Just Simply Saying with Rhoda
by: Rhoda Whitfield
Topic: Things Couples Should Discuss Before Marriage
I have a significant concern that many couples are going into marriage without discussing things that could be considered deal-breakers and cause them to end their marriage. For the most part, many are moving forward because of their physical attraction not taking into consideration that your physical attraction to each other nor your love alone can sustain your marriage. When an issue arises that you all have difficulty getting through, you will find that it was probably something that should have been discussed before marriage regardless of how big or small the issue may have been.
I have been married for 38 years and in my working with my husband in counseling sessions with couples, I can say that at least 80 percent of them are in the position they are in because of issues they either neglected or failed to discuss before marriage. These pre-marriage discussions are pertinent in seeing if you are compatible, equally yoked and speaking the same language. We can be physically attracted to each other and not suitable for each other. Heart to heart pre-marital discussions could probably lower the divorce rate if couples would candidly discuss deal-breaking issues.
This first topic lets us know if we are financially ready to consider marriage. We both need to be bringing something to the table. It’s not like when my grandmother was a wife where she stayed home and tended to the family and the house. Unless one of you has a six-figure income, the average household depends on two streams of income. When we look at acquiring things together we have to have buying power. It’s time to talk about money.
If this is the person you want to build your life with, neither one of you should have a problem in laying your credit score and report on the table. Each of you should know the kind of debt the other is bringing into the marriage. At this point, this is not to see if you can go take out a loan, but you deserve to be aware of your future partner’s financial state before getting into a marriage. Sometimes people are not totally honest with you, and you later find things out that had you known from the beginning could have made you think a little longer or put the marriage off until you all were able to get the credit issue improved. If you continue to go forward in the relationship, there are key questions at this point that need to be asked.
Should we have a joint checking account or separate accounts or both?
Who is going to be responsible for making sure that bills are paid on time?
Will you each put a certain percentage of your income toward shared bills?
Will you have an emergency fund?
What if one person is out of work or decides to stay home to raise the kids?
What’s your plan for affording that?
Are you a saver or spender when it comes to money?
Will you have a budget?
The financial part of our marriage is important. By all means, I’m not saying that anyone has to be rich to get married. But let’s say that, you've got your financial act together, but your soon-to-be-spouse doesn't. You love this person genuinely. However, the debt they are expected to bring into the marriage has you concern and you should be. Subsequently, you worked hard to get your finances in order but fell for someone who didn’t include that as a priority.
Some people are very rigid when it comes to their debt ratio. They don’t want anything to interfere with their buying power and ability to receive the best interest rate when they purchase things. This would be an automatic deal-breaker without discussion for rigid individuals. However, if your plans for this discussion are to move forward, then you should indeed work with your future spouse to overcome his or her past financial mistakes. Marriage is about becoming a team. Therefore, working together to improve your fiance's financial troubles will only make you all a stronger force to build the life together that you both desire.
Are you about to marry someone with or without children? Don’t take either for granted and make assumptions that the two of you will eventually have children. This is an issue I encourage you to have if nothing else. Be up-front during this discussion with each other. Therefore, ask the person you are in a relationship with if they want children. If you have a desire, especially women to have children, listen to their response very carefully. You see, what a lot of people don’t realize is that some individuals don’t want children because they are selfish and feel they are sharing you with the children. They fail to see that the children are just as much a part of them as they are of you. On the other hand, someone that already has children may feel comfortable in denying you in having any. My biggest concern here is that if the discussion of children does not take place, you run the risk of not finding out their lack of desire to have children until after you are married. Well of course, at this point, you are so in love, and your response to them is that it doesn’t matter. Because all you want is them. You are feeling deep in your heart that they will eventually have a change of heart. But to your surprise they don’t, you have given them the best of your years, a failed marriage because of that and it may be too late in life for you now. All of this could have been avoided, had the question been asked before marriage. It was in the beginning before the wedding that you had a choice to go in any way or wait on God to send you your soulmate.
Join me in the next edition for a continuation of questions that couples should ask prior to marriage. You might need to know. I’m Just Simply Saying.
If you have a topic or a question, you would like to have answered email: email@example.com
Blessings and Much Love,