As my partner and I have started having conversations about marriage this year, I realized I didn’t know him as much as I thought. The conversations were deep and tough. It was scary, but I’m glad we pushed it through.
Growing up in an environment where I had to witness my mother married more than twice and continuously had to adapt to the new “father” in the house made me feel uncomfortable.
Not necessarily because I didn’t like my new father, but it’s mentally draining to see my mother’s relationship fell apart every time.
When things got serious in my relationship, I knew we had to have conversations that we never had before. Some of them which I always avoided because I was too scared.
We all know communication is something that will break or make it in a relationship. There’s no better solution to a problem than come back and communicate with your partner when things go south.
So if you are planning to get married anytime soon, consider having these conversations first and get clear with what you want.
1. “Are we on the same page?”
Just like everyone else, for once, I thought love would be enough — no matter how incompatible I am with my partner. Because love always wins, right? Well, not really.
To build a long-lasting marriage, you need a partner that has the same values and life goals. It does not necessarily the same goals but making sure you are on the same path with certain areas such as religion, money decisions, and lifestyle.
2. “How many kids do we want to have?”
How many kids do you want to have? Does your partner want them too? If so, what are the plans? Unless you don’t mind both having kids or not in a marriage, this is a must-have conversation.
A year ago, I met this guy who said it would be a deal-breaker if his future partner wants to have kids because he doesn’t. So he made an effort to tell every girl he wanted to get serious with that kids are something that he can’t offer in the future.
Agree with this approach of communicating what you want at an early stage because if we are honest here, how often we heard people get divorced due to one of them doesn’t want to have kids? Too many.
Communication plays a huge role here. Even though you are sure you both want it, there’s no harm in further discussing the details. This to make sure there’s no misunderstanding in the long run.
3. “Who’s going to take care of the kids?”
Once you and your partner are certain about wanting to have kids or not, then it will be easier to discuss further related to this particular topic.
Being raised by a single parent has always made me have that mindset that I can’t be depending on my partner’s income all the time. I want to contribute to the family in any way that I can.
Luckily, my partner has no problem with my wish, and there’s no such black and white rule that I have to be the one who takes care of the kids, and he needs to be the breadwinner. We’ll do it together because we are a team.
If you haven’t talked about this topic, I suggest you start initiating the conversation first with your partner. Life will be different when the kids arrive, and you don’t want to wait until then because who knows if your partner actually doesn’t want you to go back to work and be a stay at home mom?
So this type of conversation is needed in order to avoid such conflict. You’ll get to know fully whether your partner is actually supportive of your career or not in the long run. No more guessing.
4. “How do we manage our money?”
I admit talking about money has always been my biggest struggle. Unlike my partner, who’s always comfortable and open about his financial life, I, on the other hand, feel very insecure about sharing them.
Until our marriage discussion, I realized that my partner didn’t know as much as I thought about this money insecurity. I was basically assuming things that he wasn’t even aware of.
This could be our deal breaker in the long run if we didn’t sit down and talk about it at the beginning. Yes, it was hard and uneasy.
5. “Are we going to split the chores?”
Yes, I put this on the list too.
Marriage life can be chaotic, especially when the kids come. Small things like taking out the garbage or cleaning the kitchen can turn into huge arguments if there’s no clear discussion at the beginning.
If arguments related to the chores happen too often, it might break your relationship and the trust you have for your partner.
To avoid this thing to happen in the future, it’s better to talk openly about it before you and your partner decided to get married. Most couples ignore it because it doesn’t seem like a big deal, and they think they can go with the flow later. However, I value open communication highly, so I always make sure to talk it out, even about chores.
Another advantage of having this discussion at the beginning is that it can prepare both of you and your partner to be more ready and definitely responsible later on.
6. “Where should we settle down?”
My partner and I like to travel, and we both also came from a different country, so this discussion about where to settle later on was the most challenging one.
In the end, we chose Vancouver, Canada, to be the place where we’ll settle and build a house. We thought it’s only fair to both of us as we didn’t choose to live either in Indonesia or India.
If you don’t have this issue and absolutely know where to live together once you get married, good for you! But if you are like me in interracial relationships, this one topic can be tricky to bring up.
I also sometimes noticed those who even live in the same country still find a hard time deciding where they should live.
That’s why bringing up this discussion at least once is necessary because then you know whether you are on the same page in terms of a place to live or not. Who knows your partner still wants to explore the world and maybe try out the idea of living abroad for a couple of years? You’ll only find out the answer if you sit down and have a conversation with your partner.
Whatever the result might be, I assure you that you’ll get more understanding about each other wants and needs. It’s no doubt that communication is key to building a strong, healthy marriage.
Nothing is black and white in life. But seeing multiples failures from my mother’s marriage and knowing clearly that there were lacks of communication has made me realize how important it is to have at least a big picture of how it’s going to be when I get married to my partner.
If you are still hesitant to open up a conversation with your partner related to this, think of it as you are doing your relationship a favor. Trust me, all of those uncomfortable thoughts, awkward silences, and little arguments are worth it.