Photo: Barbara Rahal Photography
Preparing for a wedding can be overwhelming. There are so many details to sort out and so many decisions to make. And of course, so many opinions to consider (or not consider!). Dealing with all these is a necessary part of putting together an amazing day that you will cherish for a lifetime.
With all these details, sometimes the relationship, the very reason for the wedding in the first place, can take a back seat. But after all the chaos of the wedding day is settled, the relationship is what you’ll be left with and it’s worth spending a bit of time and energy focused on why you started wedding planning in the first place.
Here are 5 conversations that are definitely worth having before you get married…
- What will our life be about?
Couples spend a lot of time in the dating years getting to know each other and talking about what life was like for each of them as they grew up and as they became adults. It’s typical to spend time getting to know what is important to your partner as an individual but couples often fail to spend time talking about how their values will fit together into a life and which values will guide their life together. Spending time comparing each person’s personal values and then coming up with a common list of values can be helpful in starting off your life together on the same page. Having a list of common values that you both agree will guide your life together will help in making decisions and creating a meaningful life together. This conversation can also be a starting point for other important conversations like the dreaded last name debate or discussions about children and parenting.
- What’s meaningful to us?
Don’t go into a marriage assuming that what is meaningful to you is meaningful to your partner. Taking time to talk about the traditions and rituals of life that are meaningful to each of you can be both eye opening and connecting. A simple activity like eating dinner at the kitchen table together can be important to one person and not important to the other, and having an open conversation to sort this out at the beginning of your life together is important. This conversation can also be a great opportunity to create traditions of your own, that are unique to this new marriage.
- How will we stay connected?
We are all busy and unless we are intentional about creating connecting time with our partner, it’s easy to grow apart. This dedicated time comes easy when a couple is dating but seems to be taken for granted once the wedding day passes. Avoid this by having a conversation about how you plan to stay connected over the long term in your marriage. End-of-the-day conversations, date nights, weekly lunch dates, daily texts, etc. are all methods of maintaining connection in your relationship.
- How will we take care of each other?
Staying healthy is key to being able to put the amount of work required in to a marriage. When couples work together towards this common goal, achieving health becomes much more likely. Structuring your life together in such a way that physical health and emotional health are both acknowledged is important in the early stage of marriage. Setting aside time to cook at home, exercise together, practice meditation or yoga together, talk openly about your feelings and make sure you get a good night’s rest will all lead to greater health in the individual and as a result, greater health in the couple.
- What will we do when we want to give up?
Conflict is inevitable in relationships. In any long-term marriage, there have always been moments where giving up seemed like a good idea. This is an important conversation to have when you are not in the middle of a conflict but instead are in a good place. Deciding how to stay present in the face of conflict, how to communicate effectively, how to listen to each other even when you totally disagree or are really hurt are all critical skills that ensure the longevity of your marriage.
For some couples these conversations can prove challenging. Reaching out for support or assistance in navigating these difficult topics can turn difficult conversations into conversations that deepen the relationship and add to the richness of your connection. And an outside perspective never hurts to help you see what you may have been missing or to teach you a few skills that will help you manage conflict going forward.
Surely this is not an exhaustive list. Embarking on a lasting life together requires lots of ongoing conversation, however, starting out with some of these basic discussions can help point you in the right direction.