When you get engaged, it’s easy to get lost in the details of the wedding. Should we really invite that long distance cousin that we haven’t seen in years? Is the photographer worth that much money? But those are only questions you should be asking for the wedding, not for the marriage. Here are five things we recommend you do before you get married to prepare for a healthy and fulfilling relationship with your partner.
1. Premarital Counseling
When you’ve been with someone for so long, it is easy to assume you know them completely. One of the biggest benefits of premarital counseling is having the space to learn more about each other – about your individual needs and wants in the relationship as well as your hopes and expectations. Premarital counseling is an amazing way to talk about the “big topics” and start defining any expectations that might have been unspoken before.
2. Discuss Sex Life and Sexual Fidelity
Discussing your sex life is important for any relationship! Don’t skip over this one. Here are some questions to make you think about your sex life and expectations.
What do you think of our sex life?
o What’s working for you and not working for you? Is there anything you want
to try or know you will never want to try?
How important is sex to you in a relationship?
o How often would you like to have sex? What should we do if our interest in
What turns you on?
How should we balance who initiates sex?
How can we say no to sex if we are not in the mood that doesn’t feel like rejection?
~ Pro tip: try to frame all sexual needs and desires in a positive way and avoid criticism. Say “I love it when” instead of “I don’t like when.”
It may feel odd to define what “cheating” is, but the definition of cheating is completely different for everybody – don’t assume you are both on the same page! Especially with modern technology! The lines may be blurrier that you think. Here are some questions to start defines those clear lines.
What do you consider cheating?
Do you watch porn and, if so, how often?
Is being subscribed to Only Fans cheating?
Is following Instagram models okay?
Is flirting with a coworker cheating?
Can you have an online dating profile for “entertainment purposes?”
How close can you be with friends of the gender you are attracted to?
Can you have friendships with ex’s?
3. Establish a Financial Plan with Your Partner
Most of us dread talking about finances, but it is crucial for you to have this discussion with your partner. Also, research suggests that finances are one of the top reasons for divorce! We all have our own history, family culture, and emotional experiences involving money and it's important to understand our partner's perspective! Below are some questions to get the conversation started.
How are we going to handle our money?
o Do you want to combine finances?
o What if one of us earns more than the other – or has more debt? Is my
money your money? Is my debt your debt?
How do you feel about separate vs shared bank accounts?
o Do we need to ask each other before making purchases of a particular size?
Will we talk about our finances on a weekly or monthly basis, or will one person mostly “handle” it?
o When will we start saving or investing, and how will we learn about it?
What are our shared financial goals?
Do you want a prenup?
4. Discuss Roles in Marriage
As you combine lives, it is easy to assume that the marriage will look like what you saw growing up. Maybe you grew up in a traditional household in which gender norms were strictly adhered to, maybe your mom cooked and cleaned while your father was responsible for the finances of the family. Or maybe you grew up in a household in which parents divided the chores with an established system, in which everyone took some responsibility over all areas of life. Regardless of what it is, you should discuss it with your partner so that you can be on the same page.
Here are some questions to think about:
Who will do the cooking?
o Will one person take the lead on cooking and grocery shopping, or will we
divide it somehow?
o Who did the cooking in your house when you were growing up?
How do you like to keep the house?
o How are we going to keep our place?
o How are going to split up housework like vacuuming or mopping or
cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms? How often will these tasks happen?
o Would you like to make paying someone else to do these chores a financial
What standard of living do you imagine us having?
How will we renegotiate if household work doesn’t feel equal
Bonus: checkout the documentary or book “Fairpaly” by Eve Rodosky. This book goes through all household and family duties and how to equally divide them up. Buy book from or affiliate page here and buy associated card deck here.
5. Discuss How You Want to Keep The Relationship Alive
In all marriages, you will have challenging moments. We can’t avoid them, but we can try to come into those challenges as intentional as possible.
How will we handle conflict?
If one of us is unhappy in our marriage, what should we do about it?
o Are you open to divorce? Are you open to counseling?
How are we going to keep our relationship alive?
o Should we make time for us? A weekly date or a monthly weekend getaway
or a yearly vacation or some combination?
How can we show dedication and intention towards maintaining and growing our relationship?
Ready to start planning your marriage? Our expert relationship therapists at Lone Wolf have immediate openings. Visit our premarital webpage or click here to schedule a phone consultation to learn more.