Before driving a car, you take a test to get your license. Before becoming a doctor, you get your medical degree. It makes sense, then, that when getting ready for marriage you would attend pre-marriage counseling.
Many couples see the benefit of attending counseling before saying “I do.” When choosing a life partner, there are many things you must consider when deciding whether or not you’re ready for marriage. You’ll need to know what goals you share, how you deal with conflict, and what your expectations are.
These are five important points to keep in mind when deciding if your partner is the person you should spend the rest of your life with.
Communication is Everything
If you are ready for marriage, you should know how to communicate with your spouse.
Communication requires honesty. You must be able to talk about potential problems where both partners are willing to listen and resolve conflict in a mature and respectful manner. Communication also helps partners develop a deeper understanding for one another.
What are your Mutual Expectations?
When getting ready for marriage, it’s important to discuss what your expectations are regarding your life together. Many couples in counseling may be surprised at how little they really knew about their partner’s goals and desires.
The first facet of mutual expectations is what you want out of your marriage.
What is interesting about personal expectations is that you often don’t realize you have any until your spouse isn’t meeting them. This makes communication about mutual expectations essential for maintaining a happy marriage.
- Will both partners be working?
- Do you both have the same life-goals in mind?
- Will you buy or rent?
- Where will you live?
- How much involvement will your in-laws have in your life?
- Who will primarily care for the cooking and cleaning?
- How will you ensure you are spending quality time together and promoting marital satisfaction?
- Who will take care of vehicle maintenance?
Knowing what your partner expects from the partnership, and vice-versa, creates unity in the household.
Sex is the next hot topic couples should keep in mind when choosing a life partner.
Any pre-marriage counseling session will remind you that sex is a huge part of any relationship.
Even if you are already in an intimate relationship before getting married, it’s still important to get the low-down on what your partner expects from your sex life before walking down the aisle.
Discuss your mutual expectations for how often you would like to have sex, how your partner feels about PDA, and what you are and are not comfortable within the bedroom.
Do Your Future Plans Align?
If you’re truly ready for marriage, you should know your partner’s thoughts about starting a family. It is a little worse than desiring to be a parent, only to discover your spouse isn’t interested in having children.
Speak at length about family planning. Do you intend to have children one day and if so, when? What is the timeline for having children? Discuss schooling, what sort of parents you want to be, as well as comfortable methods of discipline.
Couples who aren’t looking to start a family anytime soon should be able to communicate openly about how they will prevent a pregnancy from happening. Which partner will be responsible for taking or using some form or birth control? Is there any method of pregnancy prevention the other spouse is not comfortable with?
Other future plans and goals should also be discussed. For example, do you both want to live in the same town, city, or country, even? What are your views on religion? What are your professional goals?
These are things you should be able to discuss honestly with your partner before marriage.
You may tell your spouse you would love them even if you had no money and had to live in a cardboard box. This is a romantic notion of deep and lasting love. But, is this really the case?
Finances matter and they are a subject that couples should be able to talk about.
Attend any pre-marriage counseling session and you will learn that part of getting ready for marriage means talking about your finances.
Talking about money can be awkward, especially if one partner makes more than the other or if one spouse is bringing personal debt into the marriage.
You and your partner should be able to talk about your financial backgrounds. Discuss how you will spend, budget, and save. It is also important to discuss how money will be separated or shared. For example, will you share a bank account? Who will pay for what in the household? These are important things to discuss before tying the knot.
People Rarely Change
This does not mean that people do not or cannot change. What it means is that people only truly change when they want to. Not because you said so.
If you are ready for marriage, you have likely gotten to know your spouse very well. This ensures that you believe your partner has the positive qualities needed to make a marriage work.
For example, an Australian study on what makes a marriage last found that couples who value trust, make decisions as partners, and view their spouse as their best friend are more likely to stay together forever than couples who do not.
If you are heading into pre-marriage counseling believing that you have found that love of your life and that you can live with your partner’s foibles, you’re good to go.
However, if you are headed into your marriage believing that all you need to do is change X, Y, and Z before you’ll have the perfect spouse – you’re in for a world of aggravation.
Your marital sex life isn’t the answer for all your troubles, but there are certainly studies to back up how important physical intimacy is. Maintaining intimacy in a relationship will improve communication, boost trust, and may ultimately help prevent you from getting a divorce.
Author Bio: The author is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. Her mission is to provide inspiration, support and empowerment to everyone on their journey to a great marriage. She is a featured writer for Marriage.com that supports healthy happy marriages.