(Closed) Discussions to have before getting married or engaged

posted 9 years ago in Relationships
Post # 3
4024 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I don’t know what is “supposed” to be discussed, but some of the things we have discussed are:

Having kids, at what age and how to raise them

Money and how to spend


How to spend holidays

Buying a house

Hope it helps!

Post # 4
11325 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2011

Ummm lots of stuff! Here’s a list off the top of my head: 

What your career plans are for the future?

How important your careers are to you (do you live to work or work to live?)?

How likely would you be to want/need to move from your current location?

How will you handle finances? Will you merge all accounts or will you keep some separate accounts?

How do you feel about prenups?

How many kids (if any) do you want? 

If you want kids… who is going to make career sacrifices to make that happen? How do you feel about one of you staying home? 

How do you plan to handle your families? What if a parent needs to move in? 

How will you make decisions about money and children? 


Post # 5
43 posts
  • Wedding: December 1969

Well, theres the basic list like if you both want kids, how many, will both of you work when you have kids…Then theres more intricate questions like how will you handle finances-share all of your money, split costs, do you ask permission before making big purchases. There are soooo many things that are good to talk about before marriage; whether everyone does or not is a different story.

I actually got a text from my married sister last week that said my Fiance and I should talk about how we will handle report cards once we have kids. Apparently they didn’t agree on what constituted a decent report card and a bad one and it caused drama-for-your-mama in there household. Yikes!!!

I think its great your getting ideas about what to discuss now though..hopefully the advice will be helpful.

Post # 6
2404 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

separate / joint checking accounts


definitely kids

where u want to live

Post # 7
5273 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2009

Its important that you two are on the same page so you should discuss:

Money: How you handle finances (ex. seperate accounts, joint, who will be the primary person that handles the money)


Careers & Goals

Home Buying

Location: Some of my friends refuse to move, so the topic of would you be willing to move is important to some.

Boundries: mainly dealing with what you & he deem unacceptable behavior

Expectations of one another (physically, emotionally, spiritually, & economically)

Post # 8
2090 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

Here’s some I would definitely NOT get engaged/married without having discussed first:

1. Your current financial position and (credit score, salaries, etc.). Financial history.
 If bad credit, why? (i.e., pattern of poor choices or a valid, one time blip you are fixing?). How will you handle money once married (joint accounts?).

2. Career goals, plans. (concrete plans, not just dreams). Plans of action.

3. How many kids to have? When to have them? When will you start/how will you fund college accounts? Views on spanking/punishments? Your concerns (kids only eating organic, going to private vs. public school, etc. – whatever you feel strongly about).

4. Religion – or lack of. In which religion will you raise your kids? (if any)

5. Neat-freak divide – where do you and Fiance fall? Will a big divide in your level of neatness bother the other? How will you handle that?

6. How will you divide house cleaning chores – cooking, cleaning, etc.

7. What are your lifestyle priorities (having a new car every 2 years, buying a home, having cable, reducing your carbon footprint, lots of travel, etc.?)

Post # 9
1566 posts
Bumble bee

To add to the great lists that have been posted already:

Our main conflicts have been about our parents, so definitely figure out  how close you want to be to each set of parents. Also, when parents get older, what sort of support do you plan to offer each.

Pets was another big one – which kind? how many? how much money would you be willing to spend on their health?

In terms of kids, besides talking about general timing, number of kids and child-rearing principles, we have found it helpful to ask specifics like “Would you send them to public or private school? What if they wanted to date someone we didn’t like?” “Would we use spanking/yelling/etc?” Not because you need to know the details far ahead of time, but more to understand how the other person thinks about these topics.

We also discussed how we would decorate the house, but I think that’s extra 🙂

Post # 10
1813 posts
Buzzing bee

sorry if already covered:

# of kids, when, basic philosophy on abortion/adoption/fostering, fertility treatments      (these may seem intense, but I’ve had some big ah-ha moments after discussing the above)

religion/holidays/how to raise kids “morally”/religiously

credit scores, spending philosophy, saving $ for kids’ college, bank accts (shared?), retirement/401k philosophy

how to handle fights w/ inlaws

what about your rel’nship is “private”

homeowning philosophy

combining households/decor

sexual expectations

where to live (long-term)

pet philosophy

engagement expetions?

who will be the primary caregiver and division of other household tasks    

things that are “deal breakers” or “hot issues specific to you”I think there are books on this topic you can check out.

and after you are engaged, getting a joint will

Post # 11
2280 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

The biggies: beliefs, kids, finances, goals. Outside of that:

  • Why are we getting married?
  • Why are we marrying each other?
  • How do we envision marriage? (preferred division of responsibilities and “roles”)
  • How do we express our love to each other?
  • …And other emotions? (Anger, forgiveness, etc.)
  • *points to AnnieAAA’s post: boundaries and expectations*

LOL…and make sure you turn these things into a discussion, not a questionnaire!

