Being engaged is often an exciting and blissful time for both people involved. In many cases, more preparation goes into the wedding planning than the actual marriage. Before you make wedding plans, take some time to seriously consider the tough situations that can place the most strain on a marriage.
For Richer Or Poorer
Money and the mismanagement of money is often the most stressful part of a relationship. You and your partner should consider how you will manage finances jointly, if you have not already formed a joint household. If you both have an income, you should consider who is financially responsible for which aspects of the household and what is an appropriate percentage of each income that should be dedicated to those expenses.
Another component of joint finances should be whose name is on major expenses, such as leases, mortgages, etc. Both parties should always have their name on the mortgage and other joint assets. When both parties are not jointly responsible for the upkeep, it can cause problems in future. For example, when both people are not on the lease for an apartment, one person may feel less responsible for its upkeep or one party may feel powerless if there is ever a separation.
As for bank accounts, consider what makes you both feel comfortable. In many cases, couples may want both a joint account and separate individual accounts. The joint account can be used for monthly expenses, while each person has their own autonomy with individual accounts. Another problem that can surface is when one partner makes considerably less money than the other or does not have outside employment. The "breadwinner" should never use their financial position to demean their partner or as leverage, which is a method of financial abuse.
In Sickness And In Health
Sickness, both acute and chronic, is a realistic possibility with any long-term relationship. Both parties should consider their ability to handle both mental and physical illness. It is often easier to tell your partner what they want to hear than to be honest. Many people are not able to handle the caregiver role or may find it undesirable to watch the person they married change from a position of assertiveness to one of dependence. The expectations regarding illness may not be as drastic as ending the relationship. Simply not wanting to assume a full-time caregiver role is a reasonable expectation and should be expressed.
If you and your partner have both agreed you want children, a component of health may be the possibility of dealing with fertility issues. To what extent are you both willing to use alternative methods of having children? For example, in a relationship with a male and female, one or both parties may not want to start a family if the child is not biologically their own. This can eliminate alternative methods, such as sperm donors or egg surrogates. All couples may need to consider any legal ramifications that may occur if they separate and any children conceived within the marriage are not biologically tied to one or both parties involved.
'Till Death Do Us Part
Death being the only option for leaving a relationship may not be realistic for most couples, even when it is a component of their vows. Most couples do not have divorce on their radar when they are planning a marriage, but two completely different attitudes regarding divorce will often clash and is best addressed early.
Some people may not believe in divorce under any circumstances, especially if they are deeply spiritual or religious. If you do believe in divorce, this may be the time to address your deal-breakers, which might include cheating or abuse. Both parties should consider what avenues are acceptable to help with the relationship and reach an agreement. Relationship counseling with a service like Park Center Inc and/or spiritual counseling may be important throughout your relationship to handle problems, if they occur, before they spiral out of control.
This is also a good time to address how you both feel about talking with other people regarding relationship problems and the extent of revealing problems to other people. Although many couples feel like they should always confide in each other, each person needs their own friends or support system as an individual, in addition to confiding in their spouse. Neither person should feel suspicious or betrayed by having outside support.
Avoiding the tough issues and being short-sighted when entering a long-term commitment can lead to many stumbling blocks along the way. When both parties are honest about their expected roles and contribution in a marriage, they can minimize the likelihood of entering into a bad marriage.