It’s no surprise that you and your partner will probably talk about a lot of things during your marriage. Your conversations will run the gamut from discussions on politics and Game of Thrones fan theories to deciding what to order from Uber Eats. Each of these conversations has their place in a relationship, but engaged or newlywed couples should also discuss some other, perhaps uncomfortable, topics.
Remember, marriage is about much more than the wedding day. You will be sharing your life with this other person, and you’ll have to work together to craft the lives you’ve always dreamed of. So before you and your sweetheart say, “I do,” it’s important to get on the same page—and that means having some difficult conversations. Here are a few subjects you’ll want to broach with the love of your life.
1. How Will We Handle Family Drama?
We’ve talked about this many times before, but it bears repeating: when you marry someone, you also marry their family. While your wedding day may officially bond you to the love of your life, it also connects you to his or her relatives—and all their family drama, too! It’s important that newlyweds openly and honestly discuss their families so that they can successfully involve everyone in their new married life.
For example, should you speak up if your mother-in-law says something to offend you? Should your spouse call your parents to make plans for a family gathering, or is that your responsibility? Every family has its own unique minefield of personality types and unspoken etiquette, so you and your spouse should talk about the best way to handle family situations while staying sane.
2. Do We Want to Grow Our Family?
By the time most couples make it to the altar, they already have some idea of what they want their family to look like. Some couples want as many kids as they can handle, either biological or adopted, while others would rather live that child-free life. But wherever you fall on the kid spectrum, it’s important that you discuss this topic thoroughly with your spouse.
Do you want children? How many? How soon after getting married should you start trying to conceive? What kind of parent do you plan to be? These decisions have a massive impact on your lives, not to mention the potential impact on any little ones you add to the family. Of course, your feelings may change over the years, but you and your spouse should always know where you both stand on the issue.
3. How Will We Manage Our Money?
These days, more and more couples are marrying later in life. This means that many newlyweds have their own “adult” life already sorted before their big day, complete with their own career and their own bank account. After you get married (or more realistically, before), you and your partner need to decide how to combine your separate financial lives into a cohesive, married whole.
Should you ditch your separate bank accounts and go for joint accounts? Should you keep your money separate and divvy up the bills between you? Should you set up a retirement fund in both your names or a college fund for any possible children? It’s critical that you both come to a compromise you’re both happy with, or managing your finances will become one massive headache!
4. Can We Be Honest About Intimacy?
If you’ve been dating your partner for a long time, you’re probably familiar with what he or she likes in bed, and they likely know what you like. However, if for whatever reason you haven’t been totally honest about your tastes, now is the time to speak up. Intimacy is an important part of any marriage, whether it be gettin’ it on like Marvin Gaye or simply holding hands while you watch TV after dinner. Both of you need to know what the other one needs for this thing to work.
Also, the intimacy discussion is not one that ends after you say “I do.” You two have signed up for a lifetime together, and over the years your needs and desires will inevitably change. Opening the lines of communication and talking about what you need to feel intimate and connected (sexually or emotionally) will better serve you throughout your marriage. So start the conversation now!
5. What Does Our Future Look Like?
One of the most common questions you’ll hear in a job interview is “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Your prospective employer wants to know where you’re going, to see how your goals align with the company’s, and to make sure you’re a solid fit. Well, guess what? Your boss only sees you 40 hours a week; your spouse is with you (at least in spirit) 24/7, forever. It’s important that you both have compatible goals for the long term.
Make sure that you’re honest with your husband or wife about what you want for the future. For example, if you’ve always wanted to move to Alaska and make your living ice fishing, your spouse needs to know (especially if he’s always dreamed of becoming a rodeo star somewhere in Texas)! Either you’ll discover that your goals align perfectly with theirs, or you’ll both learn to compromise and create a new goal that makes you both excited for the future.