7 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married

While dating, few people take the trouble to discuss important issues such as money and children yet these are issues that have the potential to topple even the most stable relationship if a couple fails to see eye to eye.


Ironically, couples spend much more time, money and energy to create the perfect wedding, which is just a one-day affair, yet are willing to put just a fraction of these on their marriage, which they expect to last for a life time. When the marriage fails, the same couple wonders why it failed to work out.

The following is a seven 'reality check-off list' that every couple should go through and question themselves before getting married:

Money

Money is one of the most common sources of bitter conflicts in a marriage. During courtship, couples rarely disagree about money because in most cases, each individual is responsible for paying his or her own day-to-day bills; they fail to recognize that this will change once they start living together. Few couples bother to find out how much their partner earns.

Once the landlord attaches the electricity and water bills to the rent and shoves it under the door, it suddenly dawns on the couple that they should have discussed and agreed beforehand who pays what bills. In such cases, the couple adopts a 'wait-and-see' attitude, hoping that the other will pick the cue and settle the bills.

Ladies, don't assume that just because your husband paid for the meals you ordered in restaurants during courtship, he will buy the food once you get married. Be clear on who pays for what before getting married. But it is not enough to find out what each of your financial obligations around the home will be. Make a point of finding out whether your partner has any debts or loans he's financing because this will have an impact on future plans, such as putting up a family home, paying school fees for the children or even saving for the rainy day.

If your partner supports his family or pays school fees for his siblings, it is important to acknowledge how this will have a direct impact on your new family as well as future plans.

It's advisable that couples come up with a budget that reflects their compounded earnings. This, gives a clearer picture of exactly how much they have and discourages them from making impulse purchases. Other financial decisions include how much you will save and how much will go towards your investment kitty. The couple should also decide whether they will keep a separate bank accounts or open a joint one.

Other decisions that might appear petty, but important, include agreeing on where to live, what car to drive, where to shop once you get married. This is because all these have a direct impact on your financial situation. The ideas, is to avoid living beyond your means because it will save you a lot of financial headache.

Children

Do both of you want children? how many do you want? How soon should you have them and what spacing are you comfortable with? If you have no clue what your partner's answers to these questions are, you should not be planning for your affordable wedding just yet.

Most people assume that just because they are getting married, their partner automatically wants children, yet this isn't necessarily the case.

Your partner might also not be keen on having children right away and might have a set opinion on the ideal spacing between each child. Other issues related to this that need to be tackled, include where the child will go to school; will you be able to afford private school or will he or she attend public school? what if you can not have children, would you consider adoption?

In-laws

Quite a number of the couples cite their in-laws as one of the causes of disharmony in their marriage. Such common complaints are a partner who spends "too much" money on his family at the expense of his new family, the partner who finds it difficult to divorce him or her from his or her family and either spends too much time with them or gives them leeway to influence the decisions he or she makes at home.

There is also the issue of in-laws who visit on an extended basis, turning up unannounced and then staying for days or even weeks.

Couples are advised to be open with each other right form the start about how much financial help they will extend to their respective families bearing in mind that marriages comes with added responsibilities especially when children come into the picture. It is also important to agree on how often you will be visiting your families and how long you will be staying with them.

Once you get married, your spouse and children should come first because they are your sole responsibility; it is also your responsibility to make this clear to your family.

Religion

While courting, religion isn't an issue for most couples because they're too busy having fun. It only comes up when the couple decides to get married and it hits them that they have to agree on where to have the wedding, who will officiate it and even more serious, which religion their children will follow.

Couples ought to discuss this before the marriage and come to an agreement which they are both comfortable with. If you not, then it's advisable to reconsider the relationship because the problem will not just disappear.

Is There Room for Career Growth?

If either of you intend to go back to school to study, find out how your partner feels about this because it means that you will be spending a lot of time away from the family. It's also important for the couple to work out how they will make up for the lost time.

Further education is a huge financial undertaking that couple should discuss before hand. Agree on how you will pay for it, will the individual going back to school pay from his or her own pocket or will you take a loan. Agree on the modalities of payment that both of you will be comfortable with.


How Much Time will You Spend Together?

Couples rarely discuss this, hence the big number of wives who find themselves home alone on weekends while their husbands meet friends over a beer, or men forced to look for something to do while their wives are attend one of several women's groups over the weekend.

The fact is that once a couple gets married, how they used to socialise changes.

For most couples, the overnight drinking binges and dancing the night away either comes to an abrupt end or fizzles out especially when children come into the picture. When this happens few couples look for alternative ways of spending time together.

In most cases, married people grow apart because they don't spend meaningful time with each other like they did during courtship. Couples should set aside specific days that they intend to spend together as family before they get married. Weekends are the best bet since both of you are likely to be taking a break from work and the children from school.

Also, it's important to set individual time, where one can indulge in activities that they enjoy or simply catch up with friends. Remember, being a couple doesn't mean losing your individualism.

Do You Share Similar Goals? What's Your Vision for the Future?

You cannot grow unless both of you share a common vision and are committed towards realising it. Ask yourself whether your partner is the kind of person that is willing to let go of some material comfort now for the sake of a more comfortable future. If he or she isn't, be ready to do all the donkey work while your partner enjoys the effortless ride.

This list is by no means exhaustive. The fact is that the decision to get married is probably one of the most important decisions you will ever make in your life, therefore nothing should be left to chance.

Discuss every little detail, even that which seems petty, such as who will make the tea in the morning, whether your husband will be willing to help out in the kitchen once in a while, who will change the light bulb. All these little things matter.

You might not agree on everything, and this is quite normal, but you should ensure that you agree on the most important details.

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