Do NOT Get Married 'Til You've Discussed These 4 Things

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Do NOT Get Married 'Til You've Discussed These 4 Things

By Jillian Kramer

You and your fiancé may have talked about the big things — think: how you'll handle your finances and whether you want children — but we're willing to bet you two have yet to have a few conversations simply because you didn't realize they were important. But we've got you covered.

Here, according to relationship and etiquette expert April Masini, are four talks you never thought of but must have before you tie the knot.

1. What place your exes have in your lives. 

If your long-ago love has a place in your present, Masini says, your relationship with him or her is something you must discuss with your partner.

"Some people think that because they're getting married, an ex is irrelevant and should be included as a wedding guest, a monthly dinner guest, or someone to call and hang out with," she describes. "They take pride in the friendship they have with the ex — and yet, this may be someone your partner feels is a threat to your marriage. If you both agree that there's no problem, then there's no big deal. But if one of you has a problem with the other's ex, then prior to the wedding is the perfect time to work through this subject and agree on how to handle all your exes."

2. How you'll divide household labor. 

A marriage isn't all romance. In fact, it takes a lot of work — and some of that is housework.

"It's about running your life together," as Masini puts it. "The sooner you recognize and get a jump on this, the better off you'll be. There's going to be a limited amount of money, energy, time and space, and how you allocate what you have is crucial to your happiness."

Find a balance that works for you, she says, and that feels equitable, not necessarily equal. "You don't have to split everything down the middle, but you do have to create a master plan that works for your marriage," Masini says. "When you get a head start on the discussion of who does what, earns what, and more, you'll have a better chance at a good marriage."

3. How you'll include your in-laws in your marriage. 

Says Masini, "In-laws can be the straw that breaks the camel's back — and the camel in this case, is the marriage. That's why it's important to strategize about how to deal with in-laws before the marriage."

Think about holidays and birthdays, and come up with a plan to trade-off, suggests Masini. "Spend one Thanksgiving at one set of in-laws and the next at the other," she says. "If you set the precedent for flexibility and your intentions are clear that you're going to try and make things fair, you may disappoint some parents, but you'll be a united front and you'll be upfront about this. That gives the in-laws time to process and accept the situation."

4. What items are on your bucket list. 

You could take your spouse by unpleasant surprise if he or she doesn't know that your long-term goals conflict with his or hers. "If you get married and then divulge that you don't want to live in a city any more, you're springing a big one on your spouse" says Masini. "If you want to quit your longtime job and go to med school at age 40, be (way) upfront about this. Your spouse doesn't want to quash your dreams — but he may not want to share them, either."

This article was originally published at BRIDES. Reprinted with permission from the author.