There are so many things to talk about before getting engaged because you may have dated your fiancee for quite a while but you might not know all the answers. That’s why we’re sharing these couple questions to get the conversation started.
Seven years ago, Max and I started dating. It was a short dating period but we were together every single night after our first date and so a couple of months felt like we’d been together for a lot longer.
He had gone to his family cabin for Christmas and I remember waiting anxiously for him to get home. Getting cell service down there was slim and I was going through withdrawals from talking to him.
He picked me up in his maroon Dodge truck and started driving. In a snow storm. We drove up about 45 minutes away from our town and stopped at a Subway. I was quite shocked as to why he decided to order a 6″ sandwich and to share chips and a drink. His friend called him all excited about what was to come that night and I was a little confused.
We drove up onto a ledge overlooking a large, frozen reservoir. He told me to walk over and look out at the view while he set up a radio. He walked over to me, knelt down and asked me to marry him. I said, “Yes!” and then pulled him up for a hug and kiss. He looked at me and said, “So, that’s a yes?” (He didn’t hear me the first time.)
We danced a little bit to a song I should probably remember but can’t at the moment. And then we drove home and the wedding planning began.
We may not be veterans at the whole marriage thing but we are definitely not newbies. And yet, there will always be things we learn from each other. The important thing is that you talk about what you want in life because if your goals don’t match up for the most part, it’s better to know for the outset than to be blindsided a few years down the road.
Here are some couple questions you NEED to ask each other before you decide to get engaged:
Who will do what in the relationship?
One of the things that can trip up a lot of couples are roles. You might come from families that have the typical roles of a working father and a stay-at-home mother. Maybe your mother worked and your father stayed home. But chances are, you both come from varying degrees of “traditional” family structures.
Talk about your background and your wants. Is the wife going to want to stay home eventually with the kids? Does she prefer to work? How will you balance having kids and home life? If you know this upfront, it will be easier to move ahead and make plans.
Talk about household duties. Who will do laundry and iron? Who will be responsible for making dinners and doing the grocery shopping? And the list goes on.
Who will take care of maintenance on the cars? Who will do the yard work or take out the trash?
That seems like a lot of questions wrapped into one, right? Each one is important because it gives you the opportunity to voice your opinion about your likes and dislikes. Obviously, plans change and that’s the beauty of it. But it’s easier to change a few things here and there than to come up with a whole plan while you’re frustrated about one aspect or another in your relationship.
Do you want kids? How many?
Let’s be honest. Most people either want kids or they don’t. Some decide they want kids and then after having one or two they are done. The point is to talk about it before you get married. Chances are if a woman or a man doesn’t want kids at all, it will be really hard to convince them later on.
Talk about a number of kids you would like to have, and then list off the reasons why. Max and I have always wanted a bigger family but we don’t have a set in stone number of kids we want to have. That’s when you have to talk to your spouse and decide together what is right for you.
Sometimes you can only have so many kids because of finances. Other times it’s because of work schedules and other pursuits.
Bottom line, talk about it now so you won’t be blindsided later.
How will you handle finances?
This can branch from the working dynamics. Talking about things like who gets to control the money and who will pay the bills? (the actual paying of the bills, not just the making of the money).
Finances are a huge thing for marriage and can cause quite a strain on it. When money is tight, it can stress out the husband and the wife with worry and the unknown of how you’ll get through it. When there is a lot of money, sometimes you put too much value into it instead of into your marriage.
One of the most important things to do with money is to manage it TOGETHER. Because one spouse is working shouldn’t mean they get to have ultimate control over it. A budget has to come as part of both sides discussing what the needs are as well as the wants. When one spouse is a tyrant and makes the other spouse feel inferior, it pulls you apart instead of helping you come closer.
What place does the other’s family play in our family life?
I’m sure we could discuss this one several times over but it’s something you need to understand from the beginning. How will you handle holidays? Will you visit both families or will you trade off?
How often will you see them throughout the month or year? If you live far away, this might be easier or harder because you have to plan specific trips to see them. If you live 5 minutes from one set of parents, how often are you going over there?
Family is so important. Obviously, we think so or we wouldn’t be writing about it so much but the most important thing to remember is that once you are married, that becomes your immediate family. The health and welfare of your marriage is about you and your spouse and then the rest of your families.
Make sure you give and take on this. And let your families know that you can’t make it to absolutely every event.
Are there any previous relationships that might affect your relationship?
Any ex-boyfriends/girlfriends/spouses you need to talk about? Hopefully you don’t have to do much for past boyfriends or girlfriends but it’s better to talk about any issues left over from previous relationships.
Maybe you have a hard time talking about things or you get scared because of an abusive partner. This helps your fiancee understand certain things and how to deal with them when or if it comes up in your relationship.
Where do you see your marriage in 5-10 years?
My friends called the first year of marriage the black hole, when you forget about everyone and everything because you’re so in love. The most important part is that you have plans for the future. What do you hope to have accomplished and where do you want to be?
Marriage is the perfect support system for goals as you can work together on them and get farther with a plan.
Obviously, each of these have more questions within them and there are others you might want to talk about as well. The point is to get the conversation started so you know where to start and can make the marriage great from the get-go!