There aren’t many moments in life more exciting than when you realize you’re dating someone who could be “The One,” but marriage is a serious commitment and you shouldn’t rush into it. These are some of the most important things you need to know about your partner before saying “I do.”
How he manages money
Finances are one of the most common reasons couples get divorced, which makes sense. Life becomes so much more stressful when the bills are overdue and the savings account is depleted, so you need to be able to communicate with your partner about money. If he’s the type to spend $100 on Xbox games instead of paying the bills on time, you need to know that so you can either think twice about marrying him or be prepared to handle the household finances yourself.
What his career goals and future plans are
He may be underemployed or in school now, but standing by him through the tough times will be worth it if he has a plan and is motivated to succeed. On that same token, if he has a hard time keeping a job and has absolutely no career goals, you need to know that too so you can decide if that’s a dealbreaker for you. It’s better to find out ahead of time than to rush into the marriage and end up divorcing.
Whether or not he wants kids
Another leading cause of divorce is disagreement on whether or not to have kids. Parenthood isn’t a foregone conclusion for everyone; in fact, choosing to remain childless is becoming far more common now than it used to be. If you want kids and he doesn’t (or vice versa), it’s a bad idea to walk down that aisle anyway hoping he’ll change his mind. The decision to become a parent should only be made if you really want it, not conceded just because your spouse wants kids.
How he handles conflict
The honeymoon phase of a relationship is great, so it can be easy to forget that it’s going to wear off at some point and his true colors will shine through. If he has a dangerous temper with a short fuse, you need to know that before inadvertently committing to a lifetime of screaming fights. There’s nothing worse than living with a partner who can’t handle any kind of conflict without resorting to yelling or violence. In order for a marriage to work, you need to be able to discuss problems calmly and find solutions together.
Where he wants to live in the future
Once you’re married, you have to agree on where you’ll put down roots together. If you’ve ever watched HGTV, you’ve seen how messy it can get when one partner wants to live in a big house out in the country and the other wants to live in a loft downtown. Whichever option you decide on, one partner will be unhappy and could end up resenting the other, so it’s best to have that conversation before you take a walk down the aisle and make sure you’re on the same page.
How he would want to handle an unplanned pregnancy
If you’re pro-choice and absolutely never want to give birth to anything but he’s anti-choice and would never support an abortion (or if you know you would never want to have an abortion but he would expect you to), you need to know that before committing to him. In the event of an unplanned pregnancy, you could find yourself having to either give up your spouse or your choice, and that would be a terrible position to find yourself in.
How often he prefers to socialize and where
If he’s the extroverted party guy who needs to go to the bar several times a week or likes to have loud house parties all the time, you need to make sure you can live with that. It’s tough for introverts to constantly be expected to socialize, especially if we can’t even catch a minute of peace in our own homes because the living room is full of ex-frat boys doing keg stands. If you aren’t on the same page about this, it can cause disagreements about both social plans and finances, because going out and hosting parties can be expensive.
Whether he’s jealous or insecure
Guys who are insecure have a tendency to pass along their insecurities to anyone who can be saddled with them, and it sucks living with someone who constantly assumes you’re cheating, questions where you go and who you’re hanging out with, or makes you “check in” hourly whenever you’re apart. No marriage can work without trust, so don’t marry him if he doesn’t trust you.
How domestic he is
Even if you don’t live together before marriage, you can figure out over time if he’s the cleanly type or a huge slob, and if he cooks or if his best culinary work is accomplished by ordering take out. It’s better to know in advance what responsibilities you’d have to take on in this hypothetical marriage so you’re not blindsided by the expectations.
Whether his expectation of marriage is the same as yours
I saved this one for last because it’s overall the most important. Some people approach marriage as another box to check off of their life goals checklist, thinking they’ll just get a divorce if it doesn’t work out. That wasn’t the idea or intent behind the institution of marriage; it’s supposed to be something you fight for, even when it’s not easy. Make sure you’re on the same page before you write your vows or say yes to the dress; you’ll be glad you did.
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