Introverts unite!

5 Topics We Talked About Before We Got Engaged (Or Get Married!)

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I read somewhere that the only surprise about being proposed to should be the when & how. The answer should have been discussed at length before the actual proposal even happens. As someone who has seen too many videos of people getting rejected after a proposal, I concur. That's why when the issue of marriage came up between my then-boyfriend and I, it was the beginning of discussions about the relationship and ourselves. I highly, HIGHLY recommend it.

1. Marriage. Yes, we talked about various aspects of marriage and what it meant to us before getting engaged! Marriage was important to me and I felt the relationship could not move forward without it. My fiance, on the other hand, didn't care whether we got married or not (I initially misconstrued that as he didn't want to get married). He clarified and told me that the only thing that mattered to him was growing old and spending his lifetime with me. As long as that happens, he doesn't care whether we're married or not.

We also talked about when divorce would be okay (i.e. cheating, abuse), when it's not okay (i.e. communication or resentment issues potentially fixable by marriage counseling without trying to work on them) and even what constituted as cheating. For instance, we both agreed that emotional cheating & physical cheating carried the same weight. We were on the same page on practically everything!

2. Money. According to this study," Money is the leading cause of stress in relationships". So it comes as no surprise that money bagged the second spot on this list. My fiance & I, despite having different backgrounds, more or less have the same financial ideas (he's better at saving but I come pretty close!). We both prioritize having savings over luxuries and travel. We both never spend money on anything we can't afford to pay in a week. We both have Fuck Off Funds that can tide us over for at least 3-6 months if we ever lost our jobs. We both have no debt. We both have financial transparency towards each other.

We also talked about how our financial situation would be after getting married. This is seriously the only time we had disagreed! I wanted to have separate accounts because financial independence was incredibly important to me. He wanted to have joint accounts because it was efficient and easy. We each presented the pros and cons until my fiance came up with the perfect compromise. Two individual checking accounts, one joint checking account & one joint savings account. We set up a system that worked for both of us and just like that, we were on the same page again.

3. Kids. I once read about a couple who ended up getting divorced because, in the middle of their ten-year marriage, the husband wanted kids while the wife did not. As sad as that story was, it made complete sense to me. Having children is one of the things you CANNOT compromise on. Fortunately for my fiance & I, we both do not want kids.

4. Future goals. Our goals need to be aligned if we were ever going to work out. So we talked about what we want out of life in a year, in five years, in ten years, in twenty-five. We talked about what we see ourselves doing. For the most part, we had the same goals - purchase a house in a city we both love, adopt a dog and travel at least once a year. The only goal we really varied on was that he wants to retire before 65. I want to keep working well into my death because earning my own keep makes me feel empowered and strong. We both have no issues with each other's retirement goals.

5. Expectations vs. Reality. My expectations are starkly different now from 15 years ago. I've gone from believing that "love is enough" and marriage is happily ever after to knowing & expecting marriage is hard work. Those butterflies will disappear and once every few days, I will probably hate my future husband.

That's one of the reasons why I felt it was necessary that we shared what we expected regarding chores, cleanliness, alone time (shout out to all introverts!), showing love (check out this love language test!) and sex. We asked each other what we look forward to being married & what we won't look forward to. Afterward, we vowed to keep those expectations in mind, check in every couple of years to see whether it has changed, communicate anything that we feel should be changed and work on becoming better people and better partners.

I'm not saying having discussions like these prior to marriage is a fool proof plan to avoid getting divorced. But it might be a good screening test for happy, healthy & well-balanced marriages. People change, circumstances can happen and life will always throw you a curveball that you've never accounted for. After all, marriage is really just skydiving with someone you absolutely believe is the best person to help you out when shit hits the fan. I don't know about you but I'd really rather have a spare parachute before I say I do.

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