Considerations Before Marriage

http://www.flickr.com/photos/shoken
http://www.flickr.com/photos/shoken

Considerations Before Marriage

I like to think of marriage as an intimate business partnership.  Before a partnership can be forged, there are many aspects that need to be discussed and many aspects that can be worked on as a team and as individuals.  The team aspects work to bond the partnership together while the individual aspects work to enable each person to maintain a sense of personal accomplishment and fulfillment.  The team can form a plan that details each person’s job description and the issue of work delegation, present, short-term and long-term financial plans, desire for and training of subordinates, and crisis intervention and acceptable solutions to any problems that may arise.  Each individual should then also form personal goals to be worked on outside of the partnership with respect to the other party, such as personal hobbies and interests, a desire for continuing education, or desired career development.  Do not feel selfish for focusing on yourself in the relationship.  Human beings are motivated by personal fulfillment and that fulfillment comes in many different forms for different people.  For example, I feel personal fulfillment when I complete a project regardless of recognition.  I actually prefer internal recognition to public recognition.  My husband, on the other hand, prefers public recognition and strives to achieve it by any means.  The same holds true in a relationship.  Each party is motivated by different situations and results.  If an individual is not fulfilled personally, he or she will not be able to maintain a healthy relationship.  Therefore, seek opportunities for personal fulfillment instead of simply forging a partnership with no personal identity. 

Who To Do What Chart http://www.flickr.com/photos/gideonstrauss
Who To Do What Chart http://www.flickr.com/photos/gideonstrauss

Expectations

Before a couple gets married, they must first discuss the team aspects of the relationship.  The most important topic is the job description and work delegation plan.  The couple must determine who will work outside of the home if not both parties, who will be responsible for household chores, who will be responsible for ensuring financial obligations are taken care of, and who will be responsible for social aspects of the partnership.  Some couples like to split the tasks evenly while other couples prefer to take the “whoever finds it first” approach.  Both are fine so long as both parties agree to the method.  My husband and I decided he would work fulltime while I stayed home with the children until they are in school.  I am responsible for school activities, transportation to and from extracurricular activities, homework, and play dates.  My husband is responsible for maintaining medical coverage on the family and paying the household bills (which consists of writing the checks and balancing the checkbook – he is nicknamed Rain Man after all).  Taking care of tasks physically located inside the house is my responsibility while taking care of tasks physically located outside of the house falls to my husband.  We split tasks evenly, but differently.  While it works well for my husband and me, I do realize most couples have both parties working outside of the home, especially before and at the beginning of a marriage.  In those cases, I recommend splitting the tasks evenly or taking turns with different tasks so one person does not become overwhelmed.  The “whoever finds it first” approach leaves too much room for one person to slack off on tasks by pretending to never see them.  

http://www.flickr.com/photos/cheesepicklescheese
http://www.flickr.com/photos/cheesepicklescheese

Money Matters

Financial plans are also important for a couple to discuss before getting married.  Each person on the team needs to disclose all current debt, financial standing at present, and financial aspirations for the future.  Some people are fine with just scraping by in life while others prefer to stockpile for the dreaded rainy day.  Similarly, some people will incur debt in an instant without a second thought while others pay off credit cards each month so as not to accrue interest.  Financial issues are the main cause of divorces and getting a handle on them before marriage can save a couple a lot of heartache.  Even if you and your to-be spouse do not agree completely on financial issues do not give up on the wedding.  Try to reach a compromise that each of you can tolerate such as paying down large debts before a wedding, eliminating excessive frivolous spending, or starting a savings account that will receive a set deposit each month.  Also discuss whether you would like to continually improve your financial standing or whether you are comfortable making the same money year after year, living in the same house for an extended amount of time, and driving the same vehicle into the ground before purchasing a new one.  Some people love to collect items and others tend to be minimalists.   

http://www.flickr.com/photos/29278394@N00
http://www.flickr.com/photos/29278394@N00

