Top 5 To-Dos Before Saying - I Do?

Nick Davies

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1. DO allow yourself enough time to make one of your biggest life-altering decisions. Ask yourself why now and why with this person? You should be able to answer this in an affirming and positive way. The relationship should not be reactive to fill an empty space in your life, perhaps a past relationship, a surprise pregnancy, or the absence of family. Lots of people go into a relationship still having baggage from a previous one. If you deal with your previous relationship losses successfully, they won't come to haunt you or your future spouse later on. Also, keep in mind that opposites attract, but they are really hard to live with. The more in common you have with your spouse, the more likely the relationship will last.

2. DO discuss having children and if this is something as a couple you want to do. Also, discuss about how many children you'll plan to have and when you'll have them. What parenting practices will you adopt to raise your children? Who will stay at home or will both parties work? You should also define parenting roles as individuals and as a couple.

3. DO create a financial plan together. A lot of times people avoid talking about this, but you need to define financial goals and expectations beforehand. Don't just know how much your future spouse makes, but know the whole picture. Who will be in charge of balancing the checkbook? Will you join your accounts or will they be separate? What are your top financial goals together? People have different spending habits and different financial styles that are often influenced by family. What happens if one spouse starts spending excessively? How will this be handled? Speak with a financial planner and retain one together.

4. DO compare personal goals versus goals as a couple and the obstacles that may arise. If one party wants to move to California for a job promotion and the other desires to live near family in Florida, that's something to discuss now. How will you as a couple make life-altering decisions on which you may not agree? Surely, not all your goals will match that of your partner, but there needs to be decision-making beforehand on how to handle these differences. If one party longs to have children shortly after marrying, while the other wants to wait to start a family and hopes to attend graduate school, this could create tension in the marriage and lead down the road to separation or divorce.

5. DO decide on how to handle disputes. Conflict will arise in any relationship; it's a normal indicator of self expression and thought. Deciding on how to handle conflict will prevent big disputes and arguments that might be detrimental to the relationship. Decide ahead of time the rules for arguing and the limits. Set rules involving communication like no "walk always" or "put downs". This will allow you and your future spouse to effectively handle conflict when it arises, and surely it will. Also, agree to not let the little things get too big.

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A modern millennial guy with a cute little family. Located in Southern California. I like writing about fun topics that are interesting to learn about.

Corona, CA
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