Getting engaged is such a wonderful and happy experience and sometimes during that phase we forget to ask the important questions which is why some people choose to go for pre-marital counselling either in their church or with a professional. It gives you the opportunity to discuss the really tough questions that you probably had not thought about. I just wanted to share my top five discussions that you need to have before getting married.
Where are we going to live? You and your partner may meet in Johannesburg or Cape Town but because he’s from Durban, he may want to settle down in Durban once he’s married and this is why this question is so crucial because you may not want to move from where you currently live to his home town. You also need to discuss relocation because of job offers because you do not want to be the one thing standing between his or her career progression because you don’t want to move to another city. would you be willing to have a long-distance marriage and to commute every week or month to see each other if you cannot move together?
The first mistake most people make is that they assume that everyone wants to have children, you need to ask your partner if they want to have children before even discussing how many and when. If they don’t want children and you do then you have to make the decision of whether you still want to marry them or not and please do not delude yourself into thinking that you can change their mind two years down the line, save yourself the pain and walk away early. If you both want kids then you need to discuss how many you would like to have and agree or compromise and also when would you like to have them, accidents happen with the when part but at least you’ll know your partner wants kids so you’ll both be willing to make it work.
The toughest one!!! Some women have no idea how much their husbands earn or what they do with their money, if he’s not telling you before you get married, he definitely will not tell you after so you need to discuss this before you get married, like whilst you’re planning your wedding. You need to know how much your partner takes home, the breakdown of his expenses before you move in together and how much debt he has. From there you can decide who will take care of which expenses and how you can help each other eliminate as much debt as possible. Most of the married ladies I know follow the concept of my money is mine and your money is ours, personally I love this one ;)
The importance of being knowledgeable about your partners finances is even more crucial if you are married in community of property, turning a blind eye will not help you in the long run should your partner die before you. I have close family relative who was left with a mountain of debt after her husband died, she lost everything they had worked so hard for. Getting married out of community of property or ANC also doesn’t mean that you do not love each other or you don’t think your relationship will last, it’s a means to protect your assets for example should your partner start a business and it fails, you would not lose everything because you would not be tied to his business.
How far do you want to go in your chosen career and what will it take to get there. Your partner may need to travel extensively or work late nights in order to progress in their career and you need to understand the sacrifices that come with it so that you don’t hold them back, you also need to agree on the boundaries in terms of spending time with you and your family. Your partner might also have to relocate abroad for a few years for career progression, would you be willing to?
Another tough one! Usually the woman takes on the man’s religion but there a few cases where the man will take on the woman’s religion. The bottom line is if one of the religions requires for the partner to convert, then this discussion needs to be happened so that you are both on the same page. You also need to agree which religion you would like the kids to follow if you are both going to stick with your different religions.