Expanding the Family

Also before marriage, determine whether or not each of you wants children in the future.  When you take your stance on this topic, be sure you are making the proper decision.  I once knew a woman who married someone who did not want children ever.  She was fine with that because she did not want children either.  Fast forward ten years and the couple is divorced because the woman decided she did indeed want children but the man had not changed his mind on the matter.  If you and your partner decide not to have children, create a list of reasons why and hold onto it.  Whenever you are tempted to change your mind, read over the list and remember your reasoning.  If you and your partner do indeed want children you should discuss a number.  Some people have dreams of 4 or 5 children while others only ever want one.  Also determine if the children will go to daycare, stay home with one of the parents, or stay with Grandma during work hours.  Other considerations for children are a preferred religion if you don’t practice the same one, acceptable discipline methods, and amounts of expected involvement for each partner.  In this day and age, most men are very involved in their children’s lives and I think that is fantastic.  However, I’m sure there are still men out there somewhere who would prefer to play the role of the ‘fun guy’ as opposed to dealing with baths, stories, head lice, homework, and toilet training. 

Take it from soneone who has experienced it.  Divorce is heartbreaking, no matter who made the decision.  Do what you can to repair the relationship and do not choose a divorce without exhausting all other options.  Image retrieved from  http://www.f
Take it from soneone who has experienced it. Divorce is heartbreaking, no matter who made the decision. Do what you can to repair the relationship and do not choose a divorce without exhausting all other options. Image retrieved from http://www.f

Crisis Intervention Techniques

Crisis intervention techniques are those techniques that help heal a marriage after troubles, progress a relationship, and deter future problems – such as marriage counseling, marriage retreats, and individual “vacations” to allow for a timeout to recharge.  A crisis can be anything from an affair to a silly argument over where to host your child’s next birthday bash.  When you live with someone and see that person every day arguments are bound to arise.  Before getting married, a couple should set a crisis intervention plan in place to prevent arguments from spiraling out of control and leading to that ugly “D” word – divorce.  Decide whether marriage counseling is a valid option and whether or not one party has the right to ask the other party to participate.  Some people are very against marriage counseling but leave the other person free to attend alone if he or she thinks it is necessary.  Also decide what infractions are grounds for a divorce and some acceptable solutions to other common problems that are not divorce material.  Set the rules for your marriage immediately.  Is the relationship going to be an open one or do you want loyalty and devotion?  Is spanking a child grounds for separation or is it permissible now and again?  Is it alright to go out to bars every night without your partner?  These are things that need to be discussed before saying any vows of forever.

Love Yourself Too

Don’t forget to be a little selfish too.  You need to maintain your sense of self.  Do not accept simply being “Ted’s Wife” or “Sally’s Husband”.  Keep your sense of identity by participating in your favorite sports, spending time with your friends, and pursuing your interests.  Remember to think of yourself and love yourself so you are able to love others.    

http://www.flickr.com/photos/makelessnoise
http://www.flickr.com/photos/makelessnoise

Everything listed may seem pretty involved and somewhat common sense, but I would love to see divorce rates decrease in the years to come.  And don’t worry if you forget to discuss something or if it doesn’t come up until after the partnership is already made legal.  As long as you and your partner acknowledge that marriage requires a lot of hard work and that some days will be better than others, you will be able to overcome many obstacles together.      

                       

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Comments 46 comments

Bardie 7 years ago

This is great advice but unfortunately most of us don't think of these things until after we've suffered a bad relationship. It took me three times before I learned! I hope a lot of single people out there read this.


Ardie profile image

Ardie 7 years ago from Neverland Author

Hi Bardie and thanks for stopping in :) I hope a lot of single people read this too. They can learn from my mistakes because it took me two marriages to realize all the above. And this will be advice I will give to all three of my daughters one day, too. And who knows, maybe by then I'll have learned even more :)


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks

Ardie, great hub. You covered a lot of ground, and I hope this will be of help to the people considering marriage who read this. I used to do divorces, and most of the time the thing that led to the divorce was something the parties were aware of before they married, only they somehow thought they could overlook it or it would eventually just go away.

