Welcome to Part 2 of Le Zimbo Bride Series!
I’m going to digress a bit. I’m using this title as an homage to my first (and abandoned) blog. It was fun. I started it with Nyasha Adler, and it rekindled my love for writing, though the love really wasn’t for wedding blogs for forever and ever amen. I still look back at it fondly, we had some great content going.
Digressing done, let’s continue with more issues that couples should talk about before they get married.
This is a broad topic, because it encompasses the families you’re coming from and the family you’re starting. It’s also quite a bone of contention, because marriage may be the two of you, but you may have to balance that with being part of a larger family.
Again, let me get this out, right now: get your priorities straight immediately. Find out where you and your spouse-to-be stand when it comes to family. Who will be your first priority? Your spouse or your family? Who will be your spouse’s first priority? You or the family? Once you know that, you can manage your expectations.
Okay, let’s get into it:
- How much free rein do family members get in your marriage? Will you let them sit you both down and counsel you when things go wrong? Are they allowed to say whatever they want about you or your spouse-to-be?
- Will your family members’ opinion on each other matter so much as to sway your decision on whether or not you get married?
- How often will you visit each side of the family?
- How much of your finances will go to each side of the family?
- What is your policy on people visiting? Can they just show up? Do they have to tell you beforehand?
- Who gets first preference when it comes to family gatherings?
How about when you want to start your own family?
- First of all, do you both want children?
- If no, what measures are you going to use to ensure you never have children? What happens if you accidentally get pregnant?
- If yes, how many? Does the sex of the child matter?
- What are your thoughts on abortion? What if it’s to save the life of the mother?
- Are you open to alternative forms of parenting, if you can’t have kids traditionally? IVF, surrogacy, adoption, fostering, are they options?
- Consider getting fertility tests done beforehand, especially if you know that not having children is an absolute deal-breaker to you.
Your Pertinent Pasts
There are some things that I feel should be discussed about each other’s past which can give you an indication of what to expect in the marriage. It also helps you see whether you can still continue with your person or not. The most important things to my mind are:
- A history of abuse (sexual, physical, emotional). What is key is if they’ve sought help for what they went through.
- Serious character flaws (violent tempers, drug/alcohol abuse, any form of abusive behaviour.)
- Serious debt.
- Criminal Record (the type of crime is key here, of course).
- Baby momma(s)/ Baby daddy(ies).
- Their parent’s marriage. A person may want their marriage to be a certain way, but will default to what they know. Usually that is their first understanding of marriage, which is their parents.
Expectations for the Marriage
One pre-marital counsellor said that one of the major reasons for disappointment in marriage is unmet expectations. Funny enough, they’ve seen that people don’t voice their expectations in marriage, and assume that their spouse will meet all those expectations somehow.
- Do you expect a “traditional” marriage? Do you want one to stay at home, take care of the kids when they come, and the other be the breadwinner?
- What role is your spouse taking in your life? Are they going to be your partner? Are they going to be a pseudo-parent to you? What do you envision your marriage to be?
- Will one person be taking care of the domestic duties? Cooking and so forth? Will you do it together according to time and strengths?
- Do you expect your spouse to now be the only one you hang out with? Is girls’ night or boys’ night a thing that you’ll completely get rid of?
- Do you expect things like date night? Annual vacations? Times apart?
- Is your marriage going to be strictly monogamous? Do you want an open marriage? Polygamy? Speak on this now.
This (very long) list is by no means exhaustive, and if you can think of more things couples should be speaking on before getting married, please let me know in the comments below. Remember, what you say in the initial discussions can always change during the course of your marriage, the important thing is to communicate with your spouse and reach another level of understanding. These conversations are ongoing, for as long as your marriage lasts.
I hope this helps you when you are getting ready to get married. If you’re keen on pre-marital counselling, all these topics and more are covered.
Until next time… your Quarter Wife.