What Should You Discuss in Pre-Marriage Counseling?

When it comes to pre-marriage counseling, there are a few topics that are essential to discuss. From your individual and combined goals and aspirations to your ideas about family planning or family blending, it's important to be realistic about what you expect from your marriage. Intimacy is one of the most important topics you'll discuss in premarital counseling, as it's essential to feel comfortable with your partner. Finances are also a major obstacle for newlyweds, as it's no longer “your money” or “hers”, but “our money”.

When considering what to talk about before getting married, there are a few questions you should explore. Describe what commitment means to you as you make plans to walk down the aisle. Why did you choose your partner out of all the people you've ever met? What initially attracted you to them and what do you think they will help you convert? What do you hope to achieve in the near future and in the distant future with respect to your career? How do you intend to care for your community on your own or separately? Do you expect to leave a legacy after you die? When it comes to emotional support, what do you expect from a married couple during exciting times, sad times, periods of illness, and loss of work? Will you set aside a night just to be together alone to catch up and have fun? What size of home is important and what type of neighborhood do you expect to live in now and in the future? Are you both clear about how much alone time the other one needs? How much time should your partner spend with friends separately and together? Do you agree with how much time is appropriate to devote to work? Do you both expect to support the family financially? Will it be different when the children arrive? Are you both comfortable with the wage difference between you? How will you deal with times when one or both of you have reached middle age in their career and need to change some aspects of their lives? How do you plan to live together? Where will you live after the children arrive? How do you determine if a new career path or job is sufficient reason to move? Do you expect to live in the same house or area for a long time? Will you need to be close to your parents when they're together now or as they get older? When are you planning to start a family? How far away would you like your children to be? Would abortion be acceptable before or after that? What kinds of philosophies did your parents have about raising children and do you agree or disagree with them? How do each of you intend to shape the values of your children? What types of punishment are appropriate or not appropriate? What kind of expectations does everyone have about the money spent on toys, clothes, etc.? Will you have separate or joint checking accounts or both? If so, who will be responsible for what expenses? Do both parties agree to have their full financial situation disclosed at all times about their personal financial situation? How will strong disagreements over the spending of money be resolved? Are there any debts that either spouse incurred before marriage (e.g. loans for college or graduate studies)? How much available money does each of you need to have in order to feel comfortable? Will there be a savings plan for the first home? Do you plan on maintaining commercial homes for as long as possible? How much credit card debt or home equity loan debt is acceptable? Do both parties agree on addressing the financial needs of parents, if possible? Are there any plans for sending children to private or parochial school and what will be the plans for their university education when they're older? When do both parties expect to start saving for retirement and will they be using a financial planner for this purpose? Who will complete the taxes each year? Finally, it's important to discuss what inspired your parents in terms of who did what in the family.

Did it seem fair and were either of expecting something different from this arrangement? Do each of you have some preferences that might not be related to gender roles when it comes to home or garden maintenance and how will these responsibilities be divided or hired out if necessary.

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