Things to ask your partner before you get married
It starts with the small things. Friday night drinks with friends. Sunday breakfast at the latest hipster café. Romantic rendezvous at posh restaurants. The weekend getaway. The bank-breaking anniversary gift. Sometimes you go dutch, sometimes you pick up the tab. Costs add up, and you realise you’re not saving enough—enough to wonder if this is the lifestyle you want.
And then it’s time to get married.
Expectations about finances is a key topic that can cause relationship stress, but how do you broach the subject without resulting in any major strain in the relationship? After all, planning your finances as a married couple is very different from two attached individuals making financial decisions randomly. Before you walk down the aisle, it’s best to have a heart-to-heart money talk with your future spouse. Here are some ideas on how you could go about it.
How should we manage our finances?
With a lifetime ahead, it is important to get a good idea of where the both of you stand. Figure out, between the both of you, who’s better at handling money and delegate the budgeting, bill and mortgage payments to them. Do both of you have a common goal, such as travelling? One way to start saving up for it is to set up a joint account where each chips in a certain amount each month towards your goal.
What pleasures are we willing to sacrifice in order to suffice?
Little luxuries add up. It might be impulse buys, or the habit of dining out every other day. Do hollandaise eggs really taste better than soft-boiled eggs? It’s a matter of perspective. Be as gentle as possible when bringing up observations about spending patterns, and be prepared to listen objectively to what your partner has to say. Whatever the lifestyle change you are seeking, be sure to explain your concerns and offer a compromise. Start with something that they are comfortable with and then gradually ween off those extra expenses.
Where are we planning to live?
Would you be opting to get a place of your own, or stay with the family/in-laws after marriage? If it’s the former, when are you planning to buy a property, and what’s your budget? Balance out the cost of a home purchase against your other financial commitments. Care-giving for future kids should be considered as well, and could indeed make staying with the in-laws not such a difficult proposition. If you have second thoughts about this, a pillow talk with your future spouse might be necessary to find an amicable solution.
Do we want kids (or pets)?
Perhaps you imagined a future with kids running around the home, but does your partner share this dream? The conflict can begin when one of you wants kids in the near future, while the other prefers to focus on growing their career. It is important to get the common themes in sync. Sit down with your partner and see where kids, or even pets, fit into the picture. Work out how the both of you would want to start growing your family. Once you reach an agreement, talk about the financial adaptations you’ll have to make and prepare for.
While some of these topics have the potential to grow into fault lines in a relationship, remember that the two of you are working together as a team to figure out what you both want as a married couple. Not only will these honest and open discussions bring you closer as a couple, but they would help you work towards a harmonious relationship forward, hand-in-hand.