5 Things to Know Before Marriage

Tips From Minneapolis Divorce Attorney Susan Mundahl

5 things you need to know about your partner BEFORE  you get married

Their assets and liabilities:  Talking with your partner about money is not always the easiest thing to do, however you must bite the bullet and address this topic head on.  You don’t want to seem like you are digging for something but you also want to make sure that they aren’t digging either, or that you aren’t about to unknowingly be joined with a partner who has an exorbitant amount of debt.  A spouse with a large debt load may disqualify you two from getting a home or other large puchase.  Your funds could be garnished in joint checking accounts and from joint tax returns. Although it may seem difficult, having these discussions before marriage is ABSOLUTELY necessary and will most likely make you feel better about the situation anyway.  No matter what you discover about your future spouse (good or bad) it is always a comfort to have peace of mind in knowing what you are getting into. 

Their sexual habits:  For some this topic is very taboo, however in a marriage SEX MATTERS, and there is no way around it.  It is incredibly important that you are sexually compatible with your partner if you want your marriage to run smoothly.  It is important to know that your partner isn’t going to push for sex more than you are comfortable with, just as it is important to know that they are not going to withhold sex, or avoid it more often than you can handle.  Additionally, the world of sex is definitely not black and white, and some people don’t reveal all of their sexual desires if you don’t ask them.  Be sure that you know how far they are willing to go to please you sexually as well as understanding their expectations of you.  If you do not feel comfortable talking about these things with your partner perhaps some counseling is in order before getting married.

Their addictions:  Some may require a bottle of wine before bed, others may be particularly absorbed by social networking, or computer games; the fact is:  EVERYONE has addictions.  I cannot stress enough how important it is that you understand what things your partner may be addicted to and what things they absolutely will not go without.  If any of these things do not “jive” with you or if you don’t believe you could handle a lifelong challenge against a particular substance or practice, you must seriously consider whether or not you want to tie yourself to that person forever.  Some people marry under the assumption that their partner will change, or that they can change their partner.  While change is possible, it is not probable and marrying under the guise that these addictions with magically melt away is just plain naïve.

Know your partners habits:  Similar to addictions, this one is painstakingly important.  If you and your partner do not agree on time management or how to keep a household, you will find marriage much more difficult to maneuver.  This doesn’t mean that you have to do everything together or agree on everything.  It just means that it is important for you to know how they live day to day BEFORE YOU MARRY THEM.  If you can’t agree with the things they do when they are off the clock, imagine attempting to agree on how to raise your children.  Which brings me to my final and most important point:

How they feel about children and how to care for them:  This one is absolutely and positively the MOST important thing to discuss before you get married.  Why?  First, your marriage is not likely to survive if one of you wants children and the other does not.  Second, because this affects not only another human being’s life and wellbeing, but also how they will develop relationships and interact in our world.  If you do not agree on basic child rearing methods, the person who will suffer the most is undoubtedly your children themselves.  Nothing’s more damaging to a family dynamic than having one parent be “the good guy” and for a child to constantly be hearing screaming matches about whatever mistake he or she had made that day.  Oftentimes children feel responsible for their parent’s disagreements and blow outs.  Do NOT put your future children through the pain and suffering that comes along with parenting disagreements, talk about your beliefs before you lock yourself in for the long haul!

The bottom line is that, although love may be blind, you don't have to be.  Being able to have loving and frank discussions about these matters can lead to thoughtful compromises and a deeper and meaningful marriage.  It could also mean sharing years together in harmony rather than a difficult divorce.

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