I'd like to also suggest that marriage isn't for everyone. You can control what you do, but you can never be responsible for what someone else does. The only way to be absolutely sure that you will never be divorced is never to marry. This is the path I've taken, and it works well for me.


Ardie profile image

Ardie 7 years ago from Neverland Author

Hello Aya and thank you for visiting. I had no idea you once did divorces, so your advice is more than welcome here! It makes sense that many people were aware of the thing that ended their marriage but chose to ignore it anyways. Eventually, that 'thing' will still be there when the excitement of a courtship and then an engagement and a wedding are gone. Im glad you have found happiness in your method. The truest statement I've ever read is yours that "The only way to to be absolutely sure that you will never be divorced is never to marry." :)


Lgali profile image

Lgali 7 years ago

I think Money Matters is imporatnt for all relations


Ardie profile image

Ardie 7 years ago from Neverland Author

Hello Lgali, you are right. Money matters should be discussed at some point in time for all relationships, not just those heading towards marriage. Thank you for the reminder :) Today's times accept all sorts of relationships, whether homosexual, just live-ins, or long term couplehood with separate dwellings people should look into financial expectations and standards.


jjrubio 7 years ago

Beautiful Hub! Yes its true we should all think like that however as BARDIE brought out most of us don't realize this till we are burned.... I wish everyone was more practical and wise going in the relationships/marriage instead of blind. GOOD HUB


Ardie profile image

Ardie 7 years ago from Neverland Author

Thank you very much jjrubio! Bardie has a good reason for being so wise - she is my Mum! :) I agree with what you said, I wish I would have been more practical and listened to my mind instead of my heart about my first marriage.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

Hi Ardie! This hub is packed with good, sound advice for people getting married, or married couples who want to redefine their relationship. Change can be good! Especially if one or the other has started to drift, which happens easily.

I would truly recommend the article for all marriage-minded folks! Thanks for writing it.


Ardie profile image

Ardie 7 years ago from Neverland Author

Wow...Im all a-fluster now! I got a comment from my fave cowboy!! Im just kidding, thank you for the wonderful comments Christoph. You are right that change can be good. I never thought of this article in terms of a marriage that may be drifting apart too. But the considerations and some conversation could help put a marriage back on track. Just because people grow apart in a marriage doesn't mean they cant grow back together ;)


markeissmith 7 years ago

you go


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

I tend to think a lot of these things just evolve successfully.


Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

yes I definitely agree with this list, as sometimes love is not enough specially when you begin co-habiting - you get blindsided by problems you never thought would be a problem. Thanks for sharing :D


RGraf profile image

RGraf 7 years ago from Wisconsin

If only we took marriage as seriously as we take other things. It is not something to enter casually into.

thanks for the info. I hope some who read it actually implement the good advice.


Ardie profile image

Ardie 7 years ago from Neverland Author

Hi LondonGirl, I appreciate your comment, but I don't agree with it. If the above things took place naturally, divorce rates would be much lower. If you are one of the few that the things evolved naturally for, congratulations!

CrisA, nice to see you! I agree that love often is not enough. Even though you love someone, he or she may not be right for you in the long term. I think living together before marriage can be a good thing - that way you don't have all the legal ramifications to deal with if you decide you want out.

Hi RGraf, thanks for stopping in :) I hope someone reads this and will take the advice too. Unfortunately, I learned the above by trial and error.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

Yes, please always be yourself, keep yourself, and honor yourself!

Thanks for this!


Ardie profile image

Ardie 7 years ago from Neverland Author

Precisely, BK! You have successfully summed up my long-winded article in one great sentence :D


prettysmartjean08 profile image

prettysmartjean08 7 years ago

Nice article Ardie :-) Good guide perhaps for those who have experienced failed marriage or unpleasant relationship and planning to get into it again :-( .... [I've bookmarked this though ;-) ]


Money Glitch profile image

Money Glitch 6 years ago from Texas

This is great advice! It is too bad that many people still have the notion that their love is a special love that will last forever. Isn't it sad that those of us that know better can not save them from the painful discovery that marriage takes good communication and two people striving daily to make it work. :(


jaiome 6 years ago

its good but i don't think i want 2 get married but if there is an option towards me and the girl then i would make it up 2 it


Haunty profile image

Haunty 4 years ago from Hungary

This is the most level-headed approach I've ever heard of! I think the core of this is that the partners should have the same set of base values. You don't have to worry about what your spouse is doing if you know that loyalty and honesty are among his or her core values.

