What are the important issues that a couple should talk about before marriage?
They should talk about how much family and friends they want around. Some people are introverts and cant stand so many people.
I think the biggest issue is whether they want children or not. If they have very fixed opposing ideas, there's no way round it. One is always going to be unhappy in the longer term.
I think what is important to one person may not be all that important to another person. Therefore I would suggest that instead of taking a one size fits all approach or assuming everyone has the same priority list, a person has to first of all (know themself). Do some introspective thinking to determine what it is (they) want. As unromantic as it may sound it's probably a good idea to write it down in the order of priority. "for fun" You might ask your partner to do the same thing and then exchange lists! (Do not try to influence what they should list)
Hopefully this will give you an idea of how close you are to being on the same page. People who (naturally agree) on the important things in life tend to be happier and stay together. Ultimately we are all in search of someone who wants what we want and (naturally agrees) with us on how to get it!
There is no amount of "communication" or "work" that can overcome being with someone who does not want what you want."
I think it's a good idea, too, dashingscorpio. That way you'll know what the other person wants, his/her priorities in life and whether these match with ours. Voted up!
I agree, you need to know who you are before you try to know someone else that you hope will be a lifetime partner.
Their goals, where do they want to be in five or ten years, what are their views of a family, what do they think is how to parent a child (get a cat or dog and see how it works out). When a couple gets a pet, it is a mini child between them. A child is a new animal times four.
They should talk about love, children, religion, willingness to move if necessary because of job opportunities, finances and related items. It is great to be in love and to imagine a perfect life ahead of you. My wife had to make the decision if she wanted to marry a man who was not of the same religious faith as her (later changed) and if she was willing to leave her home to move to a small town (she did). Some people cannot leave their hometown. It has an attraction that I do not understand. Other people will not marry outside their religious faith--often because of family pressures.
Finally, money has to be discussed. if both work how much do you make. Are the any big debts. Do both plan to work. What will you do when children come--stay at home mom (or Dad) or day care. Any issue that concerns you should be discussed. If you are afraid to discuss an issue, then you should discuss that fear.
Whether to have children, who will handle finances, what does your husband or wife expect from you. These are all very simple things but it can be hard if one day you wake up and your husband says, "what's for breakfast?" and you thought he'd be doing the cooking. Simple things like that can be a problem so talk about everything, as aspects of a life together so that you have the same vision--for the most part.
These expectations, no matter how small or big, less or many, are really better talked before marriage. Like you said, simple, but could ruin a harmonious relationship.
Financial decisions should be made together. I paid the bills on line. My wife does not get an "allowance" but by her choice there is a mutually agreed upon amount she can spend on herself. We discuss major purchases and all investment decisions.
I think all the answers so far are good. There are a whole laundry of things that need discussing before marriage. one thing you may need to discuss is medical history. This could be important if you plan to have children. Even if you don't, there could be a medical concern that you will have to learn to cope with. You need to have the choice of whether or not you want that responsibility.
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