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While I am by no means a relationship expert, I had my fair share of relationships before tying the knot with the hubs. Lately, I've been noticing a trend amongst my friends where pressure from the “Facebook effect” has been increasing the “hurry up and get engaged” feels.
Consequently, over the last few months, I have been around one too many engagements falling apart, from one of my closest friends to my next door neighbor. Too often I find myself in conversations with already engaged or soon-to-be engaged people who are completely fixated on their wedding day, even if they don't have the ring on their finger yet. There seems to be this growing trend, thanks to the plethora of reality TV shows, of people obsessing about “the big day.” Many people appear to be forgetting what it really takes to get down the aisle.
While I by no means know 100% what made E and I stick together these last five years, I do know that we talk… like a lot. Like two girls hashing out last night's Bachelor episode a lot.
5 Conversations To Have Before Getting Engaged:
E's Glasses* | Shirt | Joggers* | My Grey Long Sleeve Shirt: Similar V-Neck* | Similar Cold Shoulder V-Neck* | Similar Grey Long Sleeve with Elbow Patches* | My pants: Fit Physique Lululemon.
Let's start with the obvious: if one of you desperately wants kids and the other could never envision their life with children, then it's time to move on. If you both are on the same page with wanting kids, then now is the time to start talking about parenting styles that you learned or witnessed in childhood. What you liked, what you disliked, and so much more. The decision to have kids is just the tip of the iceberg.
Religion and values
Even if you aren't super religious, it's still important to have this conversation. E and I were both raised Jewish, but don't go to Temple or anything today. We still talk about what role we want it to plan in our children's lives as well as our views on spirituality and a Higher Power. If you do have a different religion or values from your significant other then consider if you can respectfully agree to disagree. The last thing you want to do is push forward while the resentments and passive aggressive comments only continue to grow internally or from family and friends.
If your partner and you are not on the same page about your envisioned work-life balance it could lead to some serious fights down the road. For instance, as a blogger I work weird hours sometimes, it'll be 9 pm and I am just busting out my laptop to take care of something I forgot… and work-free Saturdays and Sundays? FUHGETTABOUTIT. Luckily, the hubs had his own company and is a consultant today, so he is working those weird hours alongside me.
The last thing you want is to envision yourself as a stay at home mom, while your partner is envisioning the same thing! Or worse, you are staying home and your partner is in the office for 14 hours and you start to get lonely or resentful. The key with this conversation isn't to have it all figured out, but to try to understand one another's visions for the future in terms of career and home life. It's a lot easier to get behind 14 hour work days if you understand the ultimate goal is for your S.O. to be CEO.
Like the work-life balance conversation, the goal here is to get to a place of understanding, not necessarily to have it all mapped out. Ask tough questions about your partner's current financial situation (Are they in debt? if so, how much? Are they saving for retirement? Are they taking care of any other people financially right now? What is their spending style? Do they have a history with overspending or gambling? Does anyone in their family have a history of gambling or overspending?). This will help with not only getting engaged and the wedding planning process but also a clearer picture of whether or not you two are a good match for the future. True story: if your significant other is buy $500 shoes and shipping them to the office so you don't find out, it's probably not a good sign.
Maybe this one comes from watching a few too many hours of whatever HGTV show is on, but if one person loves modern and the other loves rustic, buying a home or decorating one can get pretty frustrating. While this is probably the least important conversation to have, and certainly not a deal breaker by any means, it's more about how you guys compromise and work together as a team. If you steamroll your partner on every style decision, what else are you going to steamroll them on?
Wedding Day Vision
Sure, the stereotype is that girls have been dreaming about their big day forever, but that doesn't mean you partner doesn't have some dreams of their own. Make sure to have a conversation about expectations or hopes for the wedding day. This could be surface level stuff like the decor, but it could also be more about their vision of who walks who down the aisle, the role family plays in the planning process, and so much more. We decided very early on that we were okay with eloping and paying for a small elopement ourselves, which gave us a lot more freedom to set boundaries when we did decide to have a wedding that was funded by family. In other words, we preferred to elope than accept stuff with a lot of strings attached to it because it would take away from our vision as a couple and also add unnecessary stress to celebrating our love. Which ultimately led to a lot of boundaries with family. All decisions were made as a team, and nothing was agreed to without talking to the other first.
I have had friends hysterically upset because they felt like their fiancé kept siding with family rather than them. Remember, this is about the two of your joining together as one, so start to act like it.
Ok, this is a fun one! Make sure you guys go ring shopping together! Get clear on the budget that you both feel comfortable with too. Growing up my mom and dad fought all of the time because he spent way too much money on her engagement ring. Remember, if your fiancé finances a really expensive ring, that is your money (or debt) too now! I went with E to several jewelers to discuss pricing, cut, clarity, all that fun stuff to make sure it was something we were both happy with. The engagement was still a surprise several months later and it did not take away from the magic of our engagement story by any means.
What conversations did you have before getting engaged? Or what conversations do you plan on having before getting engaged? Drop me a comment!
Originally published on 01/18/17