Marriage is serious business, you are committing to each other and to building a life with each other ‘for better and for worse’ – for the rest of your life. Nobody enters into a marriage with the intention for it to end prematurely. Therefore, this commitment of marriage should be carefully considered. So that your marriage can stay strong, and you can enjoy your life together for as long as you may live.
Part of ensuring that your marriage is strong, and can last the test of time lies in understanding who and what you are committing to. So to prevent any little, or large hiccups along the way, here are some things to know about each other before marriage.
1. How do you negotiate together
Negotiation is number one on the list of things to know about each other before marriage because it should be a priority. After all your whole married life will involve negotiation. Starting with the little things such as ‘if you put the toilet seat down, I’ll stop leaving my hair clips in random places on the floor, all around the house’.
To serious negotiations such as those involving money, property, locations and child raising (the real-life challenges). If you can’t negotiate well together, and can’t learn to, then one of you is going to get their way over the other, and that is not conducive to an empowering relationship, or a strong marriage.
2. What are each other’s expectations of the married life
If one of you wants to go and live in Antarctica, whilst the other the Caribbean there’s going to be problems. If one thinks marriage is being together 247 and the other doesn’t there’s going to be problems, and so it goes on. Understanding what you both expect, and negotiating together to find a common pathway, will clear up any problems that might rear their ugly heads at the wrong time.
3. What would each of you find difficult to handle
This is a great thing to know about each other before marriage, and a good way to understand each other’s boundaries, and to negotiate any that might be too stifling, or relaxed for the other party. This way, you all know where you stand.
4. How do you think you will work through those differences
Ideally, you’ll be able to negotiate and compromise, but if you can’t you’ll walk into problems.
5. How do you both handle stress, individually and together
This question helps each other to know what to expect in a worst case scenario, and to understand why your partner is behaving or acting a certain way. So that you can adapt and support each other, or at least just understand. Making your marital life smooth.
6. Identify your communication styles and how can you improve them
Time to be honest about what’s working and what’s not in your communications with each other. Communication is essential. and therefore this is an important thing to know about each other before you move into married life.
7. Repetitive patterns of behaviour
This question offers a clue about any problems that might crop up naturally. If there’s been a history of addiction, it will open the floor to discuss how to handle that if it occurs in later life. Similarly, if one party is possessive, insecure, or even aloof and not very tactile due to past issues, understanding this will help you both to realise what to do, how to respond and in some situations, avoid internalizing that the problem is you, or your marriage when it’s not.
8. What are your thoughts about children
A really important thing to know before marriage, if one party wants children and the other doesn’t there’s going to be problems. The same goes if one party wants ten children and the other only one. It’s also useful to briefly talk about how you would feel if there were problems in conceiving. So that you can remind each other of your commitments (although it’s worth saying that you may change your ideas as time passes – it’s important to understand that).
9. Discuss children
If you have children, how do you imagine that you’ll bring them up, what’s important to you both. It’s better to straighten this out from the offset, to avoid problems later.
10. How do you handle change
Some people don’t mind switching things up and hate being stuck. Others hate change with a passion. Of course, change is going to happen, but understanding where both of you are with that will help you to make life decisions that suit both parties.
Whilst this list is not exclusive, it does highlight some of the important things to know about each other before marriage. So that you have a chance to understand and communicate with each other clearly about what you want. And so that you can ensure that your idealistic pathways for life are not moving in opposite directions from the offset.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.