Ten Important Things To Consider Before Getting Engaged
Are you in a serious relationship that might be leading to engagement? Perhaps a friend is contemplating marriage, and you want to provide practical, realistic advice.
Whatever the case, there are at least 10 very important questions you need to ask your potential spouse (and yourself) before you decide to embark on this grand commitment.
10. Where do you want to live?
It can be difficult to answer this question honestly, especially when your relationship is still in the phase where you both are trying to “impress” each other. That said, it’s important to make sure that you and your partner have thoroughly talked the subject through.
Discovering that you can’t agree on geography isn’t always something that will end a relationship, but it does add stress and resentment to what could already be a difficult marriage.
9. Do you want kids?
This is another question that may be glossed over early on in the relationship. Sometimes, couples disagree on the details of this question, as well. Maybe one person wants a few kids while the other only wants one or two.
This can especially be a problem if one spouse wants to wait longer, while the other doesn’t. This topic needs to be thoroughly explored, as it can be a big reason for why a marriage could fall apart.
8. What are your political and religious beliefs?
In relationships, our beliefs don’t always align perfectly. A lot of the time, we compromise and focus on what is similar instead. While there is nothing wrong with that inherently, it can lead to disagreements in the future over how our beliefs dictate our decisions.
For example, what will you teach your kids? If your spouse has a religious belief or ideology that you don’t want your child to be exposed to, that can cause a damaging rift between you and your spouse.
Now, that doesn’t mean your beliefs do have to be perfectly aligned, but it is still imperative that this discussion happens before the fact.
7. What are any health issues you may have?
It can be quite difficult to admit some of our issues during a relationship, especially if it moves quickly. Health issues, both mental and physical, need to be addressed and discussed before a lifetime commitment is made.
This isn’t because you will love the person any less. It simply has to do with the ramifications of these problems in the future, monetarily or otherwise. Keeping these issues a secret can actually create a problem where the wouldn’t have been one, due to the lack of trust that may be perceived.
6. Do you have a problem with opposite sex friendships?
No matter what side of this question you’re on, talking about boundaries in your friendships is heavily advised. This can seem trivial to some couples, who are used to having large social circles. That said, people experience this issue differently, and trust may be harder to balance than you may believe.
For example, someone who has regularly been cheated on in their relationships may have a tough time accepting your friendships with the opposite sex. Understanding their difficulty and talking through it is your best chance at making a long-term commitment work.
5. What are your financial goals?
This is commonly overlooked, but it is important that your career goals have been discussed thoroughly. As a couple, is making money a priority over location, buying a home, or having children? The career path of you and your potential spouse needs to be transparent, even if you believe it is subject to change.
4. Do you get along with his or her family?
This is a question you need to ask yourself. After all, a marriage means that your spouse’s family will be your family, as well. Of course, loving your spouse is likely more important to you right now, but it is wise to anticipate your relationship with their family and meet them if you haven’t already.
3. Do you want a prenup?
The idea of a prenup may be important to you but could seriously offend your partner (or the other way around). No matter what you believe about prenups and whether or not you believe you should have one, this should be openly talked about ahead of time.
A lot of couples don’t really think about this until halfway into the engagement, when they are reaching the dog days of the stress that comes with planning a wedding. Avoid the headache and acknowledge the timing you need to handle with this difficult subject.
2. Do you have any debt?
This is another tricky subject that we tend to downplay during the “impress me” stage, but it is imperative to talk about, nonetheless. While we shouldn’t expect our partners to be perfect, it is smart to make sure that you are not stepping into a tough financial situation, unknowingly.
There’s a reason why so many marriages end due to finances. If you or your spouse are being less than forthcoming about your financial situation or habits, you will likely be less equipped to deal with the situation when it eventually comes out.
Be proactive about having this discussion, even if you are the one who is financially stable. If you approach this potentially volatile situation with patience and understanding, you stand a better chance of solving the problem.
1. Will you marry me?
Before you get engaged, make sure you ask the person to marry you. Otherwise, they may be very confused when you tell him or her that you have set a wedding date.
Joking aside, be thoughtful about your proposal and take this next step in your life seriously. but with optimism.
Ask yourself, “Do I want to get married?” Make sure that this decision to propose is being made for the right reasons and take the plunge.
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