex you’re probably not ready to have it.” I think there is wisdom in this point of view. You should be able to openly and freely talk about sex with your partner. What are your needs? Your desires? Do you want to experiment? What are you comfortable with and what are your absolute no’s when it comes to sex? What are your expectations sexually in your partner and are those expectation something you are comfortable with? Are you going to be sexually exclusive and are you comfortable with your partner’s desire in this area? This is important because sometimes our sexual expectation can be very different than our partner’s. The ability to be able to talk about sex, express your needs, desires, and what you don’t and do like builds emotional and physical intimacy. This is especially important for woman who need a little more time and attention to climax.
Talk about finances.
I know finances are private. And they should be. However, this is going to be your life partner and your financial history and decisions could really affect them and vice versa. You’ll need to discuss your credit scores, any debt, monthly expenses, financial planning, 401ks, IRAs, emergency funds and savings. You’ll need to discuss how each of you approach money and decide if you need to see a financial planner or advisor. You’ll need to make a budget and discuss if you are going to keep separate accounts and split the bills or if you’re going to have one account and share the bills, or keep extra accounts in each of your names for savings, etc. You’ll also need to discuss your financial goals not only for the next year but for the next 5 and 10 years and also discuss how you will approach change when it comes to your finances.
Talk about family planning.
Do you want children? How many children? Are there names you really want to use to name your children? Do you want to adopt? How about surrogacy or in vetro? Do you want to be a foster parent? How do you plan on financing a child or children? What about insurance? How do you want to educate your children? How to you want to discipline children? Are there ways you don’t want to discipline children? Do you believe in contraception? If so, what kind of contraception are you willing to use? Do you believe in abortion and how does your partner feel about it? These are all important questions to consider. Family planning can make and break marriages down the road. Asking these kinds of questions openly will lay a foundation for when you decide you want kids or need to use contraception.
Talk about the role extended family will play in your marriage.
Are you really close to your family? How about your partner? Are they close to their family? Are you both close to each other’s family? Sometimes family can become toxic so it’s important to discuss your boundaries when it comes to sharing with your family and the influence they will play in your martial decisions. Gaining wisdom from your family is very different than oversharing or misrepresenting your partner to family. Discuss how you’ll manage your extended family’s expectations and how to manage those relationships within the context of your marriage.
Talk about dreams.
Do you plan on becoming the first female president? Or how about a doctor or lawyer? Maybe you want to join the military. Maybe you want to be a stay-at-home dad or mom. Or maybe you want to start your own business? Maybe you want to travel to every european country or hike the Appalachian trail. It’s important to keep your partner in the loop when it comes to your dreams and your career goals so they can help support you. If your dreams and goals are not something they support then they may not be the right fit for you or maybe those goals and dreams are toxic or inappropriate and your partner may have valid concerns. Or maybe you’ll notice that you’ve outgrown those dreams and goals are discovering new and fresh ones. It’s always important to be open and honest. You may even consider going to a career counselor for advice or creating a dream board together.
Talk about how to approach conflict.
It can be easy to hold things in or prolong an argument. But this does a disservice to your relationship. You and your partner will have disagreements. How do you deal with conflict? How does your partner deal with conflict? Are these healthy ways to deal with conflict? What are healthy ways of dealing with conflict? If not, how can you both work on dealing with conflict better? How can you support each other in times of conflict? Has your partner shown warning signs of domestic abuse? If so, contact a professional immediately! Arguments can escalate very quickly and you both need to be in a safe and secure physical and emotional environment to resolve conflict effectively. Remember, any type of physical or emotional violence is a warning sign whether it’s a scratch, a punch, a threat of physical violence, a threat of suicide, a destructive comment about who you are or what you look like. If you find yourself in this situation seek help immediately! Even if it’s just happened once. Click this link to get help now https://www.thehotline.org/help/.
Talk about how to approach change.
I saved the best for last. LIFE IS FULL OF CHANGE!!! Your approach to change and your expectation for change should be communicated to your partner and vice versa. You’ll need to set yourself up for success when life’s changes happen. If you or your partner don’t have a healthy way to deal with change it may be a good idea to see a licensed counselor to help you both take steps to help each other when approaching change.
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