For the couples who have been together for a while, or even those that may not have done the time but feel like it’s the right time to take the next big steps in the relationship – this post is for you.
Perhaps you have paid some mind to what may lay ahead, the choices you’ll have to make as your relationship develops, and the life-changing decisions you’ll be faced with. Or, perhaps you are in complete honeymoon phase and have not thought much further than that. While I don’t want to pop your blissful romantic bubble, it’s important that both of you are ready to tackle the sometimes-challenging path that comes with a ‘forever’ commitment. Decisions such as family planning, financial stability, juggling a life together and one of your own, buying a home and paying a mortgage. There’s a lot to think about – a lot to discuss before you jump into this whirlwind.
It’s essential that you and your soon to be life partner/husband/wife, are on the same page. Trying to navigate these things after the commitment has been made, can put a strain on a relationship and can make things a lot messier than they should be.
Here is a list of important things for you and your partner to chat about before saying ‘yes’ or ‘I do’.
Expanding the family
Most couples – especially the ones who are wanting to get married; are thinking of expanding their family in the years following the ‘I do’. You and your partner should chat more about it, with both of you open to understanding what is best for the other person, and for yourselves. You need to figure out when the right time is – once your careers are stable? After you’ve travelled a little more? Once you turn a certain age? Get an understanding of the general timeline for both of you so that you are both on the same page with this. This is not something to iron out only after you have gotten married – for all you know, your partner may never want kids, while you’re dying to have. Deal breaker right there.
Many women and men suffer from infertility; therefore, you cannot predict that it will never happen to you. Fortunately, technology has advanced and there is help for those who struggle. Wijnland Fertility, for example, help thousands of couples to conceive each year, through advanced fertility treatments and professional advice and assistance. Perhaps it may be a good idea for both of you to get tested and discover whether or not you will need to consider alternative means of conceiving.
Finding your perfect home
One of the most exciting parts about getting married, is deciding where to live and where to bring up your future family. While this is budget dependent, it is possible to find a home that ticks all your boxes and is situated in an area that you love and feel safe living in. It’s important you discuss what both of your preferences are before investing in a property. Ask questions such as – ‘Should we rent/buy?’, ‘How much are we willing to pay?’ ‘How many bedrooms do we need?’ ‘What area, and where should it be close to (e.g. schools/hospitals)?’
Dividing household chores
Now, I’m sure you can agree: this point is one of those points that need careful attention (for obvious reasons). This is one of those points than could potentially start world war 3 in your home, especially if you aren’t on the same page with each other’s responsibilities. Before you move in together (or if you have been living together but are not happy with the arrangement), now is the time to divide the household chores equally, and demand that the other person commits to it; yourself included. Discuss who does what, and when. Make a list that is fair and takes into consideration each other’s strengths. For example, if you are the better cook, you may want to do the cooking. Your partner then needs to make sure the dishes are washed and packed away. Remember, though, not to delegate. This needs to be an open discussion where both parties feel happy with the arrangement at the end of the chat.
Dividing household expenses
This is another incredibly important point, in fact, if there’s only one you pay attention to, it needs to be this one. You and your partner need to divide household expenses equally, or discuss whether or not you’ll have a joint bank account from which money will be used to pay for things such as rent, mortgage, miscellaneous bills, entertainment, etc.
For joint expenses such as rent or mortgage, remember to take the other person’s earnings into account. If they only earn a fraction of what you earn, it’s not fair to expect them to pay exactly half the rent. Either, then, they need to pay for other smaller expenses to share some of the load, or you may need to look at renting or buying a cheaper property, for example.