Well, it finally happened: you got engaged! Now what? You’ll start planning the wedding, of course. But the mistake couples tend to make at this stage is diving right into wedding planning and never looking back. Suddenly every single conversation revolves around the upcoming wedding, and there’s no room left for continuing to learn about each other.
The engagement period is obviously the time for you to plan your big day, but it’s also important to continue to have conversations with your future spouse. It may even be the most essential time to be talking and making sure you are both on the same page so you can go into your marriage in the best way.
If you are currently engaged or think you may be soon, here are the top four essential conversations to have with your partner when preparing for marriage. Taking the time to talk through these topics during your engagement period can greatly benefit your marriage.
The financial aspect of marriage is one that can make or break your relationship, depending on how you handle it. Setting expectations for how you and your spouse will handle finances is super important, especially before you even get married. Since money is the thing couples fight over the most, it’s never too early to start discussing your expectations about money in marriage.
A great starting point for talking about money is to find out what financial languages you and your partner speak. When you are both educated on your financial languages, you can better understand the way each other views money. When you keep in mind where your partner is coming from regarding their financial tendencies, it’s so much easier to have compassion instead of being resentful.
Other things to consider include: having separate or joint accounts, how you want to budget, how you will spend any disposable income, and how you will communicate to each other about spending. Talking through things will help prevent many unwanted surprises later on.
By this point in your relationship, you probably have a pretty good idea of what your partner’s values are. Things like religion, politics, and family matters are topics that most people discuss early on in the relationship. Even so, it can be helpful to continue to talk about different life values that you may or may not share.
If you don’t know what exactly to discuss, the Lovewick app is a great resource for your conversations. There are six categories of questions to ask each other: Affection & Sex, Beliefs & Values, Family & Home, Interests & Favorites, Personality & Habits, and Work & Money. So there is really a category for every aspect of life!
The Lovewick app can be especially helpful if you think you’ve discussed everything about your values. Specific questions from the app can allow you to continue important conversations with your future spouse.
Related read: Are you addicted to love?
Family, whether the one you were born into or the one you create with your partner, is a huge part of most marriages. The family aspect may seem pretty straightforward, but there are several things that are good to discuss before marriage. Even if you both seem to get along with each other’s family, it can still be beneficial to talk about things like boundaries.
When it comes to both of your extended families, some good things to talk through are how often you will want to visit them and where you will be spending holidays. In marriage, you will eventually have to discuss this when the time comes, but it’s much more ideal to already have talked and set expectations beforehand. Having a game plan for how you will split up holiday visits (or whether you will at all) will make the season much less stressful for everyone. The same goes with discussing boundaries, like are you okay with your in-laws randomly popping in, and how will you and your spouse respond to situations like that as a team?
The other aspect of family to discuss is whether or not you want to have children. And if the answer is yes from both of you, next is discussing your ideal timeline for starting a family. If one or both of you already has children, then your conversation will be more focused on blending families and what that will look like.
Dreams and goals can be very personal, so because of this, some couples may not think to intentionally share their dreams with each other. If you’ve been with your partner for so long that you feel like you know everything about each other, it can become easy to stop sharing things like your dreams for the future.
It is so important to dream together as a couple, whether it be the goals you have for your life together or more personal dreams you have for yourself. Whatever dreams or goals you have, being able to freely share them with your partner helps your bond grow stronger. The time you are engaged is a very apt time to start dreaming of your future together.
Having conversations about your goals while engaged will put you and your partner on the same page about what you want for the future. This way, you can walk into your marriage knowing what you both desire and feeling safe to continue to share your aspirations as the months and years go on. Whether your goals involve starting a family, making a career change, or something else, sharing them with your future spouse will be very beneficial.
Once you realize the engagement period isn’t just a time for planning the wedding, you can really start to prepare for your marriage, too. Setting expectations and having constant communication are vital aspects of marriage, and it’s not too early to begin!
If the idea of a prenuptial agreement is something you want to discuss during your engagement, there is very helpful information on our FAQ page. Not sure how to bring up the idea? Read about how best to discuss the benefits of a prenup here.
Julia Rodgers is HelloPrenup’s CEO and Co-Founder. She is a Massachusetts family law attorney and true believer in the value of prenuptial agreements. HelloPrenup was created with the goal of automating the prenup process, making it more collaborative, time efficient and cost effective. Julia believes that a healthy marriage is one in which couples can openly communicate about finances and life goals. You can read more about us here Questions? Reach out to Julia directly at [email protected].