My fiancée and I are getting married in a few months. I do think premarital counseling is extremely important, even if you do it yourself, a non-Catholic pre-cana if you will. I am the type of person that likes to plan things (everything). I would rather go through life with a plan, even if it changes, than go through life just letting things happen. Life is short, I might as well make the most of it.
Regularly my fiancée and I talk about life and goals over dinner or a beer at the local brewery. I think this is extremely important as there will be no surprises come wedding day. Below are some of the more important topics we have decided to discuss prior to the big day, and I think openly discussing these topics have had a positive impact on our relationship.
I am sure it is quite obvious that this is #1 on my list. Personal finance is very important to me and should be for most couples. I have some non-traditional views around money and therefore I think it’s important to share said views with my fiancée to ensure she can understand my views even if she isn’t 100% on board, and vice-versa. Topics couples should cover include: what is valuable to each spouse to spend money on, and therefore prioritize? What does not bring value to each spouse, and therefore are willing to cut back on? When does the couple want to aim to achieve financial independence? What do they want retirement to look like? How much of their children’s education are they going to fund (if planning to have kids)? Etc., etc.
Who obtains more value or happiness from their career? Who is willing to move for the other spouse’s career? Does anyone have any entrepreneurial goals? Does one spouse want to eventually leave their career to be the stay-at-home spouse to take care of the family and household?
Do both spouses want kids? If so, how many, and when? Does one spouse expect a parent, or parents, to move in with them down the road? Is the other spouse okay with that plan? Are holidays going to be rotated between families? Will financial support be extended to family members in need?
What hobbies are important to each spouse? How much of a time commitment are they? How much will they cost? Are there hobbies that the couple will do together, and then others that they’ll do separate?
Every couple argues at some point. Instead of letting things bottle up and waiting for them to reach a boil-over point, have discussions on a regular basis. I for one have learned that compromise is important, and key to a happy relationship.
I’m sure there are other topics that are important to your specific relationship like spirituality, common values, pets, etc. Lay out early what you value, and have your spouse do the same. Get on the same page and don’t get discouraged when you don’t see exactly eye to eye on everything, as coming to a common ground is part of the fun.