You are both very much in love and are busy making plans for the big day, but it’s time to stop and check that you both want the same things from your life together. Think of this as a very small dose of premarital counseling.
Planning on having a family?
Okay, so this one is a bit obvious, of course you have discussed if you will have a family together, but have you sat down and talked about when?
It is always a good idea to give your relationship a couple of years before having children so you can get used to each other (even though you know everything there is to know about each other now – believe me there is much more you don’t know, can’t know until you have spent a considerable time living with each other as husband and wife).
- When do you want to start a family?
- Once you spent a few years together?
- When you are financially secure?
- Be specific when answering this one – what does financially secure mean to each of you?
- What if that comfortable lifestyle eludes you due to factors outside your control?
- Have you a contingency plan if you get pregnant earlier than you planned?
- How big will your family be?
Remember that the answers to these questions are not set in concrete; neither do they form the clauses of a legal agreement. Rather they are there to give you both an understanding of how you each see your marriage developing. Elaine and I were both keen to have a squad of kids but that all changed after five years of sleepless nights. Ask the difficult questions and re-evaluate the answers periodically.
How are you going to buy things?
Duh – at the shops of course! No, how are you going to buy things? – not where from!
Seriously, are you both on the same page when comes to making those important purchases? An immense amount of stress and pressure can come into a relationship because of financial pressures. You need to take time to discuss how you are going buy a car together, a house, simpler things like television, stereo and furniture.
Discuss the following viewpoints on how people purchase things:
- We can only buy what we can pay for up front
- Why buy when we can rent?
- Put it on the credit card and pay it off later
- Put it on the credit card but the balance has to be paid off in full at the end of each month
- Borrow the money from family and friends
Still not getting it? Well let me put it this way – think about the stress you would find yourself under if all your single life you had taken the time to diligently save for the things you wanted or needed before buying them, however now you are married you find that your husband or wife can’t (and doesn’t see the point in) waiting until the required amount of money is in the bank. Why wait until then when you can have it now by putting it on the card is their philosophy. All of a sudden, instead of having a healthy bank balance and a savings plan you are faced with a considerable amount of debt on your joint credit card.
Okay, so you both use credit cards – but what about your preferred way of paying off the card. One may insist that the balance is paid off in full at the end of every month. The other may only ever pay off the minimum amount and treat the interest charged as being a small price to pay for being able to have everything now.
You need to talk about these things because they will have an impact on your relationship.