For me the single most important thing in a relationship is respect for your partner. If you can't have respect for them and their model of the world, don't be in a relationship with them.

Of course, there is the other side of this that it all comes down to chemistry. You can plan all you want, and I firmly believe that you should, and you still can't be sure whether your partner will love someone else six months down the line.

I've heard of a role-based approach wherein an individual is trying to do their best in every role they hold on a day-to-day basis. For instance, you can be a husband, a father, a businessman, a baseball fan, etc, and at the end of the day you need to ask yourself if you are satisfied with what you accomplished in regard to these roles that particular day.

Also, there is such a thing as a family constitution similar to the constitution of the US, wherein you write the goals and values of the family in a neat fashion, and you hang it on your wall. This way you can always check how your actions and behaviors measure up against the commitment that you made to your family. An this can be tweaked.


Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland Author

Thanks Haunty, can you tell I wrote this while I was still taking my business classes?! Hahah, I can't believe I compared marriage to a business partnership :) But as I read it again and realize how much my own marriage has changed in the last 3 years I realize what I need to do to fix the problems. Passion is great but it doesn't sustain a marriage. And you are right - you never know what will distract the other person. It all comes back to that respect. If you respect the other person you wont stray. But what do you think happens when your partner abuses that respect and damages it? Can it be built again?

I love the idea behind the role-based approach. Im going to make my own list of roles to start asking myself if Im happy with what I accomplished in each goal daily. If I find an area where Im not happy - I know where to improve!


Haunty profile image

Haunty 4 years ago from Hungary

Well... when I read your hub I was thinking it's really awesome(!) because I'd love for young people to think that way before entering a marriage. I was also thinking what a rigorous approach! I know you employ common sense more often than not, but I didn't see this coming at all. :) I think it takes a LOT to keep all this up that's why we need reminders. This hub is a great reminder.

Abused respect is such a sensitive area. I had a fair share of it and so I decided I was not going to drive myself crazy over it. I just think that we are only human, make mistakes, and ultimately for most of us the most important person in the world is ourselves. So when someone abuses the respect that I have for them, I will give a second chance. I will let them know that it is the second chance, and then I walk.


Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland Author

Maybe that's all it was - a day when I wanted divorces to stop and young people to learn from my mistakes. Im very straight forward and ALL common sense in my marriage. I refuse to be any other way - divorce hurts and I will NOT do it again. My husband and I agree that neither one of us will get out alive ;) Hows that for sweetness?? We always joke and say "'til death do us part."

I love second chances. They give you space and time to make yourself a better person. Don't forget to give yourself a second chance too, though.


Haunty profile image

Haunty 4 years ago from Hungary

That's really cool on your part. No one ever fights for their relationships any more. Everyone is after instant gratification. But how satisfying will that be in the end that you never really tried to make yourself a better person? You are doing the right thing. I'm so jealous! :)

As for me, after about 2 and a half years of truly self-destructive behavior, I want to believe that there is a tomorrow. Even for me.


Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland Author

I don't think I understand your statement "But how satisfying will that be in the end that you never really tried to make yourself a better person?" I constantly try to make myself a better person in all aspects of my life. A better mom, a better wife, and a better friend, a better daughter...

There is always tomorrow unless you take that away from yourself - and then that would just be stupid ;) I hope you've learned your lesson and backed off the self-destructive behavior now.


Haunty profile image

Haunty 4 years ago from Hungary

Oh, I wasn't talking about you when I said that. I was talking in general. I often use the pronoun 'you' to talk in general. Maybe I should say 'one'. And I know you are working on all aspects of life including your marriage, and that's why I said you were doing great. Sorry, if that came out wrong. :)


Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland Author

No prob Bob - I was the one who misunderstood, not you! I also use the general 'you' a lot.


