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Lots and lots of planning goes into your wedding day, but the most planning should go into your partnership that is going to last many, many years after the big day. There are some HUGE conversations that you have to have with your fiancé before you say your I do's. Get all of these discussions out of the way long before you start planning the wedding so that you can decide if he or she is really the one for you.
Your Last Name
Will you take his? Will he take yours? Will you hyphenate? Or will you go with something modern and create a new family name together? Making it clear what you expect to happen to your name is a big deal. If you have no plans of changing your last name and want to keep your maiden name, you need to let him know.
For some people, it's a big deal that their spouse is of the same faith, while for others, it doesn't really matter. It is important to let your significant other know what your plans are as far as your faith is concerned during and after the wedding. This way, if it's a deal-breaker, you know now. Some people choose to convert for their spouse, while others don't mind that their spouse doesn't want to practice the same religion.
This was a big one for me. When my husband and I started to get serious, I wanted to put it out there that I love kids and that I plan on having a big family whenever the time comes. Fortunately, my sweet hubby felt the same way. This isn't always the case for some couples. If you know you definitely don't want kids, you need to make that known right away. If you want a large family, make that known as well. This isn't a disagreement you need to have after the honeymoon when it's too late. If you are both on the same page about having kids, discuss the way you plan to raise them. Some folks choose to be super-strict, while others tend to be more laid back.
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This is a big one, too. There is so much discussion that goes under the "money" umbrella. Once you start discussing your future together, start by talking about your outstanding debt that has to be paid off. Will you be paying this off yourself, or do you expect your spouse to help with that debt? Discuss finances in general as well, going over little things such as shopping sprees, budgets, and miscellaneous purchases. Also, discuss whether or not you expect to share bank accounts or keep everything separate. With this, talk about bill-paying and expectations about that.
Chances are good that your special someone probably already knows everything about you. But just in case, you should make sure that you share all of your past and any secrets that you may have. If there was something that shaped the person you are today, your future spouse should know about it. If there are things that may come back to haunt you, they need to know that as well, just in case they ever need to be able to help you.
It's pretty important that your fiancé knows about your future and career plans. If you plan on going into the military, your spouse will be expected to move around the world with you. If you are planning on going to graduate school, your spouse needs to know that they will be supporting you for a time. If you plan on having a career that will cause you to work 80 hours a week, this is an important thing to discuss as well.
We all have our demons that we hide from the world, but some are worse than others. If you have a struggle in your life, make sure that your fiancé knows it before you walk down the aisle. Chances are good that they only want to love you through it, but they definitely need to know. Discuss possible addiction problems, things such as rage or depression, and all of your bad habits.
We all have folks we want to stay in contact with who have been important people in our lives, but these people need to be discussed before you make a permanent partnership. Discuss flirting, having or hanging out with friends of the opposite sex, and relationships with exes. This one was a big one for me, too, as private social media messaging is not always harmless between exes. I had to discuss that this was a real boundary that I did not want him to cross. At the same time, I do not want to cross this boundary myself, out of respect for my husband.
After you've discussed things that need to have definite boundaries, discuss those things that are definite no-no's in your relationship. Talk about things such as "single" nights out with friends, drinking late into the night without your spouse, spending large amounts of money without your spouse's knowledge, and working long hours.
You will have your own home with your new husband or wife, but you will have time spent with your families as well. Be sure to discuss the amount of time you will spend with your extended families. If you plan to have your mother over for dinner every night, your spouse needs to know this. If you plan to have a weekend each month when you go home to visit your parents, they should know that this is an expectation as well.
If you are from the city and your spouse-to-be is aching to get out to the country and buy your first home on 100 acres of property, this is an important thing to discuss. Talk about where you want to spend the rest of your life, where you want to raise your kids, and how you want to live. One spouse may want apartment life forever, and the other may want to own a home as soon as possible.
Your physical relationship is very important after you've been married a while and you get into the mundane rigors of everyday life. It is important to have a plan in place before the wedding day in order to stay connected with your spouse-to-be. Make a commitment to have weekly or biweekly date nights or a weekend away each month. Discuss your expectations about sex, too, so that you have a clear picture about what your fiancé likes and expects.
Everybody argues, and no one is immune to an occasional tiff here or there. Before you plan to say "I do," you need to make a plan for what to do in the face of an argument. Some couples vow not to go to bed angry, while others commit to allowing each person to listen while the other one talks and not speaking until he or she is finished talking. Whatever method of communication works best for the two of you, be sure to have it in place before your first disagreement.
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If you expect that your hubby is going to take out the trash but you've never discussed it, don't be surprised when the garbage can is overflowing and he's wondering why you never took the bag out. Discuss all household expectations before you get married so that you have a plan in place. There will be no arguments if you already know what he or she is expecting you to do. If she loves to cook, don't assume that she wants to be the chef every night of the week. If you both love a clean bathroom, be sure to make a plan about who will clean it and when.
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