So You’re Planning To Tie The Knot
Congratulations! You’ve fallen in love and are ready to spend the rest of your lives together. Getting engaged and planning a wedding can be an exciting time, but with the fairytale ending in mind, it can be easy to forget that relationships take lots of work and dedication.
The truth is there are some important things you should consider before you walk down the aisle. Rather than wait until after the honeymoon, have a sit down with your future spouse now and tackle these issues before they become a problem.
Things You Should Consider Before Getting Married
There are several schools of thought for how married couples should handle their finances. Some say the only way to have a healthy marriage is to share a joint bank account, and others suggest the opposite.
It can be hard to know what’s best, but it’s a good idea to sit down with your future spouse to discuss things like debt, spending and budgeting, bills, and salaries. Money can be an uncomfortable thing to talk about, but it can also be a pain point later in the marriage if it goes unaddressed.
Housing and Location
Having some form of shelter is a basic necessity, but opinions on what that looks like can vary. It’s a good idea to talk to your partner now about where you’ll live once you begin your marriage journey. Things like whether you’ll rent or buy a home should be discussed.
If you’ll live in a single-family home or an apartment should also be considered, as well as what neighborhood you’d like to live in. Housing options might be influenced by the budget and finances, so these conversations can be had together.
Not everyone wants to be a parent, and that alone is important to consider because having children is a lifelong commitment. Even if you both agree that you do want kids, there are lots of things that go along with that decision, such as how many you’ll have, what your parenting style will be, where your kids will go to school, and even what their diet will consist of.
Just like money matters, there is a lot to consider, and having these hard conversations now can save you some stress later on.
While not everyone takes part in religious practice, some do and the best time to explore this is before getting married. The wedding might be influenced by either you or your partner’s religious beliefs, and any differences are cause for some discussion.
Couples can practice or worship differently and still have a lasting marriage. However, religious dissimilarities can also be divisive if not talked about, as they could impact family traditions and rituals, how the children are raised, gender roles, and even the division of labor in the home.
When you’re in a committed relationship and looking to merge your lives together, the list of things to consider is non-exhaustive. The reason for that is simple: everyone is unique and has had a different lived experience that influences their opinions and expectations for married life.
The dating phase is a great time for couples to get to know each other and learn about the dreams and aspirations that each person has. No question is too big or too small when it comes to forever, so here’s a short list to get started:
10 Questions To Ask Before You Walk Down The Aisle
- How will we handle our finances?
- Where will we live?
- Do you want kids?
- Are you or your family religious?
- What will the holidays with our families look like?
- Does one of us have to change our last name?
- Do you own guns?
- What are your political views?
- How will we care for aging parents?
- If we receive financial gifts or inheritance from family, is that money separate or shared?
Preparation Is Key
Every relationship has its ups and downs, and nobody is exempt from that reality, but the most assured way to have a healthy and successful marriage is to start doing the work before making it official. Premarital counseling, where a professional can advise couples on sorting out the important matters, can be beneficial.
Even a prenuptial agreement might be best if your situation warrants it. If it’s important to you and your future, then it’s important to consider and discuss before entering the legal contract that is marriage.
When you divorce in California, as a result of your marriage you opted into a community property system. As you discuss the following, you may want a prenuptial agreement to account for differences in potential dissolution of your marriage.