So you’re both thinking of tying the knot and taking your relationship to the next big level? Congratulations! But before getting started out on the wedding preparations, make sure you are both completely ready for the change. Marriage readiness is a crucial topic and one that must be fully thought over. Prepare a pre-marriage checklist (one that suits your situation) and discuss matters fully with your partner. To help you out, we present some key questions that you must ask.
Here are some questions that must be on your marriage readiness checklist:
1. Am I ready to get married?
This is probably the most important question one should ask themselves; preferably before the engagement, but this question can linger after the excitement of the initial engagement has worn off. If the answer is, “No” don’t go through with it.
2. Is this truly the right person for me?
This question goes in line with, “Am I ready?” Can you put up with the minor annoyances? Can you overlook some of their weird habits and embrace their quirks? Do you two fight all the time or are you generally copasetic? This is a question best asked before the engagement, but can bothersome all the way up to the ceremony. If your answer is, “No” again don’t go through with the marriage.
3. How much will our wedding cost?
The average wedding costs anywhere from $20,000-$30,000. Of course, this is merely a snapshot and the range is huge. A courthouse affair will caught you roughly $150 and the cost of a dress should you choose all the way up to a multi day extravaganza which may cost $60,000 or more. Discuss and come up with a budget – then stick to it!
4. Will/should the bride change her name?
Traditions are shifting and culturally it’s not so unusual for a woman to keep her last name or use a hyphenate. Make sure you discuss this beforehand. She may not be terribly traditional and you both need to be okay with the outcome. In the end, it is her choice to change or not.
5. Do you want children? If so, how many?
If one party wants kids and the other doesn’t resentment will grow. If the spouse that wants children has to give up that dream, they may wind up hating the other and may go so far as to end the marriage if that is what they truly want. If kids happen anyway the party that didn’t want kids may feel trapped or tricked. So discuss this thoroughly before making any major commitment.
6. How will children affect our relationship?
Because they will affect your relationship. Sometimes this is in a subtle way, for others their entire relationship dynamic will flip. If you two bond together and decide to be a united team, children won’t shift things too much. If your bond is strong to begin with children will test you a little, but ultimately strengthen and add to the familial bond you’ve started as a married couple.
7. Will/should we combine bank accounts?
Some couples do and some don’t. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this one. Decide what will work best for your dynamic. The answer may change at some point, as needs change in life so the choice made today might not be the permanent one.
8. How will we handle each other’s debt?
Disclose your financial past to each other. Do not hide any of this because like it or not your situations will be combining and affecting each other. If one has a 500 FICO and the other an 800 FICO this will have an impact on any major loan purchases such as a home or a vehicle if financing is needed. Don’t wait until the loan application is submitted on your dream home to discuss. Any secrets will come out anyway, be upfront and come up with a plan to tackle the debt situation.
9. What will happen to our sex life?
This one pops up a bunch because of the misconception that once a ring goes on, you should kiss your sex life goodbye. If you had a healthy sex life before marriage there is no reason for that not to continue.
10. How do we envision our life together and what are our expectations?
This is a very important question and needs some time to dwell on. Discuss freely and openly what your thoughts on marriage are, what’s acceptable and what’s not (e.g cheating will be a deal-breaker). Expectations about job, love life and general expectations of the marriage must be spoken about.
These are just a fraction of the potential questions that should be asked before getting married. You may have some that are completely unique to your situation and that’s fine. If you feel a topic is important to you, bring it up. The fewer surprises that crop up after the “I dos” the fewer strains there will be on the marriage. Being honest will only set you up for a successful relationship.