You’re in love. You’ve been dating for a while. Everything is exciting. You think this person might be the one. What now? You need to first make sure you each have the same (a) end goal and (b) views on divorce:
If you are satisfied with the above, then read on:
10 Things to Carefully Consider Before An Engagement:
*because love isn’t enough*
1. The Reality. Real talk: Do you want to roll over every morning for the next 50 years to see this person in bed next to you? You should. When you picture this person on your wedding day, is your first reaction excitement, or is it fear, concern, or anxiety?
2. Shared Interests. Since you will be spending a lot of time together, it is very important to have shared sports, hobbies, or interests. You don’t have to share everything, but there should be some activities you enjoy doing together. On the flip side, does your partner have an activity or hobby that you absolutely hate or find extremely annoying? How will you feel if that annoying activity continues for the next 50 years?
3. Affection. You should generally agree on the amount of intimacy and affection you show one another. If one of you has a drastically different view of how much intimacy or affection is preferred in the relationship, it could cause conflict down the road.
4. Time Spent Together. You should generally agree on the amount of time you intend to spend together. Does your partner travel a lot for work or have a hobby that takes them away frequently or for long periods of time? Does one of you want nearly all free time spent together while the other one wants a significant amount of time spent alone or with friends and family? In particular, consider the career choice of your partner and be realistic about whether that career aligns with what you expect for your future.
5. Expectations for the Family. You should agree on whether or not you want kids, how many kids, and how involved your extended families will be in your lives. Also, will one of you stay home to raise your children, or will both of you work? Discuss expectations prior to an engagement.
6. Religion. You should agree on religion. Will one of you switch religions? Will you attend a church service together and if so, how often? Most importantly, you should agree on how your children will be raised in terms of religion (even if the two of you are of different religions). If religion isn’t a big part of your life (or if you are agnostic or atheist), then you might be better off marrying someone who feels the same or this could be a big point of contention throughout the marriage.
7. Respect. Do you feel respected and appreciated? Does your partner do things to make you feel competent and strong or does your partner purposefully humiliate and embarrass you? Does your partner speak kindly or rudely to you? Do you receive praise or compliments for the kind things you do for your partner or are they brushed off? If you don’t feel respected while dating, you won’t feel respected while married.
8. Financial Literacy. Take a look at each other’s financial situations. Do you handle money the same way? Is one of you a saver and the other a spender? Are you willing to take on your partner’s debts? Does one of you value spending money on clothes and gifts but the other hates it? Discuss the type of lifestyle you want to have (education, travel, kids, vehicles, etc…) and whether together you will have the funds to support that lifestyle. Do you share the same financial goals and do you agree on the methods to achieve these goals? Finances can be a frequent cause of arguments in a marriage so it’s best to be on the same page prior to an engagement.
9. Watch How Your Partner Treats Others. You should feel good about the way your partner treats others. Is your partner polite to waitstaff? Is your partner confident when speaking to their boss or coworkers? Does your partner show gratitude when someone does something nice? How does your partner treat their family? How does your partner treat animals and the environment? Does your partner work hard and help out others? If your partner plays the victim, is rude to others, acts entitled or demanding with family, or hates helping out friends, you should expect that same behavior toward you, eventually.
10. Watch How Your Partner Treats Themselves. You should feel content with how your partner treats themselves. Is your partner exercising? Does your partner eat healthy food? Does your partner cook, do laundry, and do dishes regularly? Is your partner’s home clean or messy? How does your partner enjoy spending their free time and is that something you would be interested in participating in? Remember that these things are unlikely to change once you are married, so if you don’t like that your partner is messy, plays video games all weekend, or stays out late at the bar, then seriously consider whether this person is the right fit for you. They are unlikely to drastically change their habits once married.