That moment when you know in your heart that you want to marry your partner is exciting and powerful.
You’re likely tempted to run out and buy a ring right away and start planning the perfect proposal!
Hold up for just a second there.
Love might conquer all, but it can also be put on shaky ground when you ignore some really important considerations that will affect your life with your partner if you don’t know where you both stand. Marriage is the joining of two lives, so it’s essential you have a solid idea of what your shared life might entail. Here are some things to discuss BEFORE you pop the question:
Views on Marriage
Stack the deck in your favor; find out if your proposal has a good chance of leading to a yes, or if you might want to reconsider a few things. We think we know our partners’ views on marriage; that is, until the real thing is in front of us. Talk about the concept of marriage and how you both feel about it. What does marriage mean to you? What does it mean to your partner? It can be a scary thing to talk about, but it’s also the most important if what you eventually want is to be married.
Here’s another biggie! One of the biggest causes of contention in a marriage is the kids discussion, but only if you have it too late. Do you both want kids? If so, how many? If not, why? How will you raise your kids? What values are important to you that you want to teach them? Will one of you stay home to raise them? Don’t wait until the problem is directly in front of you to answer these questions. It’s not fair to your marriage or to your future children if you don’t have these things sorted out.
Debt and Finances
After kids, money is the number one cause of contention in a marriage. Don’t go into the proposal with any secrets, on either side. Do you have a ton of credit card debt? Is your partner bogged down by student loans? Are you both comfortable sharing finances? How do you split the cost of things, and how will that change down the road? As uncomfortable as the money talk might be, it’s vital. One thing the two of you can do to start your marriage off right financially is to consider purchasing an affordable engagement ring and inexpensive wedding bands!
Are there any arguments that you both keep sweeping under the rug or dodging around? These will come up throughout your marriage, so they should be dealt with now. These arguments could tie into the previous points like kids and finances. Most importantly, know how to tell the difference between an argument that can be resolved if you both tackle it, and one that’s a dealbreaker.
Where will your career take you, and where do you hope to go? Now, it’s entirely up to the individual whether they place career or relationships first, but if you have opposing views on which to prioritize, the problem will grow as the relationship grows. Careers are very personal, so don’t go into the conversation hoping to change your partner’s mind to fit what you’re after. If they have dreams and big goals, your job is to support them, just as theirs is to support you. At the same time, don’t sacrifice what you’re after. If they want to join the military and travel from base to base but your job is in your hometown and that’s where you want to stay, this is something you need to discuss.
Big, meaningful conversations are part of being an adult.
They’re the scary part, but they’re more than worth it. By really delving into what you both want out of life, you can better understand how your lives will fit together. These conversations can be very revealing (and very nerve-wracking), but they can also help you grow together and take you one step closer to the almighty YES.
Ready to pop the question?
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