Or as my grandmother would say, “what you need to know before you ask or say yes.”
Not too long ago, I listened to a good friend enthuse about her upcoming nuptials. She wasn’t engaged yet, but she knew her boyfriend was the one and that he would ask her sooner or later. When I asked how she knew this, she said that she’d shown him the types of engagement rings she wanted and he was paying close attention. More than a little surprised, I had to remind my friend who has two children with two other men, both of whom never proposed to her nor did they ever indicate they wanted to marry her and furthermore, they are now married to other women that she can’t just assume she knows what’s going on in her boyfriend’s head. She blew me off and said that this time, she was sure.
What terrifies me is that she has been “sure” before.
What She Needs to Ask
Sometimes, people (men and women alike) get caught up in the romance and the newness of a relationship. When something is shiny and sparkly and new, it’s easy to believe in forever and that it will always be shiny and sparkly and new. Sadly, however, like the Velveteen Rabbit, things change and just because they aren’t shiny and new, doesn’t mean we can’t still love them, but it catches a lot of people off guard when they wake up and realize shiny and new isn’t forever.
In an effort to help my friend, I’ve put together a list of things for her to think about and to know the answers to before she pins all her hopes and dreams on the idea that this guy is going to propose and if he does propose, she definitely needs these answers before she says yes.
Yes, I know she has two kids already, but how does he feel about sharing his life with her kids and does he want kids of his own? Does she want to have more kids? Because frankly, if one partner wants children and the other one doesn’t, this is going to be a huge source of tension and problems for the marriage.
Sadly, money is probably the biggest source of all marriage arguments. How much do you have? Where do you keep it? What do you spend it on? And who is going to manage the bills? These are just a few of the questions you need to tackle. Are both of you going to work? Is one of you going to stay home with the kids? How do you plan for financial futures? If you can’t talk about money now, don’t expect it to be easier after you get married.
This is actually a discussion that came up before my husband and I got married and boy was it a doozy. We had been living together for about 7 months when the issue came to a head. My husband let me do all the work and since I initially enjoyed the idea of taking care of him, I didn’t mind picking up most of it, but I soon began to resent it as I would be busy taking care of everything AND working AND cooking AND doing errands and he was kicking back and enjoying it. This lead to one of the most profound conversations of our relationship – his expectations and mine where the housework was concerned, because I wasn’t his mother or his maid and if we were both working, then we both needed to split the grunt work equally.
You need to know what your prospective mate considers an equitable share? Who does what? Will you just do it as you go?
Come back tomorrow for more marriage breakers and don’t hesitate to share some of your own.