Contributed by Info Guru Cindi Pearce
You and your partner have been together for quite a while.
You’re engaged. The wedding is in six weeks. At times, it has been a rocky road between you two but you do love each other and want to be husband and wife. However, there are some serious issues that you haven’t resolved or even attempted to tackle even though it is nearly the eve of your wedding.
The top ten problems before marriage can be figured out, overcome and resolved or they can fester and destroy your future union.
10. Where to live
If you are having a bi-coastal or even bi-city relationship you need to figure out, now, where you are going to put down roots. Of course, this is going to impact jobs and relationships. Remember … compromise. Try to reach an agreement that satisfies you both.
9. Parents: his and yours
The in-laws: Sometimes they’re wonderful; sometimes they’re not. Some parents and in-laws are appallingly meddlesome. You must nicely but pointedly figure out a way to put a stop to this. Try not to hurt their feelings in the process but, on the other hand, you can’t allow them to run roughshod over you. If you and your partner have been dating for a while you are probably well aware of what her parents are like and vice versa. They are not going to change. When a woman can’t get along with her mother-in-law things can get brutal. If the wife is really close to her parents and you are not close to yours and don’t understand or like all of this family camaraderie this is going to create problems. Sit down and sort this out before you say “I do.”
Is your child going to be raised Catholic or as a Jew? Are you going to church your children at all? This is something that you must discuss before the marriage. Perhaps you already have but haven’t reached an agreement. If the two of you can’t ultimately agree on this, the fur will fly.
7. Having children
You have talked about kids cursorily and have been talking about it more now that the wedding is on the horizon. However, s/he seems reluctant to have kids and won’t flat out commit. You aren’t in any rush but you do want them. This can be a deal-breaker. Both of you must be very honest about your desires regarding children. If s/he keeps stone-walling while you are dead set upon becoming a parent one day, this is problematic. Before you take the leap, get this settled one way or another.
6. Oil and water
If the groom-to-be is a very traditional man, and this is something you should know at this point, and you are an unconventional woman (or vice versa) this may cause grave conflict down the road. It may have caused a few already but you’ve gotten past them, apparently, or the wedding wouldn’t still be on. For example, you don’t want to take his last name but he wants you to. This is something you are going to have to work out. Stand your ground, bride-to-be, if this is your desire. He doesn’t want you to work. You want to work. He wants supper on the table at six. You laugh in response. These are monumental issues that will get worse over time. Straighten them out now. If you can’t, maybe you are marrying the wrong person. Marriage is about compromise. It is not about squelching one another’s desires. Your partner should support you and your choices, unless they’re horribly bad and stupid ones, and vice versa. Agree to disagree on certain matters. Don’t let pre-wedding issues fester because they will ignite at some point after the wedding.
Lay it out on the line. Don’t be dodgy about your financial situation. Each party should be upfront about their finances. Decide who is going to pay the bills. Decide if you are going to have credit cards. Devise a budget. If you are already fighting over money this is not going to stop after you get married. It will only get worse. If you need to talk to a financial advisor, do it, before the marriage. Money problems break up thousands of marriages.
4. The exes
If there were no children from your previous marriage or relationship, it may be that there is no continuing connection between you and your ex whatsoever. On the other hand, some exes are bitter and determined to insinuate themselves into your new relationship, and not in a good way. This can cause dreadful problems. If you do have children with your ex, the likelihood that you have to deal with him on a regular basis increases exponentially. You and your husband- or wife-to-be must figure out how to civilly deal with exes. Talk therapy might help or some kind of relationship counseling. The fact is that the father or mother of your children exists and you have to learn to cope with this, effectively and agreeably. Do not traumatize the children! If you are paying alimony your new spouse has to accept this. S/he might not like it but until the court says otherwise, you’re stuck. Pay your child support faithfully. Make sure that your spouse-to-be knows exactly what your financial responsibilities are to your children and ex before you sign on the dotted line.
For most people this is probably a non-issue because young couples haven’t accumulated anything of value, including money. However, there are men and women, particularly those who are marrying for a second or third time, who have assets and want to protect their interests. They require a pre-nuptial agreement. This ensures that if the couple splits it is spelled out in black and white who is entitled to what. Bringing up the subject of a pre-nuptial agreement can be chancy and considered odious by one party or another but you really need to do this if you want to safeguard your material goods in the event of a divorce.
2. Blended families
If one party has children and the other doesn’t this can be a dilemma. The non-parent has to be willing to take on the role of parent to another man or woman’s child. Some people do this with ease while others struggle. All too frequently there is a riff because the step-parent and the child and that lands the biological parent smack dab in the middle. If both parties have children this is going to end up in a merged family. It doesn’t always end up as congenial as The Brady Bunch. Going into a marriage with pre-existing children is a lot harder than getting married before you have children. Get some counseling. If you don’t, you may find down the road that your marriage can’t survive because of the obstacles that the children create.
1. Surviving the wedding
There is often soaring emotion and a lot of drama leading up to the nuptials. Arguments ensue over when and where to get married, and all of the other pesky details, including food, entertainment, guests, outfits, flowers and the honeymoon. If you can’t figure this out without a fracas, then you probably aren’t going to fair very well at solving the numerous problems you will face as a married couple. Settle down, don’t fight. Call a truce. The wedding will come together. It always does.