LearnFromMe profile image

LearnFromMe 4 years ago

Ardie, this hub really encapsulates the advice I tend to give about marriage: marriage is a full-time job that requires cooperation and dedication from both partners. Well done. Voted up and sharing!


Haunty profile image

Haunty 4 years ago from Hungary

Ok. I'm glad to hear that. See ya later alligator.


Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland Author

LearnFromMe, I really like your name :) Marriage is indeed a full-time job that requires hard work from both people. I think many enter marriage thinking compatibility and desire will last forever...it doesn't. People change, the marriage may change, and it takes work to keep it all together - especially when you add kids in the mix! Thanks for the vote.


Aceblogs profile image

Aceblogs 4 years ago from India

Well money now plays and essential role in all relations. But if true love is there then anything and everything can be overshadowed !


Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland Author

Hi Aceblogs, you are right - true love can prevail. But not having financial means can sure put stress on a relationship. I've seen many relationships fail due to money problems and yet I've also seen many strengthen because of money problems.


Robert Erich profile image

Robert Erich 4 years ago from California

Ardie! This is an AWESOME blog (and I tagged it that way). While my current girlfriend and I have a lot of fun together, some of these issues could create serious discussions. Definitely several things we should talk about if things are to progress.

Thank you for sharing and I will be referring to this article frequently.


Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland Author

Robert, Im so HAPPY to hear this may help you and your girlfriend! When I wrote this my goal was to help at least one young couple avoid the problems I ran into and had to fight through. Thank you!!


tjml profile image

tjml 4 years ago

Ardie! you are right. Discussing this type of things before marriage is very necessary for an everlasting relation and a joyful life.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

Marriage certainly isn't a bed of roses, let alone a paradise garden. It probably never was. Even when there was Eden, the legendary couple apparently failed to accommodate and got driven out.


Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland Author

Tjml, thanks for stopping in. I love the keywords you used...everlasting and joyful. That's what love and life are all about!

Vinaya, always good to see you. I think a lot of people fail to realize just how much time and energy goes into a marriage. Love isn't enough without all the other aspects including respect, understanding, compassion, and devotion.


Rolly A Chabot profile image

Rolly A Chabot 4 years ago from Alberta Canada

Success in any relationship marriage or otherwise is allowing each other to be yourself. Never allowing anyone to steal your identity is something that has been forgotten about and lost over the last few years.

Good advice here Ardie and very well written.

Hugs from Canada


Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland Author

Hello Rolly :) Wow, this is such an old piece. I had to read it again just to refresh my memory! I do know I wrote it from my heart...the words are all true and honest.

You offer a VERY sound piece of advice here. I think too many married couples try to become one person - an entity - and that just cant happen. For the marriage to work BOTH personalities must be present and create a balance. Thank you for adding your take. I hope people read these comments and see that :)


lovedoctor926 4 years ago

This is very good advice and a must read for everyone. Voted up!


Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland Author

Hello lovedoc and thanks! I appreciate the read and vote =)


Collisa profile image

Collisa 4 years ago from California

Lots of wisdom here. I enjoyed reading this hub. I especially like your exhortation to do everything possible to prevent divorce.


Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland Author

Hello Collisa, thank you so much for reading. Divorce is NEVER the easy way out of a marriage although sometimes is is necessary. Im glad you liked this Hub


jaydene profile image

jaydene 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

lots of very good points, it reads like a legal document, almost and made me smile. I do agree, and know the idea of marriage has changed a lot, and means somethig different for each party. Getting the details down in this fashion is a sure way to get the expectations out, and anyone who does not run away from all the little details, will probably consider marriage . :)

Great Hub .....


Ardie profile image

Ardie 3 years ago from Neverland Author

jaydene, its ironic I actually wrote this Hub. I am ashamed to admit I cant ever follow my own advice. I just had a court date to seal the deal on my second divorce...and its become quite clear that I can hand out the advice but I suck at living it. Thanks for reading and for the sweet comment though :)

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