Marriage is a beautiful thing and a special moment for potential couples. It is also the beginning of a thrilling lifelong journey with the individual we love, and we should enjoy it to the fullest. However, before you and your partner decide to tie the knot and officially declare yourselves husband and wife, there are certain things you must do. Here are seven important things couples should do before getting married.
Before your mind wanders off, we aren’t referring to the typical preparations done before marriage, like getting a marriage license, personal wedding vows, or wedding dresses. Instead, we refer to things that will deepen and strengthen the bond between you and your partner and make your marriage smoother.
Myself and my husband have been married 17 years this June, and we’ve been together for over 20 years now. Although this post discusses marriages, it can also apply to long term relationships, moving in together, deciding to change your name by deed poll, or having a commitment ceremony. These ideas should help you maintain and happy and long term relationship.
1. Have a healthy argument
Yes, you read that right! While this may seem counterintuitive, engaging in a healthy argument with your significant other can create depths of intimacy. It can also tell you what to expect when a similar situation breaks out when you get married.
Is your potential spouse the type that goes haywire when a little argument occurs? Does your spouse throw or break things when you two find yourselves arguing over a petty issue? Of course, if your spouse exhibits such character during arguments, getting into marriage with such a person may be tricky.
Remember, the goal of having a healthy argument is to understand how your spouse reacts during an argument and figure out how to stay calm and work things out together.
2. Meeting the parents
Most couples usually introduce their partner to their family long before marriage is usually discussed. I found it one of the most nerve-wracking things in our relationship. It always seems so formal. I was 17, so I met my now husband’s parents during a college project but meeting over lunch, meeting for a walk, meeting anywhere you feel comfortable will make you feel calmer about the situation.
You may decide not to introduce parents into your relationship until you see it as a long term thing; this is okay. The truth is, meeting with the parents of a bride-to-be or groom-to-be can sometimes be unsettling, given the disparity between both families. However, this shouldn’t stop you from meeting them even if you aren’t planning on getting married for years to come.
Not every parent and spouse meeting play out like those we watch in Ben Stiller movies. So, be optimistic. Prepare well, be confident, offer a small gift, centre the conversation on them, and avoid any form of distractions.
3. Live Together
Did you know that over three-quarters of couples married in 2017 (77%) lived together before tying the knot? And for good reasons: not only does living together help in mitigating the cost of living separately, but it is also arguably the best way to test your compatibility with each other.
Financially we only managed six months of living together before getting married; I would recommend doing at least a year, if not longer, as it is not as easy as you think. Suddenly you are in charge of this property that needs your care and attention, as well as spending many more hours with your spouse.
While living together, you must study your partner. Take note of their likes and dislikes, habits (good and bad), how they react to certain things, their night routine, favourite meal, basically everything that will help you understand your spouse better and determine if you are a good fit.
Those who cannot afford to live together—due to distance or religious rules— should consider spending weekends together. It will help strengthen your bond and determine if you are a match for each other.
After going on numerous exciting dates, movie nights, get-togethers, and sports events makes sense to consider travelling. And by this, we don’t mean visiting a close-by town, scheduling a dinner night with a friend, or visiting your grandparents, and we refer to a journey that takes you far from home, probably a place close by or even the other side of the world.
When selecting captivating travel destinations, your options are limitless! There are loads of places to visit and have fun together. You can consider a trip to some of the best beaches in Grand Cayman or a fantastic island in the Maldives. Alternatively, you can consider camping trips, weekend getaways in rentals: anything that takes you away from your home and promises loads of fun is fine. Your choice of location should be based on your budget, and don’t overspend. Remember, you have a wedding to plan for!
5. Have The Money Talk
There are a lot of matters that you and your significant other need to be thrashed out before walking down the aisle. One of such matters, or topics, that needs to be discussed revolves around money. What are your financial standings? Do you or your spouse have unpaid debt, taxes, or other financial obligations? Swap your financial statements to understand your financial situation. Talk about your salary, how you’ll share financial expenses, family obligations (if any), and other financial plans.
Money talk can be complicated and uneasy, but regardless, you need to sit down with your spouse and discuss it. The purpose of this meaningful conversation is to have a clear understanding of each other’s financial situation and come up with solutions together.
6. Talk about kids
Another essential conversation you need to have with your potential spouse is kids. Many potential spouses’ goal is to get married and have lovely kids, but you need to plan before that happens.
How many kids do you both want? What names would you prefer for your kids? Do you even want to have kids? Having children is a big commitment, not just personally but also financially. And remember, this commitment is life-long, so you both need to think hard before making decisions regarding kids.
If possible, talk to family and friends already married and seek advice. Alternatively, you can go for premarital counseling, where you can receive guidance from a professional. When we decided to get married, we booked a church, and they ran a pre-marital course which was compulsory. I didn’t think it was worth giving up a Saturday for, but it was a way of getting couples talking and discussing important details before embarking on marriage. You’d be surprised how many couples headed into marriage without discussing kids, money or career goals.
7. Cut ties with your Exes
Are you still seeing your ex? Do you chat or speak often? Keeping ties with your exes will hurt your relationship. If you don’t want such to happen, consider cutting ties with your exes, all of them!
Cutting ties with your exes doesn’t necessarily mean making them your enemies. You could greet them and ask about their well-being if you see them. However, you shouldn’t just give them the attention you once gave them, nor should you be seeing them like you used to. They are your exes; focus on your potential partner.
Marriage is something you shouldn’t rush into. There are a host of things potential couples need to do to solidify the bond so that the marriage journey is smooth sailing filled with memorable moments both parties wish to relieve countless times. We have highlighted some of the things above. The rest, of course, involves wedding arrangements, which should be fun!
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