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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 19, 2005

    Default Spinoff: What did you talk about before Marriage?

    This is a spinoff of the thread about Married couples and how they work their bank accounts and funds. SO and I have talked about marriage but there are still a lot of things we need to discuss I think (kids, money, religion).

    What did you make sure you talked about with your SO before you got married? What do you wish you had talked about (and didn't) before you got married?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May. 6, 2003


    Kids. We weren't planning to have any. Oops. This has to be one of the biggest things you should talk about -- there's really no way to compromise on this.

    Money. We both earn, put into one pot, and I manage.

    How we would handle our career situations (his requires a lot of moving, which isn't so great for mine).

    Expectations related to keeping our house (inside and outside) and who would do what. (I cook, he cleans the kitchen. He does grocery shopping off of a list I make. I do laundry, he helps fold and put away. We both clean the house, do yard work, take care of the dogs).

    I'm sure there are other things, but those were the big ones. You'd be surprised how the little day to day stuff becomes the most complicated to handle.
    According to the Mayan calendar, the world will not end this week. Please plan your life accordingly.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct. 3, 2007


    We talked about everything. I didn't leave a stone unturned. Right down to letting dogs sleep in the bed.

    Many churches offer pre-cana classes that will help you talk about things. And remind you of issues that you should consider.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr. 28, 2008


    kids, money, religion are the big ones.

    Where you want to live -- city? rural? near family? NOT near family?

    What your goals are professionally (are they compatible? for instance, DH wanted to be a professor, I wanted to get back to living on a farm. He'd rather be in a city but we now live on a farm in a midwest college town where he is a professor)

    What your version of "having a family" is like if you want kids (will you work or stay at home? Will you split 50/50 or does mom handle most childcare while dad provides the bacon?)

    How will you handle your hobbies? (DH knew since before we dated that I will always have a horse absent unforeseen circumstances like war/nuclear disaster/etc. so that must always be in the budget. And I need enough time to ride a few times a week. I have known since early on that DH will want to spend more $$ than I would prefer on travelling. It works because we bought into it.)

    What are the families like and how will you handle them? Will you be willing to help out, financially and otherwise, if a family member needs assistance?

    What do you envision for your parents' old age and is your spouse going to be supportive? (key especially if you imagine taking a parent in)

    I could go on...note that you don't have to agree or be the same on these. Religion, for example. DH is Catholic, I am not. but he takes our kid to Mass and I go every now and then. I am supportive of his religion and he doesn't pressure me to practice it. I try to avoid overly-negative comments about Catholic Church edicts. That is comfortable for both of us.

    The devil you know, and all that.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb. 17, 2009


    Kids was the big make or break factor. We agreed on no children and that agreement was for life.

    Not so much money because we keep it separate.
    Not so much hobbies i.e horses because he knew he was marrying the horse. I guess we have a simple marriage that did not require what is expected of one another before we walked the isle.

    We lived together for a bit before hand so I knew what I was in for. Nothing tells what your life story will be more than actually living it first without the ring on it

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr. 29, 2006
    Evansville, Wisconsin


    Quote Originally Posted by fordtraktor View Post
    What do you envision for your parents' old age and is your spouse going to be supportive? (key especially if you imagine taking a parent in)
    That's a good one that's easy to forget about.

    DH and I didn't talk about it beforehand, but we should have, and fortunately we seem to be on the same page. I'm an only child and I'm very close to my (single) mother, so it's likely that at some point I'll be looking after her. We've talked about eventually buying a large place for ourselves where she can have at least a first-floor bedroom and bathroom of her own in our home if she ever needs it. And he was very understanding when I stayed with her for a while after she had surgery.

    DH's mom is very close to his sister, his dad married a much younger woman, and my dad is a selfish twit so he's on his own :P

    Honestly DH and I didn't talk much before we got married, but we'd known each other since we were kids, and we already lived together and had a child together, so there really wasn't much else to talk about at that point
    "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
    -Edward Hoagland

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug. 24, 2009


    DH and I are both 'researchers' - any time we are interested in anything, from a hobby to a major purchase, our instinct is to buy a book and learn about whatever it is.