Post # 12
305 posts
Helper bee

Oh my, there are many things two people should discuss before they get engaged/married.  Sorry for any repeats.

1. Money.  As the number 1 source of conflict for most married people and one of the leading reasons for divorce and related arguments, it is important to discuss money.  Saving v. spending habits, credit histories/scores, current debt, who will be responsible for paying the bills, joint v. separate accounts, how much each of your will contribute to the bills (50/50 or another division depending on if one makes more/has more debt).  And while his debt doesn’t legally become your debt (and vice versa) it will impact your spending habits and future plans, so it has to be dealt with sometime.  Would either of you want/need a prenup?

2.  Housing/Location.  Assuming you don’t already live together already, either one or both of you will need to move sometime.  Will buying a home and moving in together be a priority?  Maybe one of you moving into the other’s house/apartment?  And if neither of you own property yet, is purchasing a house/condo/townhouse important to either of you?  If so, what is your timeline for that?

3. Career/Education.  Are you and your SO already working in the careers both of you want?  Do either of you have plans to continue your education/switch careers?

4. Children.  If/When will you be having children?  If so, how many?  What are your parenting styles/beliefs?  Is private school/moving to a new district/home schooling something you feel strongly about?

5. Family.  If either of your parents gets sick/needs support, who will they stay with?  Or will you contribute financially to their care?  Who will you be spending major holidays with?

6. Religon.  Are you and your SO the same faith?  If so, is it something you are intent to practicing in the future?  If not, will someone be converting?  Or agree to make each a priority in your lives?  What religion will your children be raised in?
7. Division of work.  Is someone expected to do all the housework/cleaning/cooking or will the tasks be divided by likes/dislikes and time/work schedule constraints?
That’s all I can really think about at the moment.  But one of the benefits about these types of conversations is that there are no surprises or missed expectations later down the road.  And it provides an invaluable opportunity to learn about each other’s communication styles (are all these topics easy to discuss or do they start arguments) all while providing deeper insight into the person that you will hopefully be spending the rest of your life with.

Post # 13
14186 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

In addition to the ones above (all muy importante),

What if you can’t get pregnant? What kinds of options are you open to, together? We’ve had every tough discussion in the book, right down to, “what if i go on medication and end up pregnant with triplets?” or surrogacy or adoption.

How will you feel about handling difficult issues with your kids? What if your teenage daughter comes home pregnant? What if your kid gets into drugs? How do you handle stuff like this?

Long-term financial goals? When do we want to retire? How do you believe in spending large portions of money? Savings or what?

We’ve talked about how to handle dual-parenting working households. If he works and I works (we won’t not work unless we can’t get a job), what kind of care do we want our kids to have? A full time nanny? An au pair? Daycare? Daycare is 20K a year where we live–is it worth the extra 10K to have a nanny? How do we feel about putting that much money towards that?

Do we want to pay for our kids to go to college? I believe in paying if we can, Darling Husband doesn’t want to pay for anything, like cars, college, etc.

How will you keep you+SO time separate from family/kids time? We talked about vacations, flying my mom up, and letting her babysit. We’re having the talk now so we both know that WE are #1 priority, not our kids. If we take care of each other, we’ll provide a stronger parenting foundation and teach our kids love and respect by doing unto each other.


Post # 15
1280 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

this is an awesome post! thanks for sharing ladies!

Post # 16
1490 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

These are all great. I’d like to add that in addition to discussing what you want for your life and how you would handle a problem, both parts of the couple should discuss how to resolve their disagreements over something major: like whose career gets priority and when. Gottman’s book has a wonderful section in his chapter on “Love Maps” of some fundamental questions to know the answers to regarding one’s spouse.

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