What to know before you get engaged

What to know before you get engaged

Getting married is a big step. When you enter into a union with someone, you promise to be with them, for better of for worse, for the rest of your lives. Unfortunately, almost of half of marriages today end in divorce.

Marriage is hard, and many walk into it not understanding that reality. While you cannot always be 100% ready, there are many things you can do to prepare yourself for this new life you plan to enter. If you’re thinking of getting engaged, make sure you know these things about your partner beforehand.

Financial situation and spending habits:

Money is a major stress in relationships. Ideally, you need to have a general idea of your significant others financial situation before getting engaged. If someone is in debt or has bad credit, that could impact their partner in the future. You should ideally also know your partners spending habits, so that you’re on the same page about budgeting. This will particularly come in handy when you start planning your wedding.

How you feel about kids:

This is the all-important question. As much as many people dream of one day being a parent, there are others who don’t. Wanting or not wanting kids is an important conversation to have with your partner and can cause big problems in your marriage if you’re not on the same page. If you do want kids, also make sure to discuss how many you want, how you would want them to be raised and the kind of parent you want to be.

Religion/faith/belief systems:

The topic of religion can sometimes be tricky. Whether you’re Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, or Athiest, the important thing is that your partner knows about your belief system. Its not the particular faith system that is of importance, just how that will impact your relationship. For example, if you follow different faiths and want children, which faith will you raise them in? Will someone be expected to convert?

Their beliefs can also shape how they see things in the world and their stance on issues such as abortion, same-sex relationships, and gender roles. If these causes are important to you and your partner feels differently, that could cause big issues. While you don’t have to agree, you do have to be tolerant of each others beliefs.

Living habits:

If you don’t already live together, you might be in for a shock when you do join homes. It is important to know each others living habits beforehand to prevent future issues. What if your partner loves having people around all the time but you enjoy solitude? Or they’re neat and cannot leave the house in the morning if it’s in a mess while you’re more of a ‘I’ll clean it later’ type of person? Small issues like these can grow into massive arguments if you’re not aware of them beforehand and have established a middle ground.

Love languages:

Love is about more than just lust. It’s about making your partner feel seen. Your love language, or how you express love towards others, can cause issues if your partner cannot identify it. If your love is shown through physical affection but your partners is words of affirmation, they could feel overwhelmed by your constant PDA and long for you to use your words more than your body. When you understand each others love language, you understand the meaning behind each others actions, making your actions that much more impactful.

How to effectively communicate:

Communication is the cornerstone of any successful relationship. If you cannot speak and listen to each other well, your relationship will be fraught with issues.  Fore example, If your partner bottles their feelings, that could cause them to build up resentment towards you because they cannot effectively communicate their needs. You, in turn, could end up feeling guilty about something you didn’t even know was an issue. You need to know how to discuss and resolve conflicts in a healthy way that won’t exacerbate issues.

Family and friend dynamics:

Hopefully, if you’re at the point of getting engaged, you’ve met your significant others’ family and friends. These people have known your partner longer than you, and can thus give you greater insights that you might not have known.

While you might be used to your specific family dynamic, your partner might have a completely different one. For example, if you’re family is the overbearing type, your partner needs to be prepared for them most likely having lots of opinions on your marriage. Understanding family dynamics will allow you to place boundaries on what is acceptable behaviour and what isn’t, making family gatherings much easier.

Your goals for the future:

While we can’t predict the future, we can be honest about our desires. If you have specific goals that could make considerable changes to your life, your partner needs to be aware of them. Popular grounds for divorce is that couples want different things. What if you’ve got dreams of relocating to the city while your partner wants a quiet life in the suburbs? Or you want to be a career woman but your partner expects you to become a stay-at-home mom? These differences in life goals can breed resentment if not discussed beforehand in a healthy manner.

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