There’s nothing quite like falling in love. From the butterflies of first dates to meeting each other’s families, making new memories, and sharing the same interests, finally clicking with a person is a great feeling. However, when it comes to relationships, at times things can get complicated and certain discussions can be difficult.
Aside from the honeymoon stage and special moments you share, relationships are not as simple as we’d hope. As much as we want to avoid difficult conversations, you and your partner should sit down and discuss each other’s future visions for what a life together looks like. Financial standings, living situations, family planning, and communication styles are topics you should discuss before making a life-long commitment to each other. Below is a helpful guide on what to discuss before getting engaged.
Money can make or break your relationship. Before getting engaged, it’s crucial to learn how to talk about money together. Although finances can be an uncomfortable conversation, it’s better to know about each other’s situation now rather than later. Do you have debt? Will my debt become yours? The last thing you want is to be surprised when you realize your partner has been hiding a hefty amount of credit card or student loan debt. What are your spending habits? Does your partner tend to go shopping often and splurge on expensive items? Although you don’t need to tell your partner about every little purchase, you should still be on the same page on spending and saving money. Creating a budget as a couple will help you both save and prepare for your future. How will you pay for the wedding? The cost of a wedding can add up fast with the venue, catering, and attire expenses. A budget will help you save money for your wedding by allocating a chunk each month to a wedding fund.
Do you plan to combine your money and savings? If you’re not ready to join bank accounts, no worries. There’s nothing wrong with holding off on combining your money as long as you both are okay with separate bank accounts. However, try splitting expenses evenly, so no one feels like they are pulling all the weight.
If you and your partner don’t already live together, figuring out your living situation is a huge factor to consider before getting engaged. Sit down and discuss whether you’d be interested in finding an apartment together or buying a home. If you currently live together but are willing to find a new place to move to, figure out a mutually desired location. Neighborhoods, school districts, job locations, and nearby things to do are all important aspects to consider when asking one another’s location preferences. If you disagree on a location to move to, decide whether that is something you can compromise or not.
If you’re considering buying a new home together, start by asking yourselves, “how much house can we afford?” Before creating a wishlist of characteristics you’d like your new home to have, you should establish a realistic price range. To find your home buying price range, combine your yearly incomes, ideal location, monthly debts, and how much of a down payment and closing cost you’re willing to pay into a mortgage calculator. This information will tell you how much of a loan you qualify for. Just because you may not plan to buy a home together right away, planning for the future together is always beneficial so you both are on the same page. Buying a home can be costly, so saving up for the big purchase and waiting until after your wedding is still acceptable, just make sure you both communicate as much as possible.
Having a family is a dream for many people, but not for everyone. Before getting married, having an open and honest discussion about whether kids are in your future is crucial. If you both want to have children someday, parenting styles, logistics, and financially caring for a baby are things you and your partner must discuss. Children can be expensive, so it’s crucial to learn as much as possible about how to afford and take care of a child.
If you’re planning on having kids, how many do you want? If there are infertility problems, are you open to adoption? Do you prefer to raise them in a certain religion? If your partner is not open to having kids, are you willing to give up becoming a parent someday? When asking these tough questions or vice versa, don’t just say what you think your partner wants to hear. It’s better to express your thoughts and feelings now, rather than having to deal with the conflict after marriage.
Lastly, figuring out how to communicate with your partner will be a life to savor when married. Learn how your partner deals with conflict, problems, or stress, so you know how to handle situations without offending or hurting them. Do you prefer alone time? Are you confrontational? Do you tend to bottle up your feelings? How was your childhood upbringing? Do you plan to tell each other everything? Deep conversations will allow you to open up to one another and leave behind any hard feelings or issues you might’ve been holding back. Spending forever with someone is a huge commitment, and the last thing you want is to marry someone who hides secrets from you or doesn’t take your wants or feelings into consideration. Along with the conversations above, there are many discussions you and your partner need to have before moving on to the next step in your relationship. Set goals and don’t forget you both are on the same team. If forever is meant to be, then you’ll find a way to get there. Just remember that relationships take time, so th