Getting married is a big deal. From the money you will likely spend on the lavish nuptials to the financial, emotional and strategic hassle associated with dissolving the union should it not work out, you pay a major price for marriage.
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All too often, would-be brides and grooms find themselves too in love to exercise logic and end up rushing down the aisle in excessive haste. Don’t do this. Be the smart cookie you know you are and carefully consider the most vital factors pre-matrimony to improve your chances of making your marriage a lasting one.
1. How You Each Manage Money
It’s so often repeated that it’s become a cliché, but the number one cause of divorce is money. Cliché or not this is so, So, SO true. In the real world, dollars and cents matter. If you want that Barbie dream house with a white picket fence, you’re going to have to fork over some cash to get it.
Before you invest in his and her towels, make sure that you and your partner can agree on the rules that will govern your soon-to-be mutual finances.
2. Do You Agree On Kids?
Almost as important as how you will spend and save is whether you each want children, and if so how soon? It’s easy to become so enamored with your partner that you fail to talk about this important factor, thinking naïvely that it will all just fall into place.
Sooner than you would expect, your head is going to dip down below the clouds in which it’s currently stuck and you’re going to want to move forward with your procreation plans. If this happens and you find that your partner’s wants differ from yours, you could be in quite the difficult predicament.
3. When You Will Visit Family
No, it’s not vital that you map out a five-year schedule of family visitations before you choose your wedding colors, but you should discuss when, and how often, you plan to see each other’s families. Be adults about it and talk about how you will spend different holidays. Having this conversation pre-wedding can prevent some very avoidable conflict in the early days of your marriage.
4. Do Your Career Goals Mesh?
You and your beau don’t have to have the same career goals. In fact, it’s better if you don’t work in the same industry, as trying to climb the same corporate ladder could create an unhealthy level of competition between you and your love.
You should have similar ideas as to what constitutes a healthy obsession with work, however. If you’re an up-at-the-crack-of-dawn workaholic and your flame is content to lounge the day away and sneak in through the back door right before lunch, you will likely experience conflict regarding this difference, which could poison your romance.
5. Is Your Partner Happy With Himself?
Does your partner’s face only light-up when you compliment him? If so, you may want to ponder this potential problem pre-marriage. Though your status as the only thing that makes your partner happy may be a turn on in the early days of your union, as months turn into years, you will want him to be satisfied with himself.
You can’t carry the weight of both of your happiness solo. Even if you can bear up under it for a while, it will become too much and you will likely start to secretly loath your spouse’s perpetual dissatisfaction with himself.
While you don’t necessarily need to cut a low-self-esteem-possessing partner loose, you should consider this and discuss with him your desire for him to work on improving himself in this area before you hitch your wagon to his.
6. Does Your Partner Have Lasting Relationships?
Before you get married, engage in a little self-preservation. Be smart and think critically about your partner’s apparent ability to form and maintain relationships. Yes, you are in a relationship with him now and, yes, it’s going well or you wouldn’t be contemplating matrimony.
This one example of a temporarily strong relationship is far from sufficient to prove that your partner can make mutually respectful relationships last in the long run. Carefully contemplate your partner’s relationship with his family members. If he is estranged from them, be critical and explore why.
Maybe the fault is on his end, which would suggest that you might be at risk of suffering a similar falling out in the future. Similarly, get to know his long-term friends. If he doesn’t have any, consider this red flag and decide how committed you are to proceeding in your relationship.