Finding yourself in a relationship headed toward marriage can be thrilling, comforting, and even a bit scary. Thankfully, you have that crucial engagement period to make sure you and your SO are both on the same page. But even before the rings start popping out of boxes, there are essential questions you should ask yourself before you get engaged. Making sure you hammer down these answers now can save both you and your SO a lot of headaches down the line.
For instance, do you see yourself moving to a new city, changing careers, or expanding your family? These are all things to discuss with your partner. After all, it would suck to be halfway through your engagement before discovering you both disagree about how to parent (or whether to have children at all.) Unfortunately, it's pretty easy to make assumptions about your plans together without really getting the details all hammered out.
Sure, the soul-searching and questioning may be tough. But knowing what you want, and communicating those desires with your partner, is the only way to be certain you're both headed into the engagement as a team. Read on to make sure you and your partner are prepared to take that next step toward the altar.
1. Are You Comfortable With Yourself?
The cliche is true: you have to love yourself before you can love someone else. As noted in The Huffington Post, no partner can fix your life for you. It's still up to you to like yourself and find the happiness in your own life. Codependence is not cute.
2. What Do You Expect From Marriage?
Even if you and your partner are from similar backgrounds, you may have vastly different expectations about the world of marriage. There's no right answer to this question, but it's helpful for you to talk about every aspect of married life, from housework to bills to vacation plans, well in advance. After all, it's only fair to make sure you're both actually headed toward the same goal, and not just resting on assumptions.
3. What Are Your Future Career Plans?
Granted, outlining your 5-year-plan is not the most romantic of gestures. And of course, life is always more than happy to throw a few curveballs your way, regardless of your plans. But it's still an important consideration. For instance, will you and your SO be a dual-career couple, as noted in the Harvard Business Review? This may require some compromises in the work-life balance department. If you're a CPA, for example, then you may not have a lot of time to spare for date night during tax season. It's all about striking a balance that works for both of your lives.
4. How's The Sex?
When the initial new-relationship lust has faded, where do you and your SO stand? It's important to make sure you and your partner have relatively similar libidos, because a discrepancy in desire is a common cause of relationship problems, as noted in Glamour. Be honest about your desire for desire.
5. How Well Do You Fit Together Financially?
It's the other giant bugaboo of marriage: money. As noted on The Huffington Post, financial incompatibility is a huge cause of divorce. Are you and your SO both cool with your spending and saving habits? Sometimes, swapping credit scores can feel like the most intimate act of all.
6. Where Do You Want To Live?
Maybe you plan on staying in your current city for the rest of your life, whereas your partner is actually serious about that desire to live in another country for a few years. How likely are you to move for career or family reasons in the next few years? It's something to keep in mind.
7. What Do You Want From A Wedding?
Some people want an elaborate affair with a triple-digit guest list. For others, eloping at city hall is more than sufficient. Make sure you're on the same page about what a wedding would mean for you (especially as far as the budget is concerned).
8. How Do You Want To Celebrate Holidays?
Sure, it's important to decide how to celebrate major holidays, whether you create new holiday traditions together or follow one family's typical routine. But don't forget the smaller holidays, too. Some people love going out for Valentine's Day, whereas others find a crowded restaurant the least-romantic place in the world. How will you mark these occasions, too?
9. What About Kids?
This may be the most important question of all, because you can't compromise and have half a baby. Making sure you're ready to have a baby is a huge deal for any relationship. Where do you and your partner stand?
10. Are You Kind To One Another?
In a long-term relationship, it's easy to let certain niceties slide over time. But according to a piece in The Atlantic, kindness is one of the most important qualities in a long-term relationship. Contempt and criticism, on the other hand, can tear you apart.
11. Are Your Lifestyles Compatible?
Sure, opposites can indeed attract, and it's important for couples to have their own interests and hobbies. But interests can sometimes clash. Someone who's really into a plant-based diet may not click well with a partner who's taken up an intense pork BBQ hobby, for instance. Make sure you can support one another's lifestyle choices, even when they're different.