Meeting my Mr. Right is one of the best things that happened in my life. Marrying him is the best favor I did for myself. For these blessings, I only have God to be grateful for. While I honestly believe that love at first sight stories, zero courtships, and short engagements can actually lead to successful marriages, it sadly does not work that way for everybody. Many take the traditional route before marriage. Like me, I was courted by my husband for two months. Then, we were engaged for more than three years before finally taking the plunge.
During the period we were engaged, we, rather, I, read books, not on how to prepare for a wedding but on how to prepare for marriage. It’s quite hard to explain, really. You can never be ready for something, even for something as huge as marriage, right? But, deep inside you know when it’s time and if he’s the one. That’s exactly how I felt. However, being the planner-checklist lady that I am, I tried to broaden my concept of marriage by reading books and articles. You know, it helped me so much in realizing and anticipating the things that would happen once we live as a married couple.
Before saying the big words, I DO, you might want to discuss these points with your soon-to-be husband first:
Finances. One of the leading causes of marital problems is money. How much to give for the household expenses? How much to give to your parents and younger siblings? How much to save? How much to spend for what? Who pays what? When and who to lend? When to loan? Where to invest? Who records the finances? Is it okay to keep a record of your finances? Do you know each other’s financial statuses? And, so on and so forth. Money issues can be endless. Marriage would be so much less complicated when money matters are clear to both of you right from the start.
Career/Work. What are your career goals? What are your plans concerning your respective careers? Will both of you keep your jobs? Will you set limitations for one another when it comes to working? Overtime? Out of towns? Out of the countries? Changing organizations? Shifting careers? How about having a baby? How would that affect your career? Can both of you work the way you’re working when you’re not yet married? In our case, we both continue working. However, between us, it is I who slowed down. I refused promotions, delayed further studies and turned away from several opportunities because we give much priority to my husband’s career. Do I feel bad? Not really. It was a mutual and practical decision. On my part, it was a little sacrifice I had to make for the children. Being able to keep my career makes me lucky already.
Social life. I believe that social life is still important even after marriage or children. But, what are your expectations? What limitations would you impose, if there is any? Will you still allow each other to meet old friends, drink coffee or enjoy some drinks and go home late? If so, how often? Do you like each other’s friends? Will you have a say on who he/she should be friends with?
House. Where would you live after the wedding? Will you live on your own? Will you buy, loan or rent a place? Will you need a helper? Will you enlist a family member’s or a relative’s help?
Past. I personally think that what happened in the past belongs to the past but if there’s anything else about your past that you or your conscience think your partner needs to know, then before marriage is the right time to disclose such. And, this includes major health issues. Don’t you agree?
Religion/Beliefs. Do you share the same faith? If yes, then good. But, still, are you on the same page when it comes to practicing your faith? Others are more devout than others. You can’t marry a person and expect him/her to change his/her religion or personal belief and practices for you. Don’t think that by marrying a person, you have now the right to dictate what he/she should believe in and how he/she should show his/her faith.
Values. We all have unique upbringing, different experiences, and own individualities. Therefore, we may differ in values too, or the weight we put in each virtue. It’s better if we make it clear what are our non-negotiables before marrying a person. Because again, marriage rarely changes a person.
The idea of family/Dreams. Simply put, I don’t think a marriage will last if you don’t share the same idea about it. If you don’t share the same dreams, then there is no point of marrying each other. If you don’t like to bear a child while your husband likes to have many children, do you think you can have a peaceful life? If your husband likes to migrate abroad and you are so attached with the Philippines, can you live happily? I don’t think so because they are major life decisions.
I am not a marital guru or some relationship expert but these pointers I attest to be useful when you’re already at that stage of exploring the idea of spending the rest of your precious life with another person. You know what they say, love makes one blind. But, don’t be. Love is love. It is a feeling. Marriage, on the other hand, is tough decision and hard work. Plus, it is a sacred union and a lifetime commitment, especially in our country where divorce is not (yet) legal. Love is something you can’t control because it’s an emotion but marriage is a choice you make and how you will come up with that decision is on you.