It is often said that the number one cause of divorce, is marriage. It may not be addressed frequently enough, but setting the grounds for a strong marriage is understanding more about the person who you marry. Not just on a personal level, but in a deep understanding of who they are, how they like to spend their money, and how that is going to match with your particular ideas on these matters.
It’s better to know what you’re getting into beforehand. Not setting ground rules and responsibilities will not help along the way and it’s easier to tackle these subjects now that you are in a very loving stage and not later when you are annoyed, tired, or unsure if you want to stay in the marriage.
Being divorce lawyers, here are 5 questions you should definitely ask your partner before getting married. In order to understand your partner and to assure yourself that they are the right match for you.
Fundamental Questions You Should Ask Before Getting Married
Do You Have Debts? Can You Stick To A Budget? How Do You Normally Manage Money?
Talking about money is not the most pleasant thing in the world. It is no surprise many people try to avoid it at all costs, but it’s important to get to know your partner’s financial situation. Most importantly you’ll want to find out if your partner has credit card debt or college-related debts.
Even if debts acquired before getting married are considered separate, remember that they might affect you as a couple when you try to make large purchases or investments. So if you foresee buying a home together in the near future and want to apply for a mortgage, in order to move into your dream property, it’s critical to find out about your partner’s financial situation now. If your partner reveals that they have debts such as credit card debts, you may want to discuss creating a plan for them to pay off their debts sooner, rather than later.
It’s also important to know if your partner can stick to a budget, how much you will both contribute to the household, and or if any of you will not be working. For example, if you plan on starting a family soon after getting married, will one of you temporarily or permanently stop working in order to take care of your newborn baby?
It will be a tough conversation that will save you a lot of conflict in the future. As The Insider puts it bluntly:
“When couples have difficulty with money, it can lead to financial infidelity – out-of-control spending, lying, and hiding finances – which can destroy the relationship,”
We never think about this, but financial compatibility might be a very important factor in a marriage’s success. However, if you get this difficult talk out of the way early, you’ll soon learn whether you can work together when it comes to finances or if you are likely to get into arguments when it comes to discussing finances. As an example, you may get into arguments about how much of your monthly disposable income should be saved, invested, or used to pay off your shared mortgage.
Also, tread carefully if you find out that your partner has large credit card debts or a gambling addiction as your partner may require help overcoming their addiction or may continue to rack up debt or lose money gambling in the future.
Who Should Be Responsible For Getting The House Clean?
And not only that: how often should you clean the house? Can you both handle a little mess and for how long?
When partners come from different backgrounds, it’s normal they have an idea of how often they should clean and who should do it. However, starting your life together means that you should establish these settings again so that no one feels overwhelmed with the housework, or uncomfortable because it’s not clean enough.
If you don’t want to be stuck doing the vast majority of cleaning in your household and want to evenly share the distribution of household chores with your future spouse, it’s crucial to tell your partner your expectations before you get married. To ensure that you’re on the same page.
It’s a great idea to compromise and to discover a level of cleanliness that you’ll both be satisfied with. Do keep in mind that if your standards of cleanliness are stricter than your parents’, you should be willing to do a little extra cleaning to ensure that your shared home meets your standards of cleanliness.
Do You Want Kids? If So, When?
This might be a dealbreaker for a lot of couples out there. It’s a question you might not do when you start dating, however, it’s an important conversation before saying “I do”.
While in other aspects, it’s possible to make compromises, sadly this is not the case.
If you are both on the same track and you want to have children, it is also important to establish a timeline. Maybe you see it down the line and your partner feels like having them next year. If you both are clear that you would like to start a family together in the future but have different timelines when it comes to having a family, it’s worth being open to reaching a compromise.
For example, if you would like to try for your first child next year and your partner would prefer to start a family in 10 years, you may be able to reach a compromise where you’ll wait 4-6 years to start a family.
It’s also worth asking your partner how many kids they envisage having. As you may be incompatible with your partner if they have their heart set on having four or more children and you only want one or two children. In this scenario, it’s also worth exploring the option of a compromise. For example, if you want 1 child and your partner wants four children, you may both be happy having two kids.
Also, have a conversation about whether you are both comfortable going through IVF procedures or adopting children if you end up having trouble conceiving a child naturally. As while you may not have considered these options, it’s impossible to predict what your fertility journey as a couple may look like in the future.
How Much Are You Willing To Spend On Large Purchases?
Another financial issue you’ll have to figure out. Since you will be teaming up together to buy things like a mattress, furniture, a car, and even real estate you need to agree on how much you’ll be willing to spend on them. It’s also a good idea that you both have a clear picture of how much of your income you’d be able or willing to invest.
Most of all, you’ll need to agree and figure out a plan on what will happen if one of you ends up losing their income or another sort of crisis comes along your way. It’s time to figure out how much you’ll be saving up for emergencies as well. If you can’t see yourself supporting your partner if they lose their job in the future or can’t envisage your partner supporting you if you were made redundant, alarm bells should ring. As you should only marry someone who you can trust to take care of you during hard financial times and vice versa.
Some questions to ask include how much you would be prepared to spend on your first home together and what your plans are for future international vacations. You may even be able to gain a sense of your partner’s spending style by asking them where they would like to travel to for your honeymoon. As if your idea of the perfect honeymoon is camping in a nearby state and your partner wants to take a multi-country tour throughout Europe. It’s likely that your spending styles may differ greatly.
How Much Alone Time Do You Need To Be Happy?
No matter how much you love your partner, you’ll need some time for yourself every once in a while. It has nothing to do with not loving the other person, these are needs that every human being on the planet has.
However, many individuals make the mistake of assuming that their partner needs the same amount of alone time that they do. When in fact, the amount of alone time that each person requires in order to feel happy differs. As an example, an extrovert who gains energy from social interactions is likely to require less alone time, than an introvert who needs time to recharge after spending time with others.
It’s a good idea to have an idea of how much space your partner needs to be happy. Before your wedding day approaches, sit down and talk to your partner about how much alone time they would like and be open to discussing your needs when it comes to alone time. For example, you may tell your partner that you enjoy spending an hour per day alone reading in a hot bath or going to the gym. Or you may tell your partner that you still want to hang out with your friends, without them, once a week. The key is, to be honest about your expectations. So that there aren’t avoidable misunderstandings that could hurt your partner’s feelings or your feelings in the future.
Also, keep your partner’s preferences for personal space in mind, in the future. If they ask for alone time, consider whether they simply want a room to themselves, the whole house to themselves for a day, or a solo vacation? Remember, this does not mean your partner doesn’t want to spend time with you. It simply means that they need time for themselves.
Lastly, the amount of time that you both wish to spend alone, should influence the home that you live in together. For example, if you both appreciate a bit of alone time each day you may want to look for a home that boasts separate home offices that you’ll be able to retreat to when you want or need to be alone. Or you may want to opt for a home that offers two different lounge areas or a garden, that one of you can retreat to for some much-needed alone time.
Set Your Marriage For Success
So much of this groundwork will help consolidate the basis for your marriage. A lot of these conversations can be laid out through a prenup, a document that will grant you and your spouse security as you go through different phases as a couple. And it will also do so if you decide not to be in it as well.
Even if you plan to share joint-funds once you have tied the knot, you may want to protect the assets which you acquired before your marriage. So that if you ever end up filing for a divorce, you’ll be able to keep the assets that you brought into the marriage and split the assets which you acquired together after you signed your marriage certificate. Keep in mind that there are a wide variety of options that are available when it comes to having a prenup draw up and you’ll be able to have a custom prenup created that suits your specifications.