You fell in love! The butterflies in your stomach and sweet feelings seem like they’ll never go away. Marriage is the next logical next step.

Before you take that plunge, many say that the first year of marriage is the hardest. Have a serious conversation with your partner. Here are some very important things to discuss before marriage so they don’t become points of contention.

  1. Prenuptial Agreement

Do you or your partner want a prenuptial agreement? Prenups have become more popular and it doesn’t have to mean you don’t trust your partner. Its purpose is to settle financial matters in advance in the event of either a divorce or death. A Prenuptial agreement may seem unromantic, but many experts feel it’s being smart about your financial planning.

  1. Children

Starting a family often comes after you get married, so it’s a big discussion to have. Talk about how many kids you want (if you want them at all) and you would like to raise them. How far apart should you have them, do you want to adopt? Also, have a conversation with your partner about what religion if any you want to teach your children.

  1. Finances

Are you a spender or a saver? Will you join bank accounts? Who will manage the money? What are your saving goals? Finances are one of the most important issues to talk about with your partner. From bank accounts and bill sharing to debts you already have, make sure you get it all out in the open. At least 35% of marriages have problems related to finances. By talking about it ahead of time, you can make sure you have financial harmony in your relationship.

  1. In-Laws

If you get lucky and have in-laws you are fond of, then good for you. But most of the time, we aren’t so fortunate.  Even if you think you’ll never have problems dealing with each other’s families, discuss how you think you should handle issues if it does come up in the future. Make sure you talk openly and honestly to each other about issues with in-laws and always operate as a team. Be sure to include talks about how you want to handle holidays with your families and make necessary compromises.

  1. Expectations

Unmet expectations can cause disconnect and result in conflict. It’s very important to discuss expectations when it comes to career, living arrangements, future planning and even household duties. What is your professional trajectory? Who will cook dinner, wash the dishes and take out the trash? Where do you want to live in the future and raise your children? The problem with expectations is that we don’t even realize we have them until they are not met.

Couples discover they have new expectations throughout their marriage but there are some common expectations that most couples have. Be open and honest about your expectations. You may disagree, but it’s important to have conversations about your expectations so that you can reach compromises.

Getting to Know Your Partner

Before you make marriage a priority, make your relationship a priority. Discussing these things before marriage is instrumental in helping your relationship get off to the right start.

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