There is something incredible about being in love. What else can cause such intense feelings of invincibility? When you’re in love, it can feel as though there’s nothing you cannot accomplish or get through as long as you are together. During this season of life, marriage may seem inevitable. However, regardless of how bulletproof your relationship may feel, there are some crucial things to consider before making a lifelong commitment.
It Not All About You
Marriage is full of compromise. Each time you make a decision, you will have to stop to consider the other person’s feelings and preferences. Some choices will be relatively easy, but some may cause conflict in the relationship over time. While some decisions such as where to eat, or what to watch on television can often be quickly resolved, other choices may lead to huge disagreements. For instance, could it cause conflict if you were to choose to spend a late night out with friends? Will his buddies expect him to stop by the local bar for a drink after work occasionally? If you are not careful, some choices can lead to deep resentment that can severely damage or even destroy a marriage.
To Have or Not Have Children
Children are a big responsibility both financially and emotionally. Have you discussed having children? Would you want to start a family immediately after marriage or wait a few years? Perhaps your partner does not want to have children at all. If you do agree to have children, how big of a family would you want? How will your kids be disciplined? Who will care for them when you are both at work? Will you both still hold full-time jobs once children are in the picture? These are all questions that need to be discussed before getting married. Differences in opinion when raising children can become a real problem that needs to be addressed before saying ‘I do.’
Do You Have Similar Values/Beliefs?
Are you both on the same page when it comes to political values? Is he a die-hard Republican while you rally for the Democratic Party? If so, can you both agree to disagree? While political beliefs may be something you can be work out, what about religious values? If you have different views, which belief system would your future children follow? Will your choice cause a rift between you and your parents or in-laws?
What About the Money
Do you hoard money? Is he a spender? Will you have joint or separate accounts? How much money can you spend without consulting your partner? Studies have shown financial issues are the number one issue couples spend fighting about the most. Many marriages have ended in divorce over disagreements concerning finances.
Where Will You Live
Will you rent or own your home? Do you dream of owning a home with a big yard? If so, is your future spouse willing to help with the maintenance and upkeep of both interior and exterior of the home as well as the lawn? Purchasing a new home can be a very stressful event for anyone and especially for those in relatively new relationships. Can both of you find a home that is close enough to each of your workplaces or will one of you have to make a long commute?
Spending Time with the Family
Will you spend Christmas at your mom’s and Thanksgiving with the in-laws? Who will get preference if they both ask for the same holiday? Do you enjoy being around his parents and siblings? Can your mom be over-bearing? Is his brother a heavy smoker? A drinker? Does your dad like your significant other? When you marry someone, you are not just inviting them into your life. You are welcoming their extended family as well. These will be the people you will spend holidays with and who you will be allowing to watch your children. It will help if you can at least tolerate them and if he get along with your folks as well.
There is no magic potion for creating a happy, lasting union. Nevertheless, knowing what each person wants and expects can give your marriage a much better chance of surviving. Love each other, talk candidly, explore all your options, anticipate adjustments, and consider all possibilities.