Many couples put a lot of focus on the wedding day and planning the perfect honeymoon. This is such an exciting time and this one small period in their lives together has been planned to the tiniest detail. But how many of those couples have put as much effort into working out and planning the rest of their lives together?
Couples meet, fall in love, decide they are compatible and want a life together. Usually some sort of routine is worked out to live together and there are general plans in place for buying a home or having kids. That’s usually about it.
Having a successful marriage takes work. Both before you plan the wedding day to make sure you both really want the same goals in life, or near enough that you can make it work, and throughout the relationship.
I have detailed some of the key areas that really need to be discussed and resolved before you walk down the aisle.
1. Work out your goals.
- Where do you want to be in 5 years or 10 years?
- Where do you see yourselves living – country, city, by the beach, in the suburbs?
- Do you want to travel before you buy a house? Do you even want to buy a house?
2. Plan the children – if any. Sounds simplistic but kids are one of the biggest strains on a relationship.
- Do you want kids, how many and when?
- If you have kids, what sort of education do you want for them?
- Will one parent stay home until the kids start school or do you both want to continue your careers?
3. Work out the finances. This is another huge strain on some relationships.
- Will you have a shared account or keep your finances completely separate?
- How will you manage the finances if you have children and one of you stops work?
- Are you savers or spenders and do you match on the levels you both want.
- What are your financial goals?
- How do you determine large expenses?
4. Work out the household chores. You may be living together and have found a routine that works or maybe it isn’t working and one of you is feeling a bit resentful.
- How are the household chores divided?
- Do you want to pay for some services or rather do them yourselves?
5. Plan to spend time apart. A healthy relationship requires both individuals to have their own activities and time apart from each other.
- Are you comfortable with your partners hobbies and the amount of time spent on them?
- Do you have an issue with your partner having friends of the opposite sex and spending time with them?
- How do you plan to spend time apart?
6. Extended families and celebrations. This is often an issue which is overlooked in the dating stage but often becomes a problem when married or when the kids come along.
- Where will you spend Christmas celebrations and will you divide the time between extended families?
- How much of a role will extended families play in your relationship? Are you both comfortable with this?
7. Blended Families. More and more we see couples coming together with children from a previous relationship. This can be a really interesting one to navigate and can place a big strain on a great relationship. Some things to consider are:
- How much time will the kids spend with each biological parent?
- How will discipline be handled and who will give it?
- How will you manage alone time together without the children?
- How will the finances be managed around the children?
- How will you integrate family celebrations to suit you and the children?
- Who will care for the children and take them to activities?
Some of this is covered in general conversation that you have had over time but often the details or differences are ignored in the expectation that they will be worked out later on. Generally speaking, if they can’t be worked out now, then they aren’t going to magically resolve themselves once you have a ring on your finger.
Put some time into planning your future and your relationship now and set yourself up to have a successful long standing relationship. Of course some of these goals and details will change and evolve over time but doing this exercise gives you a rough roadmap and highlights many problems before they occur.
If you find there are areas that you can’t come to agreement on, then get some professional help. People usually leave counselling until the relationship is in real crisis. The best time to get help is while the relationship is still healthy but you are aware of some issues. It’s a bit like servicing your car. Pay attention to it regularly and it should run smoothly. Wait till it breaks down, the cost is much higher and it may not be fixable!
Going to pre-marital counselling can seem like a waste of time when you are so in love and everything is wonderful but it is a great tool to help make sure you have laid a really solid foundation and set you up for a long-term successful relationship. Feel free to call me on on 0468 950 420 for a FREE 10-minute consultation and find out how I can help you or press BOOK NOW button to find my available appointment and schedule an online booking.
Good luck and enjoy your big day!