Before marriage, it’s important that you and your partner have a heart-to-heart about a few key topics. This talk doesn’t necessarily have to be super serious or intimidating. In fact, the tenser you get, the more likely one of you will get hurt by something the other says. And then, before you know it, boom: you’ll both clam up. Just relax and keep it casual, but make sure to hit these crucial talking points.
1. Discuss Your Goals
This is a biggie. Most articles about pre-marriage will point this one out, and there’s a reason for it. Have you ever seen that movie “The Five-Year Engagement”? It stars Emily Blunt and Jason Segel ,and the entire premise is that they don’t hash this kind of thing out very well. They end up conflicting because their career goals take them in different directions. It takes them five years of lovelorn agony before they finally get married. A simple way to avoid this is to suss out what your partner’s goals are. Don’t be shy. Talk about your own goals too, and try to find a way you can both meet your goals together.
Nothing brings a couple together like teamwork, and this kind of situation is the perfect opportunity for just that. It’s really important that you champion and support each other. You can’t do that if you’re resentful because your partner gets all he or she ever wanted but you never did (or vice versa). A question for you: If your partner has no idea what your goals are, how can he or she be supportive or try to meet you in the middle?
Sometimes you may feel like a sacrifice on your part is noble. You take on the role of “martyr,” though your partner never asked you to. It’s good to give your partner everything he or she could ever want, right? Trust me (and Emily Blunt and Jason Segel), you don’t want to do that. You can’t starve yourself of your dreams entirely while your partner fulfills every single goal and expect a healthy relationship. That is, unless you come to an agreement and are happy with the arrangement you two have. In that case you’re golden. But again, the key to having that arrangement is to talk about it.
So, here’s exactly how to broach this topic: Flesh out both of your individual goals and your shared goals, and then figure out a way in which you can both achieve your goals together.
2. What Do Each of You Need to Feel Happy?
What circumstances do you each need to feel content in life? This is similar to the goals topic we just discussed. It’s important to find out what surroundings your partner needs to flourish. This would be a great chance to talk about expectations, such as those about children, luxuries, cleanliness of the household (trust me that’s a big one), etc. Each of you has a set of norms in your life that keeps you happy and satisfied. The real trouble comes when these norms conflict.
For instance, let’s say your partner is totally fine if the sink is full of dishes and there’s dog hair all over the floor, but you’re not. In fact, the mess actually makes you uncomfortable. You need to let your partner know, or you will forever be uncomfortable. Or it’s possible that you know that you want kids more than anything and won’t truly be happy unless there’s a family running around your house, but your partner prefers a quiet solitude. You get the picture. Everyone has needs, and it’s important to become intimately familiar with your partner’s needs and for your partner to know yours. Talk these tough points out with the intention of coming to a happy agreement. You both need to feel content in your lives and in your marriage, so this is essential.
3. Discuss the Ways You Like to be Supported
How do you react when your life gets difficult? Do you feel the need to vent, or do you prefer to spend time alone? You need to talk to your partner about these habits and the best way they can support you during trying times. Your partner may be doing things all wrong and has absolutely no idea. Don’t let this go on. Kindly let him or her know that when you isolate yourself after something happens, you really just need some space to calm down. Let your partner know that when you’re venting, you just want to be heard without trying to fix anything.
Your soon-to-be-spouse wants to support you the way you need to be supported. I can’t tell you how many couples I’ve encountered that tell me, “I wish my partner would just do xyz when I’m sad,” and when I ask them if they’ve told their partners what they want, they almost exclusively say “No.” You can’t expect your partner to know what you want; only you know what you want. Trust me, it won’t feel any less supportive because you told your partner what to do. In fact, it can feel even more meaningful because he or she has really taken your care and wishes into consideration.
All this talking will help get you ready for a happy forever. It will make you feel closer as a couple and more fulfilled because although you don’t mean them to, the little grievances you hold against your partner will get in the way of your true chance at a forever-happy union. So, talk everything out and keep it light. Maybe plan for something fun after the talk, but don’t freak if the plans fall through or you both feel wiped out. Just go with the flow and enjoy getting to know your partner that much more.