Talks About Us: The Essential Conversations to Have Before You Get Married
I recently received a question from a reader who is getting married for the first time. She wanted to know if there was any advice I could give her that would be beneficial for the success of her marriage.
I recently got engaged to a man that I love very much. This is a big step in my life and will bring many changes. While we both are honest, loving, intelligent and caring people, I want to make sure we have a good foundation in place when we make our vows to each other in a few months’ time. We’ve talked about what kind of wedding we want, where we will live and have a general family plan, but I want to make sure we have covered all of the bases. Do you have any advice about how to create a marriage that will last from the beginning?
First of all, congratulations! What an exciting time! Marriage is the union of two people committed to each other for life, the opportunity to celebrate together all of the beautiful highs life offers, and the promise to be there for each other through life’s inevitable challenges. I have always thought of marriage as the ultimate commitment that two people give each other. After all, you are committing to exactly one person for the rest of your life! That decision alone is such a beautiful commitment two people make to one another.
Everything changes when two people decide to marry, and it should, because that’s what marriage is – it’s a state change. You say “I Do,” and life is never the same again. All of a sudden, there is another person to consider with nearly every decision you make. Moving forward, it’s all about “we” instead of “me.” You come home to your partner and build your life together. That is the beginning of a beautiful, loving marriage.
There are a lot of moving parts as you prepare to be married. For many women, the wedding itself is an event that they have thought about since they were little girls. The location of the ceremony, the details of the reception and the honeymoon, how big the wedding party is, and of course the vows are all thoroughly planned. While all of these parts of it are important and in the excitement of your big day, it can be easy to feel like if you have the “perfect” wedding, then the perfect marriage will automatically follow.
But it’s important to remember some sobering statistics. The divorce rate among first marriages is 41%, and for second marriages it’s 60%. It is safe to assume that couples who get married intend to stay married. So, what’s the problem here? Well, after coaching hundreds of married women, I believe that there are certain fundamentals that all couples can learn to create a truly loving and lasting happily ever after, but far too few put them in place. As empowered women, it is up to us to make sure that we have the fundamentals covered.
One of the most basic things I know about all relationships is that they form a pattern from the start. What I mean by that is that couples have a way with each other and set a tone for the relationship from the beginning. When relationships mature, grow deeper and things begin to lead toward marriage, a new and important stage of the relationship begins. And this is the time where both people in a relationship have an opportunity to reinforce the good patterns and reshape others into what will serve you best as a couple. This is a time when the dynamics of the relationship change.
So what are these fundamentals I am referring to?
Quite simply, they are the important and key conversations that need to happen to establish a solid foundation for your marriage from the start. One of the natural shifts that happens, or should happen, from getting married is that your priority shifts, and that is a beautiful thing. Your highest obligation shifts to your spouse. This is the natural order of things. These conversations can help you create a pattern of respect, open communication, commitment and love.
These fundamental “talks about us” can and should establish a baseline for how each of you will act, communicate and contribute in the relationship. They will keep each of you grounded for each other through life’s changing circumstances, so that you know that no matter what happens, the two of you will be there for each other.
These are the 6 conversations that I feel are essential to have with your person before you get married. I will list some of the things you might discuss within each conversation, but there are many more!
- Getting married and what it (really) means to us!
- The overall vibe of your marriage and the assumptions, intentions, expectations that each of you has coming into the marriage;
- How will each of you “show up” in the marriage;
- How you will protect each other; and
- The role family and friends will play in your life.
- Communication: Let’s go deep!
- There is no subject that can’t be talked about. Talk about everything!
- Do you know each other’s love language?
- Have you taught your partner how to best communicate with you?
- Let’s talk money!
- Money should be an open book. It’s both of your money and you both should be involved in making financial decisions.
- How are we going to budget, spend and save?
- What are your financial goals as a couple?
- Who we are! Morals, Core and family Values, religion/spiritual beliefs.
- As a couple and family, what are the family core values you will create together!
- How do you want to live and what do you both believe in?
- Let’s get Intimate! Sex, intimacy and the polarity between the two of you.
- What are the expectations for your sex life?
- What will you do to maintain your vulnerability with each other?
- Let’s talk Shop! Handling the basics.
- What kind of lifestyle will you live?
- What is the overall vibe of the home and who handles what?
Remember, we are only scratching the surface here! There are many additional topics that may be important for you to include. What’s important to remember is that this is for you both, and if something is important to you, then bring it up. It’s important to bring to each talk an open mind and loving heart.
It’s valuable to have these conversations now, to learn how to have conversations about any topic that is important to you or your soon to be spouse. What’s important to remember is that this person you are committing to is the person you should have these conversations with. This is where you set the overall vibe, at the beginning when you can shape the marriage, instead of the marriage shaping you.
I am an advocate for marriage and all the blessings it brings to one another. I believe in marriage and two people being committed to each other and exchanging vows to last a lifetime. Building a strong foundation from the start and having vulnerable conversations will open up communication with each other. It will set up your marriage to be successful from the beginning. I believe in the power of conversations. I believe there is nothing that can’t be talked about. I believe that open communication builds a strong marriage from the beginning.
Aside from these conversations, my advice is fairly simple. Always hold each other in the highest regards and never gossip about your spouse, especially to your family. Have respect for one another and protect each other. Communicate whatever needs to be communicated and be completely honest with each other! Always remember to give each other grace and true forgiveness and move on. Be kind. Spend time together, create your own rituals and habits together. Have fun, have so much fun together. Learn each other’s love language and be aware of each other‘s needs. Above all cherish and love each other, no matter what is happening.
That’s how great relationships last a lifetime! I’m so excited for you and I hope this was helpful. I emailed a full list of questions and conversation topics to have with your fiancé. Thank you for your great question.
Well, ladies, that’s what I have for this month. The absolutely beaty of the union of marriage. I believe everyone who wants to participate in a beautiful marriage can use the power of conversation to create one. And if you would like a copy of the detailed conversations and questions emailed to you, please send a message to me at email@example.com. I will send it right over to you.