Holiday season is engagement season for a lot of couples, but how many of them will be ready for this big decision? Adrienne C. Laursen, LMFT, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and owner of The Engagement Coach, provides five very important topics that all couples should discuss before getting engaged.
Marriage is exciting but also a lot of work at times. Make sure you're both ready for this long-term commitment by discussing these topics before getting engaged:
1. Do You Like Your Partner's Personality & Habits
Make sure you like your partner for who he/she is because people will not change just because they get married. In fact, more of their personality characteristics and flaws will emerge the more comfortable they get in the relationship and the longer you're together. Be sure you have some things in common, or at least be interested in finding something in common. Be sure you can live with each other's annoying habits and know each other's weaknesses before committing to forever.
2. Evaluate Your Communication & Conflict
Is it already difficult to work through difficult issues? If you're having trouble communication and handling conflict when you're dating, it's really important to work on those core relationship issues before you get engaged. A lot of couples think those issues will just work themselves out, and for some they do, however that's not usually the case. It's important to learn how to resolve conflict, not just sweep it under the rug.
3. Sex & Money
Why lump these two together, you ask? Because they're often the most uncomfortable topics for couples to discuss! Are you able to openly discuss sexual expectations as a couple? Do you feel you can communication with one another if you're unhappy in this area and is your partner willing to listen to your wants and needs. Have you talked about how many times per week you expect sex? Similarly, money is another difficult topic for couples to discuss, especially if one or both partners have debt or completely opposite spending habits. It's also very important to discuss how you both feel about spending and saving, and what you anticipate your financial future will look like.
4. Marriage Expectations
Discuss your expectations for marriage and a life together. This should include money, traditions, religion/spirituality, children, lifestyle, etc. Do you have similar goals as a couple for the rest of your lives? What do you each want to accomplish in life?
5. Your Families of Origin
Know each other's families and be sure you can live with them in your life. It's also important to learn from your partner what they liked and disliked about growing up in their family of origin. How did they celebrate holidays and birthdays, how did each set of parents handle conflict and show affection?
For more information on Adrienne's counseling services and relationship tips, please visit her website at www.TheEngagementCoach.com