You’re in love, wearing rose-colored glasses, ready to marry, busy with wedding planning. It’s an exciting time. Relish being engaged, it’s a special phase that you won’t have again.
I’ve noticed from my work with premarital couples that there may be topics that you haven’t discussed yet, and it’s a good idea to do so before the wedding.
Each family has topics that are taboo; that may be overt or covert (.i.e., you were told directly not to talk about money, for example, or a topic just was never talked about, such as sex).
Also, what seems “normal” to us is whatever we grew up with, whether or not it was healthy.
Topics to Discuss
I’m offering a partial list of topics for you to discuss. Add to it, based on your own experience.
1. What does it mean to be a wife? From her perspective? From his?
2. What does it mean to be a husband? From his perspective? From hers?
3. What did you learn from your family about being a husband or wife?
4. Who is supposed to do what? (In the home/outside the home.)
5. How are decisions made?
6. What does money mean to each of you? Who is supposed to earn it? What will money be spent on? Will you each have “mad money” to spend on whatever you choose?
7. Will you have children? How many? Who takes care of children? How do you feel about a nanny?
8. What do your extended families mean to you? How much time do you spend with them?
9. Would you allow your parents to live with you? For how long? Under what circumstances?
10. What struggles have you seen in married couples? How might you handle those struggles with your own partner?
11. How do power issues show up between you? How will you address them?
12. What is allowed to be talked about?
13. What is not supposed to be talked about?
14. What does sex mean to each of you? How often are you “supposed” to have sex? How do you talk about what works and what does not work for you sexually?
15. What is foreplay? When does it happen? Who initiates sex?
16. When and where do you vacation?
17. How is faith a part of your lives? Is it?
18. How will you face personal and/or professional challenges?
19. Would you move with your partner’s job?
20. How do you balance work/home life?
21. How do you keep devices from coming between you?
22. Do you have anxiety? What helps with it? What makes it worse?
23. How will you fit exercise and self-care in with a busy life?
24. Would you care for your aging parents? How much of your resources would you use for that?
25. Who in your life has died? How was that?
26. What are you excited about in getting married?
27. What are you afraid of in getting married?
28. How will you avoid the mistakes you saw your parents make?
29. How will you resolve fights?
30. How will you handle miscarriage?
31. What skills do you need for this lifelong journey? Do you have them?
32. Have you lived alone for a long time? What adjustments will you need to make?
33. . . . And so forth
Remember, marriage is learning and work, as well as lovely; do it together. You might think of your marriage as you do taking your car in for preventive maintenance and repair: If you do, your car will last a lot longer. If not, your engine might seize on the freeway!
And lastly, a toast: to a long, happy, personal-growth, inter-dependent, emotionally supportive, wonderful life. May you weather your struggles together, allowing them to bring you closer and stronger as a couple.
Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Woodside, Portola Valley, Los Altos, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Belmont, San Mateo, San Carlos, San Jose, Santa Clara, Campbell