Marriage is a big step, one not to be taken lightly. Before making this commitment, its important to spend time with your partner to discuss major topics that could affect your future.
While love and mutual respect is considered the most important aspects of a relationship, there are many other external factors that could affect your journey. Making sure you and your partner are open and honest with each other about various topics will help alleviate future issues.
Here are some topics to bring up before your big day:
If you have debt, it is important that your partner knows about it and how much it is. South Africans automatically marry in community of property, which means that the estates of the married couple are combined and thus debt is inherited. Property and debts acquired prior to or during the marriage are shared equally in undivided shares (50%) and spouses are jointly liable to creditors.
Do you and your partner want children? If yes, how many? It is incredibly important to be on the same page with this, as bringing a child into the world is a major life decision that should not be made lightly. Some people don’t want to have kids at all, and it is unfair to persuade an unwilling partner to change their mind later on in life.
If your partner gets an amazing job or learning opportunity that requires relocation, how will you deal with that? Are you committed to moving with them or will you be long-distance?
While you and your partner do not need to practice the same religion, the core beliefs could cause conflict if they are incredibly different. For example, if one of you is Catholic and therefore oppose abortion while the other is pro-choice, this could be an issue in the future if an unwanted pregnancy were to occur.
Sex is a part of marriage, and when and how you choose to do it is an important discussion. Consent needs to be defined, and both partners must be aware that it is necessary every time you have sex as marital rape is illegal in the country. It is also important to have an open and honest conversation on sexual fantasies and expectations, so that partners feel comfortable expressing their desires.
Money is one of the major issues in a relationship. How will you pay for things once you are married? Will you split bills equally, or divide based on salaries? How will you save and spend your money?
This will impact on household duties and who does what in the relationship. For example, if one person believes women should do all the cooking and cleaning while the other believes the work should be equally divided, this could cause major resentment.
Boundaries with others
What is your partner comfortable with in regards to how you interact with people of the sex you are attracted to? For example, if they are the jealous type, you being touchy-feely with someone, even in a non-romantic way, might create tension with your partner. It is important to know what your partner’s boundaries are and to discuss it if it conflicts with your own.
Social media activity is also connected here. Some are more private than others, and don’t like to share details about their personal life on the internet while others post everything and anything.