From professional advice from industry players, to real experiences from married couples, we have researched and shared with you as many tips and pointers for that perfect wedding. But let us be real for a moment as we go out on a limb to put it simply that a wedding is just a day, while a marriage is a lifetime.
Before you get caught up in the whirlwind of wedding preparations, sit down with the love of your life to reflect on the people both of you want to become. Work, prepare and plan for the lifetime of commitment. So here are a few must-have conversations we feel are important before you say your “I Dos”.
- Your Past
It is only natural in the early stages of a relationship that you paint the best picture of yourself. And you shudder, you cringe at the mere thought of exposing your past, where the dark and tainted periods of your life are highlighted for the world to see.
But guess what, be it previous relationships, family history or significant experiences of the good or bad, your past holds a crucial role in shaping your present and made you who you are today.
Since your life is now shared, it is only fair to be transparent with your partner on things that are not exactly easy to talk about. Skeletons in the closet hardly stay hidden, eventually the rattling of the bones will creep up on you. And it is only right if your significant other hears the past directly from you, rather than them finding out from somebody else. Revealing the real you might also be a true test to see whether they are in it for the long run. Because if you’d asked us, it is either all of you, or none of you.
- Family Matters
Marriage equates a family. And the question on having children is definitely essential to bring up. But it does not stop there. Ask yourselves questions like what will your parenting style be, how are your children going to be disciplined if they disobey, in what kind of environment is your child going to be brought up, what roles will both of you take on – just to name a few. And maybe if bearing a child is challenging, will you ever consider adopting if necessary?
Marrying your partner also means marrying his or her family. How will your relationship be with your in-laws? Will your spouse prioritise their parents over you? And have you discussed the living arrangements if your parents reach a point where they are unable to take care of themselves?
Then again, as time passes, new questions will come to light and decisions are made with more insight. But never take lightly of combining two families together. The absence of a proper discussion will lead to strain and stress in your marriage as it is not just about both your needs now.
The things of the world have no place in true love. But there is no denying that the issue of money can sometimes be the root of discord in a marriage. Getting hitched opens up a host of legal, tax and financial questions that couples overlook, hence they get trapped in this financial struggle.
So it is imperative that a discussion on finances should take place. Analyse both your spending habits because individual perception of value is different. Decide on your views of saving and giving, and also on whether you should combine all your money or keep it in separate accounts.
In our current Ideal Weddings Magazine issue 2, Jason Tan, a Financial Service Manager from Philip Securities, gave us some Dos and Don’ts when it comes to the marriage code for finances. Some advice he gave is that both parties not only need to be aware of financial decisions made, but also be equally involved in the process even if one of you might be better in managing finances. Share a financial goal that both of you can work towards. This will keep yourselves in tune with each other’s expenditure and definitely foster your relationship further.
- Disharmony and Deal-breakers
Disagreements are inevitable. Couples will definitely have their fair share of superficial bickering, or even heated arguments. No matter the case, it is important to come to an agreement on reasonable fighting behaviour and determine what is unacceptable.
And speaking of unacceptable behaviour, you might want to have a conversation on deal-breakers. Put plainly to each other on things or actions that are intolerable such as being in a frequent accompaniment of booze and women late at night, or gambling away each other’s money at a casino.
Communication is key in such situations. Both of you may want to identify your patterns of communication to improve the way you talk, argue, negotiate and compromise. We touched on tips to better communicating with your partner in Ideal Weddings issue 2. One tip is to respond, and not react. Understand each other’s perspectives before giving your two cents worth to the conversation.
- Till Death Do Us Part
We don’t mean to be inappropriate to raise such a morbid topic on a joyous occasion, but life is unpredictable and it is better to prepared for it.
Planning for death is further than drawing up a will (even though we strongly advise you to do so), it is more about the road after your partner passes. Are you familiar with the household chores? How about paying the bills on time and managing whatever investments you own? If you have children, how will you juggle them and work since now you’re the sole breadwinner? Do you know how cook for them? And while on the topic of the kids, what are the arrangements when it comes to visiting your deceased partner’s side of the family?
Hearts might hang heavy and tears might shed as both you exchange words regarding this solemn topic. But take this chance to also speak words of affirmation to one another and treat them as though they were your last.
Death is absolute. And if you are prepared for it, you are prepared for just about anything.