You would think that people planning to marry would talk about their loves, hates, needs, desires, futures and deal-breakers. Alas, I’ve talked with clients who have been married for some time only to learn that their partner doesn’t want the kids they’ve been planning on for a lifetime, wants a sexual favor they’re totally not into, doesn’t believe in spending money on the lawn, wants to spend every holiday with their parents, and, let’s just say I could go on. And on. And on.
I’ve looked at a bunch of recommended questions to which you must have answers before you tie the knot. These are the ones I find useful, and I’m making a couple of global suggestions as to how to proceed.
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*How will you manage your career, dual careers, moving for careers, how much money you need to make, and so forth?
*What are your sexual, intimacy and affection needs and desires? Do you connect well physically and emotionally? Are you in agreement about the boundaries of your relationship and level of faithfulness expected?
*How do you both feel about children? How many and how will they be raised, when you will have them and who will be responsible for what, are some of the things you should be clear about.
*Where are you at with religion, values and spirituality? How do you want to raise your kids, if any, with respect to these?
*What role do you see for family and friends? How much time will you spend with one another and others?
*What do you want out of life? What are your passions and dreams? Where do you want to be in 5 years, 10, 25?
*Is there full disclosure about finances, drug and alcohol use and history, relationship history (any Fatal Attractions waiting in the wings?), legal and medical issues? Is there any history of physical aggression or abuse (toward others or as a survivor?).
*Is there complete trust? Do you believe in your partner fully?
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2. Communication is necessary; agreement is optional. Can you communicate about all the above matters in a calm, clear way with respect and trust? It’s okay if you’re not completely on the same page about everything. Can you talk about compromises without undue anger? Do you feel listened to?
Save yourself unnecessary pain later. Work these things out with your partner. If you can’t work them out, talk to a coach, a therapist or a pastor. Don’t leave it to chance. Take charge of your relationship.