Making the decision to get married is one of the most important decisions you can make in your life. Once you have made this decision is when the work really starts. The work that is to come is not placed in deciding who should be in the wedding party, where to have the reception, or even determining what the colors should be. Now is the time to learn more about your future lifelong partner. There are a few important things that should be discussed before heading down the aisle.
Paying for the Wedding
It used to be in years past that the bride’s family would pay for the wedding and reception. Gone are the days of this tradition. Because of this, you and your fiancé will need to figure out who is paying for all or parts of the ceremony. Knowing where this financial responsibility lies will help you to determine the date of the wedding as you may need to allot time to save up the money for the wedding of your dreams.
How Big Will the Wedding Be?
It may be difficult planning for your wedding if one of you wants something small and intimate and the other wants to invite everyone they have ever known. This may be where the two of you get to practice your compromising skills. You will remember your wedding day for the rest of your lives, so make sure that is will be a happy memory for the both of you.
Where to Live
This is a very important topic to cover. Each of you will have in your mind where you will be living as husband and wife, but those places may not be the same place. This gets tricky especially when the both of you are living separately in your own living spaces. Decide ahead of time where your marriage will start out instead of assuming as this could cause unwanted headaches.
Unless you are just starting out in life and haven’t had time to incur assets or debt, this is a topic that needs to be covered thoroughly. It would be in each person’s best interest if you presented your financial documents to the other for review. Those financial documents should include a credit report, last three months of bank statements, retirement statements, a current budget, investment statements, most recent paystub, and any other proof of assets or debt not covered by the suggested documents. Treat this process like applying for a home loan and you should be able to get all of the information you need.
Unfortunately, financial issues can lead to divorce. By putting all of your cards on the table well before marriage, you will know where you and your future spouse stand as well as determine if there is some work to be done before becoming legally bonded. Remember that once you are married you inherit your spouse’s financial status regardless of if you helped them get there or not. Because of this fact, you may also want to consider signing prenuptial agreements in order to protect what you have worked for. Remember that no one who is divorced knew it would happen when they were getting married.
It should not be assumed that your future spouse feels the same way as you do about children. Discussing this ahead of time will save a lot of heartache in the future. If you want children, but your fiancé does not, you may want to reconsider the decision you are about to make. Do not go into the marriage thinking that your significant other will change their mind in the future as the likelihood of that happening is slim. If there is no desire to have children by your partner, find out why and see if there may be alternatives like adoption. Know exactly how your future spouse feels about this topic and know that their feelings may never change.
Hopefully you will both be on the same page. If this is the case, you will also need to discuss how many children each of you would like to have. If one of you wants to have a slew of children and the other wants a small family, this may cause a problem down the road as well.
This is not an exhaustive list of topics to discuss with your future partner, but it is an important start to a sound marriage. Start with these topics and build from there. You may be surprised about what you find out. Going into a marriage with your eyes wide open and armed with all the information you can help you to build a strong foundation for your marriage.
Stephen Minton is a recently divorced freelance blogger for prenuptialagreements.org and strongly recommends filling out a Form for prenuptial agreement before you make your vows.