Let’s face it: Getting married is scary. No matter how beautiful the feeling is, the butterflies in your stomach are at an all-time high. The gravity of the situation increases manifold when you realise that your decision is going to influence the rest of your life and the people around you.
Here are the factors you need to take into account before taking the big step are:
How will we handle conflict?
What are the things that are ‘allowable’ and things that ‘cross the limits’?
What are the most important values that we’ll sustain in our relationship?
What are our career goals and what will it take for us to reach them?
Do either of us plan to change careers, and if so, how will we adjust our lifestyle and budget?
What do we do in case either of us gets too occupied with our work?
What is our current financial situation, including our total debt, savings and retirement funds?
Who will pay for which of our household expenses and bills?
What will be our monthly budget and emergency budget?
Are we happy with our current intimate life, or do either of us want more?
Do either of us want more romance? If so, what exactly are our most wished-for romantic gestures?
When do we want to have kids? How many kids do we plan to have?
Will one of us stop working after we have children? If yes, then who? How will that affect our lifestyle and finances?
What do we want our children to learn from our relationship?
Will we raise our kids with religious beliefs and traditions?
What are our independently-held or shared religious beliefs?
What are our spiritual beliefs and practices, and how will we include them in our life?
If we each have different religious beliefs, how will we maintain our own traditions and combine them, if possible?
- Household Duties:
Who will be responsible for which household chores?
Can we redo our job division list every couple of months, if either of us is unhappy with the balance of effort needed?
Do either of us need and enjoy alone time? How will we make that happen?
- Family Involvement:
How often will we visit our parents on a regular basis?
How will we deal with our respective family dramas?
How do we manage if either of our families come over to stay for a few days?
- Social Life:
How often will we spend time with our friends?
How will we deal with each other’s friends we don’t like very much?
How often will we have date nights?
How often will we go on vacations together?
- Mutual Expectations:
How much time is appropriate to give to work?
How do we deal with times when one or both of us have reached a midlife career point, and need to change some aspects of our life?
What do we expect from each other regarding emotional support during exciting times, sad times, periods of illness and job loss?
Go through this list with your partner well before you tie the knot, and you’ll damned how much easier it makes things on your special day. For better or for worse, you and your partner will have a clearer picture of the life that lies ahead of you. Revisit the list once every 6 months after marriage to see if any of your responses and feelings have changed.
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