Who you marry is one of the most important decisions that you will make in your life. As a Christian it is even more so because divorce is not something that should be considered unless in the most extreme cases.
One of the things that I see happen over and over again is that people get together, fall in love and decide that they want to get married without truly knowing who the other person is. Once they are married and the honeymoon is over they realize that there are major things in their relationship that they don’t agree on.
Before they were married they either didn’t notice these things or they let them go because they were“in love. Now that they are married they become a huge problem. So what are some areas that couples disagree on and need to work out before they are married?
While all of the areas that we will talk about are important, finances are probably the biggest cause of contention in a marriage. This is a big area to cover because there is so much involved in it. Things like:
- Do you pool your money into one account or do you each have separate one?
- Who pays for what?
- Are you spenders or savers? This one is really hard especially if you have one saver and one spender.
Each one of these things can cause big disagreements and fights and if either partner is unwilling to budge it can cause major problems in the relationship.
If finances are number one, then children are the number two thing that people disagree about. Of course, the first question is do you both want children? You cannot assume that the answer is always yes.
If you decide that you both want kids, then when do you start and how many do you have? Maybe you grew up in a small family and only want one child, but your partner grew up in a big family of seven siblings and wants to have lots of children. How about birth control? This only starts the conversations you want to have about children before you are married.
Is one parent going to stay home with the children or will you put them in day care? What are both of your philosophies on child-raising and discipline? How will you teach your children about God? These are not things that you want to figure out once you are married and have children.
Raising children is one of the most important jobs in your marriage. Training the future generations to serve the Lord is an awesome responsibility and to neglect these questions before you get married can have serious ramifications for your kids later on.
Did you just shiver when you read the word in-laws? If you did you really need to read this section. Not only are you marrying a person, but you are marrying yourself into a whole new family as well. You get to become a part of an already-established family and sometimes that can be hard.
So one of the main conversations you need to have is how much influence are your soon-to-be in-laws going to have in your married life? And how much influence will your own family have in this relationship?
When you get married you are forming your own family, so it is very important that neither side of the family has too much influence. When you are married, you need to form strong bonds with your spouse and create your own family traditions.
If you want to have a healthy relationship with your spouse then you need to, in a sense, break connections with your family. You still have a relationship with them, but your priority becomes your spouse.
The Bible says, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14).
So the first thing is, are you both believers? If you are not, this may become an issue once the honeymoon phase is over.
I have seen so many marriages suffer and be unhappy because they were unequally yoked. You may feel that by marrying someone who isn’t a believer, they will come to the Lord, but in my many years of experience of seeing these types of relationships, I have found that it rarely happens.
You need to discuss spiritual differences before making a lifelong commitment to your partner, otherwise it could become a divisive issue later on.
5. Where Are You Going To Live?
This isn’t as big as the other four but it is still something that needs to be considered. Whose place do you live in or will you get a new place? City, country or rural? A house or an apartment? Rent or buy? Whose workplace will you live closest to? All these things need to be discussed ahead of time.
How will you decide whose stuff to keep? What about things like keepsakes and collectibles? What you consider valuable your potential partner may consider junk.
The important thing in all these situations is to have conversations about these topics and work out any differences you have before you get married. Your first year of marriage will be hard enough with all the adjustments you need to make to living with each other that you don’t need to be adding these five things, especially when it is much easier to have these discussions before you say, ‘I do.’
So my best piece of advice is talk, talk and talk some more. What are you waiting for? Get to it.
~By Kim Thompson-Pinder