Getting engaged and planning your wedding is a time of extreme excitement. It’s also a time of stress, of course, and it’s a time to solidify your relationship. Before getting engaged, you probably already figured out if you want the same things in life, if your values align, if you trust each other, if you’re dog or cat people (or both, like me and my partner) and what your relationship deal-breakers are. You probably know the way your spouse-to-be votes and how they feel about politics and you’ve obviously met each other’s families.
Beyond all of the things you already know about your fiancé, however, is so much more. You might already be prepared to continue to learn new things about your beloved after getting married but, before that, you should probably sit down and have some important conversations. Recently, my fiancé and I sat down to do just that. After researching what questions to ask before getting married, I armed us with cookies and we settled in for an evening of talking about our long-term goals, our finances, our extended family and so much more. Here are the eight important conversations you should have with your partner before walking down the aisle.
Money Talk: How much debt do you/I have? Is my debt your debt and are you willing to bail me out? How financially compatible are we in terms of budgeting, saving money, paying off debt? What is the most you would want to spend on material goods like shoes, a car, a couch, versus experience goods like travel? Do we plan on buying a house someday and, if so, how are we going to save up and maintain our home? If there’s a financial crunch (car problems, medical bills, leaking pipes), what do we do?
This is often the most difficult conversation to have, which is precisely why it is also the most important one and the one I suggest starting out with. You’ve probably already fought over money with your partner and you might have even heard that financial problems is one of the leading causes of divorce. Well, what better way to prevent that than by discussing all of the details of your finances before tying the knot? It’s essential that both of you are completely honest with this one, in particular about how much debt you carry as individuals and as a couple. You’ll also want to discuss things like spending extra income on material goods, travel, and saving up for a new car or an eventual house (if you plan to buy one down the road).