    Our relationship is no different - we picked up a book about "Questions to Ask Before You Get Married" and left in the car. While we were dating and engaged we lived a few hours apart (he was finishing school, I had already graduated and started working) so whenever we were roadtripping to visit one family or the other, or off to the beach for a long weekend, etc - we asked each other questions out of the book and had long, long discussions. (DH is my favorite person in the world and a fascinating person to talk with - so this was not a chore.)

    By the time we got married we had discussed a lot of the big things. We do not have the same political or religious views, but we respect our differences and place an extremely high value on intellectual freedom. (So, it's not important to us to agree, it's important that we both feel free to believe what we choose. Even when our beliefs are in opposition to each other - I trust that he has made an educated decision that feels right to him, and that's good enough.)

    We have been together for 9 years, married for 7. I'm glad we had all the discussions we did, and still do. I am delighted to report that learning about your spouse can be a long-term adventure. ;-)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 14, 2006


    There are actually some really great online resources as far as a pre-marital questionnaire that can get you going in the right direction. Or you can do some pre marital counseling with either a therapist or with a clergy if you're a member of a church. Also lots of good books out there.

    But generally, finances--not just how you're going to compile your money (separate, joint, combo of both) but what your actual spending habits ARE. My husband didn't really think twice about dropping a grand on a new TV when he was making $$, but I, no matter how much I had at my disposal, was so used to being poor that every 20 dollars was met with "what if I need this for something else?" And since he already had kids, getting on the same page about how our money would be spent on them was something to discuss.

    Household rules and participation. Who does laundry? Both of you? one of you? Whomever is home and has time?

    Cooking and cleaning up after dinner!!! Our rule is that if I cook, you clean. I love to cook, but I hate cleaning. He hates to cook and doesn't mind cleaning. That works.

    Religion. Where are you in that.


    Spending time with other family like parents/grandparents/cousins/uncles/aunts/siblings.

    I came from a small family that was dispersed around the country. I had family "obligations" once a year tops. His family? OMG! They live no more than 5 min away tops (his sister, a cousin, and an aunt actually live ON MY STREET). And they are keen on impromptu dinners and events with no more than an hours' notice at times where I'm expected to bring food. And they eat at like 5pm on weekdays while I'm still in another town working! AND they stop by unannounced which drives me BATTY. That has been a big adjustment for us.

    So has ex wife. Ex wife spent several years expecting extra money, that my now DH would come fix whatever needed to be fixed--that was a discussion.

    How to treat/manage his kids.

    Some of those discussions might not pertain to you, but I'm just throwing them out there.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 2010
    On The Farm In New England


    Everything but kids & money were/are key. We did required pre-marital counseling with our minister. He had us set an amount that we had to discuss before spending. Could be $20 or 10's of thousands. Completely depends were you are financially. It has worked for us.

    A little funny that my DH never lets me forget. Went to Ocala a few years ago to watch one of my babies run. Fell for a puppy. Long story short, the puppy, flight changes/addition, and equipment cost just a few (literally) dollars less than our agreed upon amount. I happily presented our new puppy in an Easter basket to our girls and quietly slipped my husband my envelope with the pertienent puppy receipts. I think he wanted to KILL me but couldn't stop laughing!

    Good luck. Find the right guy and marriage is a wonderful thing!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan. 19, 2009


    I'm not Catholic, but highly recommend the "Engaged Encounter" weekend, or something similar. We did this prior to our marriage, and it was great. It's a very structured set of questions (money, religion, family, kids, wedding plans, chores, priorities, etc.) that you go through as a couple over the course of a weekend.

    It's affiliated with the Catholic church (my husband is "vaguely Catholic"), but the program is really not religious in nature.

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