When Ellen McCarthy Rosenthal was reporting weddings for The Washington Post, she came across one particularly interesting couple. The bride-to-be proved to be a social worker and before she and her partner moved in together, they crafted a list of 200 questions at her suggestion that triumphed dramatically, from”what’s your expectation of how much time we’re going to spend with your loved ones?” To”How do you really feel about dishes being left at the sink?”
“It was unbelievably granular and comprehensive,” says Rosenthal, author of The Real Thing: Lessons on Life and Love from a Wedding Reporter’s Notebook. “She really wanted to understand what they each expected because she figured that could help mitigate battle. It had been smart, but the rest of us only go fumbling into it.”
Fumbling is the first way to place it. Even though the divorce rate in America has been decreasing, there are plenty of problems that can trip up a happy union — such as money, sex, religion, and child rearing. And, many couples have difficulty addressing difficult questions before they walk down the aisle.
“My first wedding was in Vegas with an Elvis impersonator at which we did not talk about anything original,” states Amiira Ruotola, who co-authored the forthcoming publication How to Keep Your Marriage From Sucking together with her husband, Greg Behrendt. “We really thought love would conquer everything and didn’t realize that there are big conversations that love simply doesn’t care for.”
A big part of having to know whether your partner is a good fit is interrogating your own preferences and goals. “We so often feel that it is about who this other individual is but who are you?” Says Daphne de Marneffe, a clinical psychologist and the author of recently released The Rough Patch: Marriage and the Art of Living Together. “You need to tell the truth about it. It’s fine to be a person with needs and to tell somebody what works for you. People often think that if they don’t raise these questions they will just go off, and that’s not true.”
Rosenthal says that the happiest, most successful couples she fulfilled all had one thing in common: reasonable expectations. “They went right into this with their eyes wide open, known their differences and understood marriage would be hard,” she states. “It is the men and women who expect it to be perfect who are disappointed.”
So to ensure that you’re entering a conscious, harmonious and healthy venture, here are five suggestions from specialists That You Ought to ask yourself before getting married:
1. Is this relationship honest?
When planning a union, you might be inclined to discuss how you’re going to split financing, but what about the equilibrium of emotional labor? If a single person is giving more, undermining and focusing on fulfilling the other partner’s demands, a reassessment is in order, says de Marneffe. “An unbalanced thing may come back and bite you. Spending all your energy maintaining one person joyful becomes way too much of a burden when you will find children and mortgages and ill parents.”
2. How did my parents instill certain expectations?
While each couple is unique, it is important to analyze your parents and other relatives contributed to your expectations regarding family life. Ruotola says she and Behrendt quickly learned that they had quite different frames of reference: In her family, the children always came first. In Behrendt’s household, his parents’ marriage was main and the children were expected to become independent. “You don’t just intuitively know what family means to another person, and you can not expect them to understand what it means to you,” she states
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Getting Married
3. Do I want children?
Some differences are harder to negotiate than the others. If one spouse does need children and another does not, it’s going to be challenging to discover a compromise. “If you want children, don’t continue to maintain a relationship where another party isn’t certain they [do],” Barbara Grossman and Dr. Michael Grossman, co-authors of The Marriage Map, lately advised over email. “We advise that you politely and lovingly tell your partner that should they change their thoughts they could allow you to understand, but in the meantime, you’re going to be dating other people.”
4. What are my goals in life and are they compatible with my partner’s goals?
Make sure you’re clear on what you need — both today and 10 years down the road. Rob Scuka, executive director of the National Institute of Relationship Enhancement, says that it’s important to interrogate your huge life objectives and ensure they are sufficiently in sync with your partner’s big life goals. “If one person wants something radically different, you are going argue about it,” he states. Instead of making implicit assumptions, make sure you get clarity before you get married.
5. What am I going to do to prepare for my marriage?
Rosenthal met a great deal of couples that were really ready for their wedding , but few who were actively thinking about how to construct a thriving marriage. “We believe that love and relationships should be instinctive, but that is baloney,” she states. “We need to obtain the tools to be good at relationships.” Rosenthal encourages couples to generate a plan, whether that is reading books with healthy relationships, getting counseling to iron out the problems that have already emerged or going to a marriage instruction workshop.