Asking The Tough Questions: 3 Topics You Must Discuss Before Marriage

Many people enter marriage under the belief they know their partner well, but in some cases, you may not know your partner well enough to avoid discord. Asking the tough questions well before signing the marriage license can help you decide whether it is the right time or person for marriage.

Medical Concerns And Decisions

The prospect of advanced directives and other medical decisions may not cross your mind, especially when you enter marriage at a younger age. This topic, although uncomfortable, must be addressed. Generally, once you marry, your spouse automatically becomes your next-of-kin unless you specify otherwise. This means you and your partner need to discuss what to do in case of an emergency. Ideally, you should both spell-out your wishes with an advanced directive, power of attorney, DNR form, and any other resources available within your state. If you want medical decisions to be determined by someone else in your family, such as a parent or sibling, this can build a sense of distrust and you might want to explain your rationale to your partner. You might feel like another person would carry-out your wishes without being persuaded by emotion.

Religion And Politics

Although religion and politics are not synonymous, they are often divisive topics and can similarly affect view points on women's rights, finances, and other topics critical for a successful marriage. Just because two people share similar religious or political views doesn't imply they share the same feeling on specific topics, so it is imperative to discuss individual topics. For example, abortion can be a sensitive topic, and you might both agree on being pro-life. However, in worst case scenarios, such as sexual assault that results in conception or severe developmental abnormalities known before birth, each person may feel different. For finances, many people choose to donate money regularly to their place of worship or political organizations. In times of financial distress, one person may feel like they should continue donating, while the other might feel like it is an unreasonable burden.

Joint Assets And Joint Debt

It is advisable to consult a lawyer or accountant before marriage to determine how marriage would impact your financial situation. You might assume two individual incomes will come together to support a single household, but how does this affect debt? It is possible that one person's back taxes, student loans, or old bills could come back to haunt your joint financial situation. Another consideration might be unique circumstances where one person is currently collecting disability payments. Make sure you understand how this will change after marriage. In some cases, the household income may be too high, and a disabled partner may no longer be eligible for disability payments or insurance.

Although the pre-marital stages might be filled with bliss, they should be filled with realistic and open dialogue about sensitive topics. Addressing these issues now can often prevent significant financial and personal problems within the relationship. Contact a counseling service, like Atlanta Relationship Institute, for more help.