Summer is almost in the air and it's the season for planning weddings. A bride-to-be's checklist is always a mile long since there's so much that needs to be planned for her big day, from reserving the venue to designing the cake.
As a relationship specialist, one of my biggest concerns has to do with all the emphasis that's placed on the wedding day. My own daughter recently got married and as I often said, "My list had lists." So much preparation goes in to ensure that the day goes off without a hitch. Besides having a private practice, I also teach at a local university. This semester, one course deals with relationships and marriage. The curriculum is based on helping students learn what's needed so that they be able to deal with the reality of what it takes to make a long-term commitment work. It's not exactly sexy, but it offers the nitty-gritty tools that will truly arm them to have successful long-term relationships.
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Here are some topics to discuss with your spouse-to-be before the big day:
1. Will you have kids and, if so, how will you raise them? Assuming that you both want to be parents someday, how many do you want to have and how will you raise them as co-parents? Will they be raised under one religion? How do you expect to discipline them? What are your expectations about taking them on vacations? What are the expectations about who will be the primary caretaker? If one of you goes on parental leave, will that person be expected to eventually go back to work?
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2. How will you manage your finances? What individual assets and debts will you bring to the marriage? Who will pay the bills? What will be considered a "big ticket" item and how much money can spend on a purchase before you should consult your spouse? How will you save? What are your financial goals and how will you reach them together? Will there be joint bank account or separate bank accounts? Will you each have an allowance of spending money and how much? Keep reading ...
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