What you need to know:
Couples are only really happy together when their expectations match pretty closely, and no, love will not make everything all right, as the rising divorce statistics prove.
Deciding to marry someone is a wonderful moment. But it’s also one of the riskiest decisions you can ever make. Couples are only really happy together when their expectations match pretty closely, so it’s strange how much courting couples take them for granted. It’s as if they assume that love will make everything all right.
Sadly, the divorce statistics prove otherwise. It may sound unromantic, but if you’re thinking about getting married, you need to ask each other a lot of questions.
For example, how well are you able to communicate? Do you feel heard and understood?
Being able to talk openly and honestly with each other about your feelings means you’ll cope with all the challenges that will inevitably come your way, while, if you can’t, then sooner or later, one of those challenges will tear you apart.
Do you share similar values and goals? Do you share the same basic beliefs? Do your goals complement one another?
Do you have compatible lifestyles? Are your daily routines and habits compatible? Or is one of you fastidious while the other’s totally laid back? Or one of you is a planner, while the other is spontaneous? Can you live with your differences?
How do you handle your money? Are you on the same page regarding your spending and saving habits? What are your long-term financial goals? Questions like that can make or break your future together.
Do you have similar expectations around starting a family? Do you agree on whether or not you want children? And if you do, how many? What do you think your parenting styles will be? Will you cope with the differences?
What are your expectations regarding roles and responsibilities? Who will take the lead in childrearing and chores? Do your career aspirations match? Can you make difficult decisions together?
How well do you manage conflict? Can you handle your disagreements constructively? Arguments are inevitable, so how well do you handle them? Do either of you get angry? Or sulk?
What are your strengths and weaknesses? Your partner’s? Do they match so you’re a stronger team?
Are you sexually compatible? Physical attraction is not enough, you also need to understand each other’s needs, preferences and boundaries. Can you talk about intimacy?
Don’t shy away from conversations about your sex life, because even though they’re uncomfortable to begin with, being able to talk openly about sex will greatly improve your relationship.
Are you comfortable with each other’s ambitions? Can you discuss them openly and honestly? Do you foresee any difficulties in helping one another to achieve them? It’s crucial that neither of you ever feels held back by the other.
Do you understand and empathize with each other’s emotional needs? Are you able to confide freely with each other about them?
Open and honest communication, shared expectations, and the ability to work through challenges together are critical skills in marriage. Start laying their foundations long before your wedding day.