7 Important Topics to Talk About with Your Partner during Premarital Counseling

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Premarital counseling is a great idea, regardless of whether you feel you need it. It’s a simple way to find out if your partner and you are on the same page about many different topics. Some officiants or religious venues won’t allow you to tie your knot without attending at least a few of these sessions. Although it might seem scary to sit down and discuss difficult topics, it will make your marriage stronger over the long-term. It’s crucial to have regular sessions to talk about important topics that you may have missed while you are trying to find venues or caterers.

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You should schedule sessions with a therapist or your officiant in the months leading up to your wedding. We’ve outlined seven topics you and your partner need to discuss in order to get things moving. Find out where you stand on everything, from the number of children you want (or not!) to your career.

Environment

Marriage is about settling down. But do you and your spouse have the same understanding of what this means? “Couples might not have ever lived together before so this area could cover a lot,” Dr. Paulette Sherman, psychologist and director of My Dating and Relationship School and the author of Dating from The Inside Out, says. You can talk about whether you would like to live in the city, the suburbs, or have an apartment or a house. Also, you can discuss whether or not you are interested in moving to other states or continents. It’s important to consider the details of your day. Sherman suggests that you could discuss household responsibilities and expectations about chores on a smaller scale. This is especially important if you are both working. Will you split chores or get help? What are you thinking when you imagine your lifestyle and amenities? Are you able to create a shared vision for daily life?

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Children

Although you may prefer to wait for a while before you start your family, it is important to get your partner’s consent. Children are a huge responsibility. It should not be assumed that both spouses want them. Sherman says it can be stressful to find out that one partner really wants children and the other doesn’t. It is important to discuss the number of children, the discipline styles and expectations, the level of parental involvement and how you plan to raise your children, especially when it comes down to school, activities, and values.

Money

You’ll need to be in control of your finances as you get married. This means you need to be honest about your spending habits. Sherman states, “It is important to discuss salaries and debt, how each spends or saves, and how you will handle finances.” Will you each pay off your loans together? Your funds can be joined. Are you able to have separate or joint accounts? Will you have one or both accounts? These are all crucial questions to ask.

Career

While it might seem natural to do the 9-to-5 thing for you and your spouse right now, it is a good idea think about the impact on your marriage if your career moves forward. Sherman states that your career can have a significant impact on many areas of your life. Sherman says that if only one person is the breadwinner, or working, it is important to discuss this to make sure there is no power dynamic. Will the other person ask for money, for example? If they are not at home, will they feel the same appreciation for their contributions to the marriage? If both spouses work, will their careers be treated equally with travel, time off and promotions? Both of you need to make sure that everything is in order so you feel supported.

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Extended family and support

You marry your partner when you marry them. Make sure you are both clear about how your families will be involved in your marriage. You both are the architects of your own family as a married couple. Your parents may offer advice on parenting, religion, education and holidays but it’s you who will ultimately make the decisions. Sherman states that this will prevent many disputes.”

Religion

It can be difficult to find a balance if you have different religious beliefs or views. It is important to discuss your plans in advance so that no one feels disappointed or hurt. Sherman states that it is important to discuss holidays and customs, as well as expectations regarding spirituality and religious education for children. You should also talk about how to communicate these options to extended families to ensure everyone is on the same page.

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Communication

Although communicating sounds simple enough, when things get heated, it can be helpful to have a way to work through them instead of fighting over them. Sherman said, “You can talk about how you will handle disagreements and compromise.” “Figure out what works in communication between your spouse. Stonewalling and criticism can be a sign of divorce. However, happy marriages are known for being calm and able to resolve conflicts.

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