Wednesday, August 29, 2012

An Ounce of Prevention: Things You Should Discuss with a Guy (at Least) *Three Months In*


While doing a bit of research on another matter entirely, I "happened upon" (Proverbs 16:33-AMP) and article that I discerned was a good fit for this "Let's rebuild our foundation" theme that we're embarking upon. Matter of fact, I found it to be so "on point" that I'm going to straight up copy and paste it; however, the original title of the piece is "Top Ten Things You Should Know About Your Mate Before Marriage". However, doing *a lot of observing* (and counseling) has brought me to the resolve that a lot of people end up emotionally and relationally battered and bruised because they wait until premarital counseling or proposing (preferably *in that order*) before addressing the things on this list. I'd venture to say that most *healthy and happy* married couples and *reputable* therapists would say that these are ten things that need to be discussed during the 3-6 months of figuring out of *that one* is THE ONE. Can you just imagine all of the *drama that would be spared* if people made getting to know *the facts* about a person before they started inserting them into their *fantasies*? Anyway and that said, here's the list:

One of the reasons that people don't have successful marriages is because they didn't have lengthy and serious conversation before they got married. Here is a list of questions that can help you confirm that you truly found the right person, or it can let you know that you shouldn't rush into that commitment. Honesty is really key, and if you know these things about your mate, and vice versa, it could minimize the chances of cold feet on the big day.

10. Personal hygiene.
This is important, but not as important as everything else. Cleanliness is more important to some people than others. Personal care is a very obvious thing to see when you are dating, but you need to know how they live. How often do they tidy their home? Wash dishes? Vacuum? People are either messy or tidy in general. Which one are they, and can you live with it?

9. Living Habits. Are you a morning person? What about your mate? How much television do they watch? Do they keep a budget or buy everything on impulse? How much do they work? For example, bathroom time, bedtime, and quality time are really important, and you need to know if there is major conflict with lifestyle timing. Handling money is also an issue that has to be agreed upon before the knot is tied. You also need to discuss who is going to cook and clean.

8. What gets on their nerves? If you are truly ready to marry someone, this is an easy question. Believe me, if you haven't gotten on their nerves yet, either they just didn't tell you, or you will soon find out. No matter how much you love them, I am sure you can think of something that you don't particularly like. Be honest about it with them, and practice not getting on each other's nerves.

7. Their love language. Gary Chapman has a great book called The Five Love Languages. Sometimes people feel the most loved when you say heart-felt things to them. Others feel the most loved when they get a thoughtful gift. The way a person feels the most loved is their 'love language.' It can be physical touch, quality time, or acts of service, as well as encouraging words or gifts. Make sure that you both speak each other's language so that you can touch each other with the deepest love possible.

6. What about children? Do you want children? How many? Do you and your partner want the same amount? It is also extremely important that you both agree on discipline methods. Raising children should be at least discussed and outlined before you say 'I do.'

5. Family relationships. What is their family like? How do they treat their family? How does their family treat them? It is not necessarily true that they will treat the new family you are creating in the same way, but knowing this can help you understand them better. Much of their personality is probably bits and pieces that come from the way they were raised, and how their family acts. All families have issues, but make sure that you are comfortable with the closeness, or distance, of their family to your new lives.

4. How do they handle hard times? Marriage is not always easy. There will be disagreements. You and your partner will be tired after work sometimes. The both of you might even end up needing some personal space. Besides the minor conflict, sometimes major problems come up. The loss of a job, unplanned pregnancy, miscarriages, death in the family, car accidents, and serious illness are all factors of life that you can't always predict. Will your partner, or you, fall apart? Will you be able to comfort and encourage each other? Will you be committed to each other, even if the life you are planning doesn't happen the way you pictured it?

3. Moral standards/religious beliefs. Religion can be something in the back of a person's mind, or the central focus of their lives. Most people are in the middle of the extremes. If you have different religious beliefs, how will you raise the children? You don't necessarily have to agree on every minor moral issue, but you should agree on the ones that you are most passionate about.

2. Expectations of marriage. From household chores to checkbook balancing, what does your partner expect you to be responsible for? What do you expect from them? Do you expect gifts and romance all the time or do you figure that once you are married you're 'passed' all of that? What about the frequency of sex? How does your partner feel? You both need to come away with a definition of marriage and will help the both of you understand what you really expect.

1. Life goals. The moment you are so in love and you are so sure that they are the one for you, the first thing you should confirm is their life goals. It is the age-old question that everyone should ask: "Where do you see yourself in 10 years?" Take it a little further and ask: Where do you want to be in 20 years? What are their career goals? Where do they want to live? Are they goal oriented or do they flow through life going wherever the wind takes them? Everyone should have a basic plan and a dream. Find out if that is really what you want to share down the road.

You just can't know everything about a person. The years ahead will challenge you, and you will learn much more about them and yourself as time goes on. If you cover the basics and both stay committed, you should have a long and happy marriage.

Amazing how much time is spent (or is it wasted?) wanting to make a certain guy be our husband without thinking about the fact that what comes with that is *compatibility*.

Good stuff right there.



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