When you’re blissfully happy and thinking about getting engaged and spending the rest of your life with your significant other, it’s hard to step back and think about the real-life, less-than-fun conversations you need to have before tying the knot. Here are five important questions to ask your beau prior to him slipping that engagement bling on your finger, to make sure you’re both really, truly ready to commit.
1. How do you budget your spending? Are you in debt?
Finances are one of the main sources of marital stress. It’s best to be on the same page money-wise before taking the trip to the altar. Ask your fiancé how he budgets — it doesn’t have to be the exact same way you manage your money, but it’s good to know if you both take measures to smartly save and spend. Do you track every cent? Are you more flexible when it comes to spending? What is your retirement plan? These are all things you should know when you’re considering merging finances. Ask your significant other if they’re in debt. If they are, it doesn’t mean you should immediately raise a red flag, but it is important to find out how they got into debt, and what they’re doing to get out of it. Is it student loans? Missed credit card payments? When you get married, your partner’s debt becomes your own, and it will inevitably affect how you spend your money. You don’t want any surprises, so it’s best to just be upfront about it. Since finances can be a tricky topic to tackle, ease into it by talking about your hopes and dreams for the future, and how you plan to accomplish them.
2. Do you want children? If so, how do you want to raise them?
Some couples want multiple children, while others can’t even imagine having one. It is important to sit down with your significant other and have a heart to heart about you each want. Where do you each see yourself in five or 10 years? Are kids a part of that vision? It’s good to know you’re on the same page prior to when you decide you’re ready to start trying for a baby, or else one of you will have to compromise their vision in a big, big way. If you do both want children, talk about how you want to raise them. Will you be strict or flexible? Do you want to publicly or privately educate your children? Will your children work while under your roof?
3. Where do you want to live? What do you want to do?
Some careers are more inclined to location changes. When you’re in your twenties, it’s easy to not think about where you’ll want to be when you have children and eventually settle down, but not discussing it with your partner can create some issues. Do you want to live near your family? Are you willing to move away, to a new place, for a few years? Does your job mean you’ll be moving around the country a lot? Even talking about whether you want to live downtown or in the suburbs is important. Once you’re married, you’ll have to start making decisions as a unit — you can’t go to graduate school or take on a new job in a different city or state without if affecting the other person.
4. How will you handle chores and the day-to-day workload of owning a home?
If you’re accustomed to living alone, your life will change drastically when you and your partner decide to cohabitate. Who will take over cooking duties? Who will do the laundry? Who will mow the lawn or take out the trash? It’s best to lay your cards on the table — tell your partner what your expectations are before the issue arises and turns into an argument. Remember that your significant other can’t read your mind — you have to express to them what you want and need, and let them express the same to you.
5. What can you do to effectively communicate? Do you fight fair?
With any relationship, disagreements will arise. So how do you plan on handling them? Are you able to compromise? Maintaining a healthy marriage should be at the top of the priority list, and if you’re both bottling things up and skimping on communication, it’s only a matter of time until one of you explodes and turns a small issue into a much, much larger one.
These questions are hard to ask, but once you know more about one another, rest assured that it is ok to change your mind about any and all of this down the line! If you get married in your twenties, it’s incredibly likely that your vision, wants and needs will change once you reach your thirties and forties. You want to build a relationship that is strong enough to bend and grow in the future by knowing that both parties involved are willing to put in the necessary work!
Photos by Neil Boyd Photography