Written by: Vidhya Sathyamoorthy
Vidhya Sathyamoorthy is a Malaysian blogger who writes about all things adulting here. Follow her on Instagram @theeconomicsofadulting and check out her blog.
Many of us envision having the perfect wedding at a beautiful venue, impeccably dressed, with family and friends surrounding us. Tons of Pinterest boards are created and shared to replicate a certain wedding aesthetic. In fact, weddings have become a multi-billion dollar industry encompassing event planning, catering, floral arrangements, photography, fashion design, etc. Weddings are indeed a momentous occasion signifying the union of two people who are deeply in love and that deserves to be celebrated.
However, under pressure to plan the perfect ceremony, couples spend the months leading up to their wedding with so much on their plates; booking the right venue, deciding on the décor and menu, outfit fittings, pre-wedding photoshoots, and so much more. Most conversations begin to revolve around the wedding. It can be really hectic, but it’s important to keep things in perspective and make time to discuss certain important topics before tying the knot. Go to the wedding and into the marriage with clarity about your partner’s goals, aspirations, and expectations.
5 important things you should discuss before getting married include:
In 2019, an article on Business Insider identified financial problems as one of the most common reasons people get divorced. Though this can be a little awkward to bring up, it’s an important thing to discuss to avoid major problems down the road. After marriage, the two of you make a promise to share your lives with one another, so why not start by sharing the state of your finances?
The idea here is not to judge, ridicule, or compare who makes more money. It’s to understand each other’s commitments and to be on the same page, financially speaking. Many of us have student loans or other debts to take care of while others may have little to no savings. Have an open conversation about your income, commitments, debt obligations, and savings goals.
What will you do after marriage? Do you both deposit a certain amount into a joint account that you then use to pay the bills? If so, how much can you contribute? The goal is to have a healthy conversation about your joint income and expenses. All decisions moving forward including where to stay, what type of property to rent or lifestyle to adopt will be based on this, so be open and honest.
#2: Long-term goals and aspirations
What are your long-term goals and aspirations? What about your partner? Here’s the ultimate question; are your goals compatible? If you hope to settle down abroad in the future whereas your partner hopes to stay close to his/her family, this may cause a great deal of friction down the line. That’s not to say that two individuals with differing aspirations are completely incompatible, but having a conversation beforehand and finding some sort of middle ground is crucial. Otherwise, the one who ultimately is forced to compromise may feel cheated and this could cause feelings of resentment.
#3: Views on raising a family
Do you want to have kids? If so, how many and when? What about your partner? Communicate with one another about your views on raising a family. If you wish to have kids later on after climbing the corporate ladder, talk about it. Your partner may very well understand and support your decision, but it’s important to give him/her a chance to do that. Otherwise, this can lead to arguments in the future.
#4: Household management
What do you expect from your spouse after marriage? If you both work, how do you delegate the household chores? Start a conversation with your partner about how they envision married life to be. If it’s important to you that household work and chores are shared equally between the two of you, communicate that. Come up with a game plan on how you can both manage the household together. This could mean one person cooks and the other washes up, or you can do it together while talking about your day. Household chores seem like a petty thing to discuss, but it can prevent arguments and pent-up frustration years into the marriage.
#5: Family and social circles
Do you have a big family or a group of very close friends? Is it important to you that your partner spends time with your family, attending important functions, and takes the effort to hang out with your friends? Chances are when you’re dating, the two of you spend a lot of alone time together, getting to know one another and falling in love. But once you get married, you spend more time with each other’s friends and family.
If you have a big, tight-knit family and you expect your partner to attend a variety of family functions with you, then put it out there and let them know. If both of you come from big families, then odds are the two of you are used to such family dynamics. Misunderstandings or arguments may arise when one person comes from a big family while the other comes from a relatively small family. So, communicate and be willing to compromise.
If spending time with your friends regularly is important to you, make sure to talk about it. Sometimes, people may have different expectations about how much time is spent with friends after marriage. For example, say A and B are married. A feels unhappy about B going out for weekly or bi-weekly drinks with friends. Over time, B might start making excuses to skip it. Ultimately, B and his/her friends may grow apart and this could cause B to have feelings of anger towards A.
Also, do you expect your partner to hang out with your group of friends? How does he/she feel about it? There’s no ideal outcome here. To each their own. The key thing, however, is to come to some form of understanding on how the two of you will navigate each other’s social circles after marriage. The two of you may decide to hang out with your friends together or you may each spend time with your own circle of friends separately and reconvene for a gossip session back at home. Whatever works, as long as you’re both on board.
If you’re planning to tie the knot sometime soon, congratulations! I wish you a lifetime of happiness with your partner. Do take the time to discuss the things listed above with your partner to ensure that the two of you are on the same page as you begin this journey together. The goal isn’t to find a partner who thinks exactly as you do, it’s alright to have differing opinions. The important thing is to communicate, compromise, and find solutions that work for the both of you.
Vidhya Sathyamoorthy is a Malaysian blogger who writes about all things adulting. Follow her on Instagram @theeconomicsofadulting and check out her blog.