I stumbled upon a preview of a book online years ago. I can’t remember the exact name but I remember the book made a huge impression on me. It was about the questions to ask before you get married and boy, were there A LOT of questions – almost or just about a hundred. The author made a very good point that before getting married, it is very important to discuss pretty much everything from the mundane to the super important. One example was that she said it was important to decide who takes out the trash at night! I know! And for most of you in Nigeria, you know nothing about that! Lol. She talked about the importance of discussing finances (of course) and a host of other things. Her point was simple. She said people make way too many assumptions before marriage and these assumptions usually put a strain on the relationship later in marriage. Makes PERFECT sense to me. I really need to go look for that book and buy it!
Anyways, so how much is too much to talk about before you get married? I told you guys about three sentences I came across in another book and how completing those sentences with your spouse-to-be could be very eye-opening as you might be pleasantly or unpleasantly surprised by the responses. The sentences are:
- A wife is…
- A husband is…
- A marriage is…
Try completing these sentences with your fiancé/fiancée and then compare notes. That would certainly reveal a lot. Now, aside from completing these sentences, what other things should you discuss to ensure that to a reasonable degree you both are on the same page? Some that come to my mind are:
- Finances: How much do you share about this? Do you disclose how much you each make? In the book, the author said one important thing to talk about is how much you’re both making now and how much you intend to make in a specified number of years, say 5, and how you intend to use those funds then. Brilliant!
- Children: Do you want children? How many? When? How much space between each child? What kind of values will you teach them? Where will they go to school? The number of things you should talk about is long!
- Values: This should probably be the first thing you talk about. Do you share the same values, which I think would only make sense, but if you don’t, how do you intend to accommodate the differences? What set of values will you teach your children? What will be the governing values in your home?
- Personal Interests: How will you accommodate and support each other’s goals and dreams? You can’t assume this will just fall into place because if you don’t discuss it, it won’t.
- Living Arrangements: Where will you live? This one is a “duh” question but it gets deeper. Who cooks? Who cleans? What will the shared responsibilities be? Who will handle certain responsibilities single-handedly?
- In-laws and Extended Family: What will be the governing rule regarding in-laws and extended family? Can they come over to stay? For how long? Will you give family members money? What will be the rules regarding that? Where and with whom will you spend holidays?
- Disclosure of Information: How much information will you disclose and share with family members? What kind information is off-limits to family members?
There will be so many things to discuss and looking at the list above, which is NOT exhaustive, can be intimidating and stressful but these things MUST be discussed in my opinion over a period of time. Going into marriage without some pre-agreed ground rules is a recipe for wahala a.k.a. trouble as I’m sure the married folk would agree.
What say ye? Please feel free to add to this list…