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A relationship that’s going steady and serious is one of the best things to celebrate this love season. Not everyone experiences the joys of freely talking about tying the knot soon, but here you are, recalling long-distance aunts you want to invite to your ceremony. These, and all other wedding details, are fun and romantic to imagine, yet if you’re really serious about taking the relationship to the next level, you need to talk about the real, deep relationship stuff. The most urgent: long-term goals as a couple.
In between fancy dinners and laid-back movie night sessions, spend time talking about your future family. Here are some points you can’t afford to leave out:
Starting a life together is romantic in theory, but it will change the way you tackle finances. Think about it, you have to build a house, buy a car, send the kids to good schools, maintain the business, and the list goes on. The sooner that you understand the costs of being married, the more prepared you’ll be once you settle down. Plus, you wouldn’t want to get the shock of your life over your partner’s debt problem, would you?
It’s not a secret that money isn’t the easiest topic to talk about with your partner, but it’s an important conversation. There are three things you need to talk about in this topic: savings, debt, and financial goals. These will determine if you’ll be able to sustain the needs of your future family. For one, it will give you an idea of how soon you’ll be able to move into your first home.
Since a house is one of your biggest family investments, be wise in your purchase. As early as now, be transparent about how much you’re willing to pay for a home. From there, decide where you want to live, as this can also influence the price of the property you’ll buy in the future. The bottom line, mark money as an urgent topic.
You and your partner came from different family backgrounds. It’s not surprising that you’ll have varying views in terms of raising children. In fact, you probably have differing perspectives when it comes to having children. Your significant other may love kids, but they may not want to have their own. If you feel differently, this may take a toll on your marriage later.
Aside from the basic question of whether they want to have kids, have an open, honest conversation about how you would discipline kids, what religious views you’re going to pass on, and what your plan will be if ever you encounter health issues in the future. Most importantly, talk about how you’re going to create a loving home.
More than being financially prepared for a house, you have to be emotionally stable to turn that house into a home, a safe space for your would-be children. Are you willing to give up a career, if ever, to care for the kids? Can you commit to regular breaks from work just so you can be with your child? Will you strive to work on certain issues and be a model of a healthy relationship? As early as now, make a commitment to make your home a sanctuary for your kids.
Just because you’re about to be wed at a beautiful beach doesn’t mean the highs and the joys you’re feeling now will extend throughout your married life. Remember, you two are different people. You’re bound to disagree in one way or another. But as they say, arguments are a normal reality in relationships. That’s why being successful as a couple isn’t a matter of preventing as many disagreements as you can, but actually navigating disagreements in a healthy, loving way.
The most important action point here is to understand how each of you manages conflicts. Otherwise, you could misinterpret the actions of your partner and only end up provoking one another. If your significant other tends to back away when fights start, you may see this as them not caring about you, but in reality, they might just be finding a way not to be overcome by emotions. Talk about your argument style to avoid these kinds of misunderstandings and unnecessary heartaches.
This step would be so useful when you go through a very stressful situation, say, buying a home. The process is tough and there are so many points along the way when your differences will surface. One wants a condo, the other likes to be in an exclusive subdivision. One is confident about maxing out the loan, the other isn’t. You’re looking at conflicts at every stage of the process. So before clashing and throwing hurtful words at each other, spend time talking about conflict resolution.
The love season is the perfect time to talk to your partner about the future. But don’t stop at the dreamy details of your wedding. Discuss the real, hard stuff. Talk about long-term #couplegoals.