Ten important things you should discuss with your partner before getting married

Part 3 of the 7-Part Marriage Series

Hey there! Hope all is well. Today we will hang out by kicking off part three of Shelly and I’s seven-part marriage series.

Before we dive into today’s topic, if you haven’t already, please stop and take a moment to read parts one and two. Also, make sure you’ve read both of our interviews, which will help you understand our perspectives on each subject.

Things You Should Ask Yourself Before Getting Married-Toni

Why you should consider delaying your wedding-Shelly

Shelly’s interview

Toni’s interview

Now that you’re all caught up let’s get to it!

Hindsight is Always 20/20

After being married for almost nineteen years, I have learned many things that I believe would have helped me before marriage. Therefore, I want to be sure to relay the message to anyone else just getting started.

You Don’t Know Until You Have Experience

There are situations where you won’t know exactly how someone reacts or feels until they are in the moment or have gone through the experience. For example, how they deal with losing a loved one (especially in their immediate families like children, parents, or siblings). Also, how they handle being let go from a job, etc. These are serious events that can be difficult to process, and one can’t typically speak on how they will exist in life and manage after they’ve happened until they’ve happened.

Is it Really “For Better or Worse?”

While it seems like common sense that your spouse will be there “for better or worse,” it’s good to discuss what that statement means to each of you. I believe it’s necessary to break this concept down and even give hypothetical situations to get an idea of both parties’ expectations of examining the conditions and conducting themselves through the circumstances.

10 Essential Topics to Discuss With Your Partner

I’ll try to keep it short with only ten of the most critical topics I believe you should discuss before you say, “I do,” or at least as early as possible in the beginning stages of marriage.

Ask your partner the following questions:

1. Do you want kids?
  • Yes – If so, what are your expectations of having kids?
    • How do you think we should teach them about money?
      • Are they required to work to earn money (i.e., doing chores, making all A’s on their report card, etc.)
      • Will we hand them money whenever they ask?
      • Do we teach them to budget and save?
    • What kind of discipline is your preference?
      • Are you okay with spankings or prefer to give timeouts or take away privileges only?
    • How much of their responsibilities would you like each of us to cover?
      • Who will take on diaper changing and feeding duties?
      • Will we both attend parent-teacher conferences and other events for school?
      • Who will be in charge of overseeing that they complete all assignments, etc.?
  • Yes, but I don’t want them right away.
    • Are you wanting to wait until a particular time before having children?
    • Do you feel like you want to have reached a specific financial status prior to having them? 
  • No – If you don’t want to have kids at all, is it for selfish purposes?
    • Are your reasons acceptable?

***The responsibilities discussed early on may very well change, but having a conversation upfront shows where each of your priorities, concerns, and desires are from the start.

2. What are our boundaries?
  • What limits do you think we should have in our relationship?
    • Financial, sexual, etc.
  • Should we have a cut-off point where we stop allowing others access to us?
    • Do you think we can agree to turn our phones off so that our time together does not get disturbed?
      • Are there times where a complete shutdown cannot happen? i.e., work, young children, having older/ill parents, etc. If so, are we both on one accord about those acceptable moments?
  • Will we give a specific time we’d like the other to be home if we are not out together?
  • Will we set a certain bedtime for us to maintain as often as possible?
3. What are your expectations for our marriage?
  • Do you think we should have specific standards we want each other to meet?
  • Any expectations of who pays which bills, or how many responsibilities each of us will take on?
    • Are there specific tasks you do not like, such as cleaning the bathroom or mowing the lawn?
      • Are we willing to pay someone else to tackle the least preferred responsibilities if neither of us wants them?
4. What will our core values be?
  • What do we stand for?
    • What will we not accept or allow in our marriage?
  • What do we believe in?
    • Are there circumstances where the world is okay with specific things that we are not?
      • Will we stand together no matter how others feel about a situation?
  • Is religion a significant factor in our relationship, or is it a deal-breaker?
    • Can we have different beliefs?
      • If we have separate denominations and religious traditions, will we raise our children with an option to choose their religion or even allow them to believe in nothing at all?
5. Will we have a joint account or keep separate accounts?
  • Are we okay with depositing our money into one account?
  • If we decide to have separate accounts, is it necessary to tell each other the total amount?
    • Is there a specific amount that you think would be okay to save independently of the other?
  • If we want to make purchases, do we require each other to discuss it first, or is buying okay as long as it doesn’t exceed a specific amount?
6. What would we consider deal-breakers for our relationship?
  • Is lying non-negotiable?
    • If one of us lies, do you think the relationship can survive it?
      • Are there levels of lying that would cause us to forgive rather than terminating the relationship?
  • If someone is hiding money, is that a reason to walk away?
  • Do you think there is a chance for reconciliation if one of us had an affair?
    • Do you believe that we could try to trust again?
7. How do you think we should handle communication?
  • What do you feel is healthy and unhealthy communication?
    • Is there a particular way that you would like to or not like to be talked to?
  • Are there times that you think we can delay addressing an issue to ensure that we respond in the right mindset?
    • Can we agree that we will allow X amount of time to respond to a question or a situation if someone needs additonal time?
  • Would you be willing to seek counsel if we are finding it difficult to communicate?
    • A therapist, Pastor, or trusted family member or friend who will give unbiased advice
8. What sets you off, and how should we address it?
  • What are your triggers?
    • How do you handle those emotional reactions?
      • Do you become unbearable or need some time alone to deal with your feelings?
9. If sex was no longer an option for us, could our relationship survive?
  • Can we commit to loving one another regardless if we couldn’t have sex?
  • If something tragic happened or a medical reason did not allow one of us to be sexually active, could we still love each other beyond that limitation?
10. What are your short term and long term goals?
  • This will allow us to ensure that we are in sync with what we want out of life for the current time and future.
  • This convo helps us to understand how the other thinks and tells us what their priorities are.

I asked Ejuan for my final point, and he hit the nail on the head. This subject is one of his most significant things that we discuss even today, so I was not surprised at all about this suggestion! In my Martin voice, “YOU GO BOY!

Do you think discussing the heavy topics before marriage give your relationship a better chance?

Until next time, I’ll leave you with this. No couple or marriage is perfect. No matter what you see on the outside or via social media posts, everyone has their struggles and tiffs. Many of the topics I’ve shared on this list were things that Ejuan and I NEVER talked about before marriage. Go figure! You can’t really expect much from two teenagers in love, though! Therefore, I thought through many of the things we’ve experienced or have witnessed in other marriages. By sharing these details, I hope to help you plan a better future with your fiance or newlywed spouse. I have listed ten essential items I feel you should discuss with your partner before you get married. However, I am sure there are plenty of other hot topics that you can address. What would you suggest to add to this list? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks again for hanging out with me!

15 thoughts on “Ten important things you should discuss with your partner before getting married

  1. Thanks for sharing. I remember discussing some of these topics with my hubby before we got married and even after many years of marriage some of them are still hot topics. Funny you touched on triggers, these have changed over the years….what bothered me as a teenager, I’m unbothered by now.

    1. Exactly! Seasons and concerns change. I do agree that some things are still triggers after many years. That’s why we have to continue communicating. Marriage is constant learning and compromising.

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