We’re about to get real. Are you ready? I’m willing to bet that this season is looking a whole lot like: work, wedding plan, eat, sleep and repeat – am I right? As a married wedding photographer, I too have been there! But, I’m also willing to bet that, since you’re reading this, one of your biggest priorities is not just planning an epic celebration. But, building a strong and lasting marriage, above all else. And I see you! That’s something we have in common.
As Kyle and I got closer and closer to our own wedding – I started revisiting some of the most important conversations we had leading up to it. Some we had had before our first date – and some we started tackling more in-depth in the few months leading up to it. But I believe each topic was equally vital to the future health of our marriage.
I believe there are a handful of conversations everyone should have, in-depth, before any wedding. Conversations that will help ensure your marriage is rooted in a healthy and sturdy foundation that you can continue to build from.
So, today I’m sharing 10 of the most important topics you can discuss with your partner – including tons of prompts and sample questions – to help you continue building that foundation! I encourage you to grab your partner, a glass of wine and make a night out of it! Ready for the first topic?
10 Important Topics to Discuss Before Getting Married
1. Finances and Money
This is first on the list for a reason. As one of the leading causes of divorce, it’s important to tackle this subject early on. Discuss your spending habits. How do you spend money? What are your priorities and goals financially? Do you prioritize saving, always splurging on the latest and greatest, or do you value traveling and experiencing life and adventuring above all else? Do you envision combining or keeping your finances and accounts separate? If combined, who will be responsible for paying bills? If separate, how will you split or share expenses (think bigger future expenses as well – eg: cars, houses, kids, college, vacations, etc)?
Is there any debt that should be known about? If so, who will be responsible for that debt, and what is the plan for paying it off? Discuss budgeting. What are your goals and what will that look like for the two of you jointly? Will you set limits on how much you can spend before asking your partner – or verify every purchase with them first? What are the thresholds you’d be comfortable with, that also fit within your current lifestyle and get you closer to your goals? One last point that is good to talk about is how you feel about lending money to family or friends – and what your boundaries are around this.
2. Core Values, Religion and Politics
What are your core values? Where do you share the same values and where do they differ? How important of a role do these values or beliefs play in your life? How will that translate into life together – and in possibly raising children? If you come from two different faiths or belief systems politically, how will you navigate that? And how will it affect raising children? Will the difference in opinions be a constant source of tension or conflict in the future? What are the solutions? If there are strong differences, it’s best to have these kinds of conversations now!
3. Future Living and Goals
When you close your eyes and dream up your future… what does it look like and do you have a shared vision for it? What are you wanting to achieve career-wise? Career choices can lead to moving cities, states or even countries. How flexible are you willing or not willing to be? If you could live anywhere, where would you both want to live? What type of work schedule are you or aren’t you okay with in a partner? Do you need the stability of a 9-5? Are you okay with extended travel? Do you want to rent or own a home? Where do you see yourselves retiring one day? Ensuring you have a similar vision for your future in mind and are working towards that together. Or are, at least, on the same page about being flexible are great discussions to have.
4. Children and Parenting
Do you both want kids? If not, what’s the solution? If so, how many? When? What would you like to have in place before starting a family? Are you in agreement on the general goals and timeframe? What do you envision your parenting style to be? Do you share the same values and belief system? Discuss how you were each brought up and dive deep into the different experiences you might bring to the table. Talk about future experiences, traditions or values you’d like to pass on to your own children. And also the things you’d like to avoid entirely. Will one parent become a full-time stay-at-home parent? Will you need to plan and budget for a nanny or daycare?
5. Communication Styles
There are 4 main styles of communicating: passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive and assertive. Which category do you mostly fall into? Which does your partner? Are they complementary? How will you handle conflict resolution? What are some boundaries and rules you can set in place now to work towards healthier communication when conflict arises? Out of all the 10 important topics to discuss before getting married, I believe this one to be one of the most important. Where there’s love and respect; calm, open, honest and vulnerable communication will help you get through most anything.
6. Personal History
Have any secrets or skeletons? Best to lay them out on the table now – putting these conversations off is inviting future trouble into your marriage. Give yourselves the best chance for success by diving in and being vulnerable with one another. The healthiest of relationships are built on the backbones of open and honest communication. If you’ve had issues related to family, health, deep insecurities, alcohol or drug use, gambling or any criminal activity – it’s best to be upfront about these from the start. Shed light on your demons. A healthy relationship has vulnerability and trust.
7. Family and In-Laws
Generally speaking, when you marry someone you marry into their family as well – and vice versa. Having conversations around managing relationships, future obligations and how much interaction with each family is expected are all very important. How will you tackle the holidays? Are you embracing old traditions on one side, combining traditions from both or starting fresh with your own new traditions? How will vacations be managed or split up? Are you expected to have weekly dinners with family? How often do you expect to travel for family? Consider discussing potential future obligations surrounding caring for aging parents or other family members as well.
8. Daily Life and Household
What are your expectations as you merge your lives together? If you haven’t already been living together, what routines or standards are you accustomed to? Discuss how house chores will be handled. Will you split them between yourselves? Hire full-time help or part-time help? What level of cleanliness and organization are you expecting/used to? Do you have set work hours? Are you home every evening at a certain time? How will you tackle groceries and meal planning on a general basis?
9. Property and Inheritance
If you don’t already own property, how will future assets or investments be considered? If you do, it’d be a smart idea to discuss what that will look like legally. Are one or both parties bringing substantial property (or money) into the marriage? If so, perhaps a prenup would be worth discussing. Are either of you lined up to inherit anything substantial? What would that look like?
10. Love Languages
How do you give love? And how do you like to receive love? Learning this about yourself is important, and learning this about your partner is equally as important. You may find that your love languages are very different – but understanding your differences will help you better show up for one another and “communicate” in a language you each understand and are more excited to receive. Haven’t learned about your Love Language yet? Take the free quiz HERE!
That’s 10! I hope you’ve enjoyed these 10 important topics to discuss before getting married!
Life is wildly unpredictable and there is no possible way to know in advance or be fully prepared for all of the conversations, obstacles and issues you’ll have to face together. But, by starting with these foundational topics, you can at least help set yourself up for success in the long run. Instead of assuming that you and your partner are in sync and on the same page, dive into these topics and give yourself a more solidified and firmer foundation to start building this new chapter of life on together. There will be enough hardship and obstacles to overcome as is. Being on the same page as you launch into this journey together can only help to continue building something stronger, healthier and more beautiful in the future.
Of the 10 important topics to discuss before getting married, I’d love to know which topic YOU think is most important to discuss! Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts!