If You Don’t Have These 6 Conversations With Your Fiancé, You’re Setting Your Marriage Up For Failure

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How To Talk About Marriage & Questions To Ask Your Significant Other When You’re Engaged

Before entering into a lifelong commitment like marriage, couples need to have an important talk, first. 

To start off, there are some important questions to ask your significant other before you commit to getting married, no matter how much you love them.

While love is an instinct and an emotion that can drive to people to get engaged, the ability to love your partner completely is a skill that you can develop. 

RELATED: 25 Pieces Of The Best Marriage Advice Ever (Collected Over 13 Years)

Why do people get married? Why bother in the first place? There are two aspects to a good marriage that most people don’t realize: emotion and the legalities.

Most of us believe that getting married is only about the emotion — about the love you feel and the excitement of a new adventure.

I used to think that too. I was lucky my father got me thinking about discussing my marriage contract before I got married.

This was not in any way like a prenup. It was to make sure that my significant other and I both understood what our agreement was about our married life.

When you talk about marriage, what expectations do you have of each other and for each other? This contract is not written in stone but should be flexible enough to be revised as needed when your needs and lives change. 

Here are 7 things couples need to discuss before getting married.

1. What is the possibility of having children?

Many couples who get married assume that their partner wants kids. But, then, they wake up to the fact that it wasn’t in the plan for one of them.

So talk about whether or not you will have children and how many. What would happen if you can’t have them naturally? Is adoption an option?

I always wanted to be a mom. When I had my fourth miscarriage, I felt like I just couldn’t go through it again. Knowing how much my husband wanted kids, I decided it was better for us to get a divorce. It turned out that having kids was less important to him than being with me.

Miraculously, I gave birth to a baby girl about a year later but, at least, we were both clear about why we were staying in the marriage.

I'm not saying people should divorce if they fail to have children or even blame each other. I'm saying both of you have to stay for the right reasons.

2. Who brings home the bacon?

Nowadays, you can’t just assume the wife is going to stay home. Many women have husbands who work from home and mind the children as well.

Talking about it before would be helpful to both parties and avoid a lot of unnecessary resentment.

When we were negotiating the possibility of career, my husband pointed out that he wanted me to stay at home full time and mind the kids. I was still in college at the time. I told him that I was the wrong person for him because that was not how I planned to live my life at all. He had to decide whether he was all right with my choice.

We only progressed after he was okay with the idea. He helped me apply for jobs and was always very supportive of my career. After we moved to Ireland, we both took responsibility and maneuvered our schedules in order to support each other’s careers.

3. How big or small is your family?

For some people, "family" means a husband, wife, and their children. For others, it means, aunts, uncles, cousins, and everyone else.

Understanding one’s definition of "family" will help each of you understand what you’re signing up for. You don’t want a situation where you have to fight about going to visit or welcoming family members or helping out family members when they need help.

You have to negotiate and agree on this one. Having an agreement will help both of you in the end.

4. How should you handle money?

Money is one of the major reasons relationships fail. I am yet to meet a couple that has talked about how they are going to handle their money.

Both spouses assume they have an understanding of who is doing what about the money. Even when both spouses go to work, you have to agree on how much access both of you have to bank accounts, in order to avoid long-term resentment.

Most people have very deep beliefs about money, so talking about your individual beliefs about money would help.

Some people are savers and others are spenders. You need to know what your spouse’s money type and discuss beliefs about money you learned from your own family.

There’s also a power thing associated with money, where a man will give or withhold money in order to control a woman. My parents emphasized to me, from a very young age, that it was important for me to earn my own money and have my own career because that was the only way I could be safe.

Being with a man who would insist on providing financial security for me would work against all my beliefs. Do you see how this would cause anxiety?

RELATED: Do Not Marry Someone Until You Can Honestly Answer These 20 Qs

5. What are your roles and responsibilities?

Are you one of those couples who fight over who did what in the name of equality? My parents used to have this part so organized. They had a balance that one would take charge of something like minding the kids and the other would step back.

Dad would cook for us or ensure he fed us when mom was at work and because she loved gardening, she did that. My dad loved playing with us and spending a lot of time with us. Mom used to step back to allow this to happen. They both made sure we were happy and listened to.

My parents taught me that there were no duties for men or women. People do what they need to do, so my mom taught me how to cook and clean the house and my dad taught me to iron his shirts, fix the car, and skin a goat. This was the case for all my siblings and some of the kids that were adopted into our home.

I nearly destroyed my marriage when I started a new style of dictating that everything was to be done in a certain way. After a short while, my husband stopped doing anything around the home due to my criticism and need to be right.

I woke up to the error of my ways when I asked him to help and he asked me if I would let him do it his way. From that day on, I was happy to see a clean home without the need to know how this was achieved.

I always made a point of getting involved in the payment of bills, rent, rates, and many others. Even though I allowed my husband to negotiate with service providers, I was always in the loop of what was going on, whom we had a contract with, how much we were paying and for how long. I see that as a sign of being an adult.

6. What are your goals as a couple?

Many people look at other couples’ public display of affection as the barometer of how successful that relationship is compared to theirs.

Love is not a competition. So, have goals to nurture your communication, trust, and ability to be present. These goals are based on your values as a couple, which of course, you should have already discussed.

You need to be able to call each other out on things especially when one of you is playing small for whatever reason. You should have goals that allow each of you to pursue things that make you feel fulfilled.

I've heard people complain that because their spouse is driven to pursue something like being a doctor or saving gorillas in the rain forest that diminishes the love they have for the spouse.

Love is not a competition. If you find your partner's passion bothering you, then you’re better off with someone else.

Evaluate your agreements

While it is important to have a pre-agreement, it is also vital to revisit those agreements to evaluate if both of you still feel good about them.

I know of several women who jumped on the opportunity to stay at home but later on discovered that they felt unfulfilled. Some men felt the corporate world too cutthroat and left it for the flexibility of working from home and being close to their spouse and offspring.

After all, people get married because they value the connection they have with the person they have chosen, so what is the point of spending all your time away from them?

RELATED: When Is The 'Right Time' To Get Married? (How To Know For Sure)

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Melody Chadamoyo is a certified Law of Attraction and Relationship Coach. If you’re ready to talk about starting your conversation but have no idea how, then reach out by booking an appointment.