by George Brown
Picking a marriage partner has more to do than just finding a great person. A couple needs to be able to communicate about all aspects of the relationship – from commitment and intimacy to money and politics. Before saying “I do,” make sure to discuss the details – “I believe, you expect, we want” – with your fiance.
We spend the majority of our waking hours at work, driving to or from work and thinking about work. It’s consuming, and your future husband’s work will effect you, your relationship and your future family. Talk to each other about more than just what your dream job is. Consider how many hours a week you’ll both work, how much time will be spent traveling and discuss a retirement plan.
Example: How important is your career to you, and where does your family fit in your list of priorities?
Money, how it is spent and not having enough of it can cause major rifts in a marriage. Discuss spending habits, annual incomes and the importance of making money with your fiance. In “The 10 Commandments of Marraige: The Do’s and Don’ts for a Lifelong Covenant,” Ed Young, mega-church pastor, encourages couples to avoid the quicksand of debt. Talk to your future husband about any debts you or he may have and how you plan to take care of them.
Examples: Will we have joint or separate accounts? How do you feel about a budget?
Men and women may both value sexual intimacy, but in different ways. Openly talk about sexual expectations and fears, and discuss any boundaries either of you may have. The conversation doesn’t need to be a detailed account of each other’s sexual history, but you need to be able to talk about the most intimate aspect of your relationship.
Examples: What are your sexual expectations? Are you comfortable initiating sex?
More than asking if he wants children and how many, discuss child rearing possibilities with your future husband. What are his discipline beliefs and does he think boys should be treated the same as girls? Some individuals may not be religious but want to raise their children with a spiritual foundation. Even if neither of you want to have children right now, if it is a possibility in the future, talk about having children.
Example: How important is it to you that your children be raised near your extended family?
You probably know each other’s basic beliefs, but dig a little deeper. Don’t reduce religion to an affiliation and think how you or your spouse were raised isn’t a part of who they are now (and will be in the future). Talk about religious beliefs, how important it is to you or him that you both believe the same thing and what you expect or desire of each other. Even if someone has rejected the religious beliefs of their parents, when they have kids of their own they find themselves being drawn back to how they were raised.
Example: What role does God, faith and religion play into your life and what role do you want it to play in our marriage and future family?
You may have an unspoken agreement, but now is the time to make it vocal. Talk about what the marriage commitment means to you and what it would take for you or your future husband to call it quits. Discuss what constitutes infidelity, if there is such a thing as innocent flirting, what the role of husband or wife entails etc. As Pastor Young puts it, you should ask, “What says ‘I love you’ to you?” Commit to the answers and you and your partner will be able to understand each other and the relationship more.
Example: What does marriage mean to you and what would it take for you to end it?
BMWK what other topics should you plan on? How about where to live? Will someone stay at home to raise the kids? There are plenty of others, lets add more.