Some would say we are amid “Divorce Season”, with higher rates of divorce occurring January through March. We certainly see an influx this time of year.
When saying “I do”, most all couples hope for “happily ever after”. The truth is, however, more than half of American marriages end in divorce, despite everyone's best intentions.
Dissolving a union that was meant to be forever is generally an emotionally painful process, and often quite expensive. We encourage you to do all that you can to increase the odds of your marriage going the distance.
This New York Times article discusses the need to have hard, honest conversations before heading to the altar. Build a stable foundation for your partnership. Don't be afraid to ask the difficult questions! Avoiding challenging conversations early-on in order to avoid potential conflict is not wise. Have the open dialogue now before it is too late!
The article suggests these 13 Questions to Ask Before Getting Married, with the goal of stimulating open and honest discussion with your partner and creating essential foundational building blocks on your road to forever:
- Did your family throw plates, calmly discuss issues or silently shut down when disagreements arose? It is important to discuss conflict resolution and how early experiences may or may not have impacted how you approach resolving conflict.
- Will we have children, and if we do, will you change the diapers? Couples should have a solid idea of where each other stand on the question of children, including whether to have children and parental roles.
- Will our experiences with our exes help or hinder us? Couples are often resistant to directly discussing their prior relationships. However, some discussion here may be important in order to come to a place of acceptance of each other's pasts
- How important is religion? How will we celebrate religious holidays, if at all? Have early, honest discussions about this issue, especially when there are religious differences. If you are planning to have children, it is helpful to have a plan.
- Is my debt your debt? Would you be willing to bail me out? Understand where each other stand regarding financial independence. Come to an agreement about whether to combine finances or keep them separate, and how to go about doing this. Financial conflict is one of the leading causes of divorce. Have open and honest conversations early and develop a mutual understanding and plan.
- What's the most you would be willing to spend on a car, a couch, shoes? Get on the same page about spending patterns, priorities, and expectations.
- Can you deal with my doing things without you? Discuss areas of life where you wish to maintain autonomy as well as expectations of privacy. Develop understandings about this early, in order to minimize tension later.
- Do we like each other's parents? If you are lucky, you will get along swimmingly, but often the relationship with in-laws is quite challenging. This can be manageable if you and your partner are on the same page and can present a united front.
- How important is sex to you? Open the dialogue about sexual desires, expectations, and negotiation. Create a precedent for open discussion about sex with your partner.
- How far should we take flirting with other people? Is watching porn okay? It is recommended that you and your partner have agreements about behavior related to flirting, pornography, and monogamy. Attitudes and behavior may change with time and conversations may be ongoing.
- Do you know all the ways I say “I love you”? Learn each other's “love languages”. Understand the expressions of love your partner most values.
- What do you admire about me, and what are your pet peeves? Consider how you will manage aspects of your partner that you find challenging in the long term.
- How do you see us 10 years from now? Develop a mutual understanding of your life and relationship goals.