A lot of couples spend a great deal of time, money and effort on making their wedding day special, memorable and enjoyable for everyone involved. You want to make it the best day possible, and you can end up focussing a lot on the day itself.There is nothing wrong with this, but just think about how much time and effort you spend on planning your long-term future together. Most couples do not actively plan their future, even though your marriage will have a huge affect on your life.As a therapist I regularly see couples in crisis who never really planned their life together. A common problem is that small issues can become very big issues over a period of time. Most arguments and conflict couples experience can be prevented by working through the common issues all couples face sooner. My general rule is the more issues you can communicate about and agree to, the better off you will be. Here are my top ten subjects you need to talk about;
- Money management
- Career goals
- Kids and parenting
- Friends and family
- Sex and intimacy
- Lifestyle (socialising, travel, quality time, etc)
- Roles (How daily chores get done, teamwork)
- Communication and conflict
- Health and wellbeing (diet, exercise, etc)
- 10 Spiritual and religious beliefs
Looking through this list, consider how well you communicate these topics with your partner. It’s ok if you haven’t both decided on where you stand about these issues. Your discussions with each other can be of great benefit as they bring you closer to agreement and help you become more aware of each other’s beliefs, preferences and expectations. You can become better at communicating about these personal topics, and form a deeper connection with each other through this process.The more of these topics you can work through together, the less you will need someone like me to be umpire to your future arguments. Although it is sometimes helpful to see a therapist before the conflict escalates, if you get stuck on some of these issues.
Peter Charleston is a Melbourne Psychologist and the author of ‘Closer – find happiness in your life and relationships with the 7 principles of connectedness.