9 Critical Conversations to Ensure a Happy Marriage

It’s well established now how frequently couples get divorced. Although many couples in the glow of their honeymoon phase think everything will be perfect, it often winds up not being the case. Here are nine critical premarital conversations to have before making this important step in life in order to ensure a happy marriage.

Critical Conversation #1:  If You Only…Changed.

Let’s face it; most couples are not too fond of a few their partner’s character traits.  These traits are often ignored during the honeymoon phase and can stay uncovered until years later. It’s important for couples to have discussions early on so these issues they don’t creep up on them in the future. For example:

  • Your partner spends too much time playing video games.
  • Your partner hangs out too much with friends.
  • You are frustrated because you think your partner is nagging you.
  • Your partner has that one annoying habit.

Critical Conversation #2:  Finances

Money differences are probably the most frequent reason why couples find themselves divorced. Different financial philosophies and expectations of one another can drive couples apart. It is important for couples to have these financial conversations beforehand. For example:

  • What are your values surrounding money?  
  • Should we have a joint account or separate accounts?
  • How should bills be divided between us?
  • Should we save every penny or spend everything we earn in order to travel/have fun?

Not being on the same page financially is a recipe for disaster.

Critical Conversation #3:  How Do We Spend our Free Time?

In the honeymoon phase most couples spend most of their free time together, but over time that can change. Talk about how you can balance time together and apart. This can vary between couples, but if there is a mismatch it can become a problem.

Critical Conversation #4:  Children

It’s important for each of you to be crystal clear about each other’s feelings regarding having kids. If having children is desirable to you, share exactly how important it is to one another. What often tends to happen is that one partner is ambivalent about having children, and sometimes that can be dangerous. It is important for this partner to clarify with themselves and their partner how they truly feel.

Critical Conversation #5:  If Yes, How Will You Parent?

If the both partners want children, how exactly do you want to parent? Share with each other stories from your own childhood about what your upbringing was like. What are qualities you would like to emulate and which would you rather discard?

Critical Conversation #6:  Family Values and Traditions?

These include whether or not you want to participate in a religion or faith tradition as a family. What are your own values and which values do you want to pass down to your children?  

Critical Conversation #7:  Sex

How each of you views sex-related matters is important. Is there a libido differential between the two of you? Any differences can be harder to see at the start of a relationship, but over time can become difficult to overcome. An imbalance can lead to problems later on.

Critical Conversation #8:  Resolving Conflict

How each of you handles conflict is important for the longevity of your relationship. We are not born knowing how to de-escalate and resolve conflict! It is a skill that we learn and practice over our lifetimes. Learning these skills now can help you handle disagreements and arguments effectively for the rest of your life.

Critical Conversations #9:  The Perfect Relationship

What do you and your partner think is important in a perfect relationship? Is it traveling the world together or owning a business? Having an idea what each of you ultimately wants in this lifelong journey can pave the way for a successful marriage.

If you get stuck when having these conversations, don’t hesitate to seek the help of an experienced relationship therapist in order to assist you in navigating these potential relationship pitfalls. Working through these important issues as early as possible can help ensure that you will have a satisfying marriage.

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