Know your partner before getting engaged
My social-media timeline has been filling up with photos and videos of happy couples getting engaged. I’m always very impressed with the effort that some couples go through to show off and capture that moment when the man gets down on one knee and say those four magical words – “Will you marry me?” – and the usual squeals of delight as the surprised bride-to-be says yes.
Although I find all of it quite entertaining, I am concerned about the longevity and quality of marriages in the 21st century. We all know the statistics – about 50 per cent of marriages end in divorce, and for the ones that stay together, there is not a lot of happiness being spoken about.
I think that there is a lot of focus on preparation for weddings and not enough preparation for the marriage itself. So many couples find themselves unprepared for real-life challenges that come with marriage simply because they didn’t address some important issues before they even got engaged. There are some critical issues that I believe every couple should work out before they even get engaged.
It’s not easy to speak honestly about money, and some couples avoid the conversation all together although money issues ranks as one of the most popular reasons why relationships end. Couples must look at each other’s financial status with the assistance of an expert before they merge their money in a marriage.
It’s important that couples know each other’s health history, especially if there are risk factors that can cause one person to become terminally ill. Sickness can not only take a big toll on the relationship, but can bankrupt a family. There might be adjustments that need to be made that can improve each other’s health over the long term.
Do you want children? How many children do you want? Do you already have children? Will they become a part of your household or live with the other parent? These are questions that you must answer because the decision to have or not have children usually doesn’t have a compromise.
Deciding how to navigate each other’s careers is very important because there are cases when this affects the entire unit. Some careers require that the entire family packs up and move to another country. How will you navigate such a moves as a couple? Will it be something that both partners are willing to do? What about the children and their schools? These are important discussions that must happen.
How involved is the extended family in the couple’s relationship? The influence of the extended family can make or break the bond between a couple. Family can provide great support, but if there is conflict, they can be a damaging influence.
Getting engaged is very exciting, and it should be celebrated. But there is some work that must be done before any couple takes this important step.