You’re engaged? Congratulations!! Wedding planning can be so fun, yet sometimes stressful. My mom and I planned almost my entire wedding and I loved the whole process. But I am an organizer and I enjoy that kind of thing. I know you are so excited, and nothing can go wrong, but there are so many marriages that fail. Thankfully, I am surrounded by people who are in a strong marriage, and thus have come up with a list of 7 essential steps to take before marrying someone.
Live together for at least 3 months
Do you think you know everything about your partner? Try living together for a few months. I say at least 3 because that’s enough time to really get to know how someone lives. Maybe when you visit their place is always clean, but did they do that in the 5 minutes before you showed up, or is that how they really live? Does he leave the toilet seat up all the time? Do you leave clothes laying around? These are the kinds of things that, while in the grand scheme of things seem small, can start to grate on someone over time. Get to really know the person you are about to marry by living together for a little while first. My husband and I lived together for over 3 years before we got married.
Living together is one thing, traveling together is something completely different. Go somewhere new, stay in a hotel, plan a vacation together, decide what you are going to do. This helps you really get to know what your partner looks for in a vacation based on what they suggest for activities. Traveling is something that you will end up doing at some point, so learn early who is the stronger navigator and who will get you lost. Discover who gets motion sickness and who could be in the car for hours on end. We love to travel, so it’s great to know what we all expect, and we went on many vacations together before we got married.
Spend at least one week with each other’s family
When you marry someone, you are also marrying their family. So make sure you spend some time with them as well. The best way to do this is to take a vacation together, or at least go visit and stay with them for a few nights. Just like living with someone, visiting with family is a good way to really get to know someone. If your future spouse is close to their family, odds are you will be spending time with them.
Discuss: Where will you live?
Where do you plan to call home? Do you plan to get a house, settle down, and stay there forever? Do you want to move around more often? Another thing to consider is where your families are. It always helps to have family close, so living near them is nice when you have children. And not only location, but do you see yourself in an apartment, condo, home, in the city, in the suburbs…. Make sure you have similar wishes, or at least figure out what your plan will be before it becomes an issue.
Discuss: Children and childcare
Another discussion you need to have together is about children and childcare. Do you want children? How many? What happens if you find out you can’t have children? And once you have those children, what will you do for childcare? Will someone stay home with the children or will you both work and have a caretaker? If so, daycare, home daycare, nanny….. Again, so many things to talk about, but children is a huge part of marriage. This is not the kind of thing you just “figure out later” so have this discussion. You don’t want to find out later that your spouse doesn’t want children and you want may children.
Discuss: Dreams and goals
You want to make sure that you have some similar dreams and goals. You don’t have to want the same things, but there should be some similarities. It’s important to know what the other wants out of life, what they hope to achieve.
Another huge part of marriage and life in general is your finances. It’s important to discuss who will make sure the bills get paid, your spending habits, what your plans are for saving for the future, etc. Talk about money and what you will each bring to the table when it comes to finances. Will you have one bank account and merge everything together? Will you have separate accounts for some things?
What else was important for you to do and/or discuss before getting married? Or what do you wish you did before getting married?