Top things to consider before you tie the knot
Lucky you – thinking of marriage! You’re in a loving relationship and ready to enter the next stage of commitment. But wait a minute, have you thought this through? Take off your rose tinted glasses and take a long hard look at your relationship before you take a leap into fulltime commitment of marriage. It’s not all sunsets and slow dances you know. Now, don’t get us wrong, we’re not cold hearted cynics. In fact we’re all for the fun and games of marriage and everything it brings. But it is important to make sure you are making the right decision. So, take a moment to consider the 10 steps on deciding to get married.
A major factor when considering marriage is cost. It’s no surprise that weddings aren’t cheap; even if you have a simple wedding you still need to pay basic wedding fees. But more often than not weddings incur costs for clothing, food, entertainment, rings, photographers… the list goes on! So it’s important to ensure you are both in the financial position to commit to such a huge outgoing which you may be paying back for years to come. Perhaps at this stage in your relationship your savings would be better spent on a home or a holiday to solidify your trust and commitment.
You need to take this into consideration if you and your partner are different religions and planning to get married in a sacred building connected to either of your religions. Certain religions require both bride and groom to be a practicing follower in order to be married. Or if you plan to marry in a Christian or Catholic Church then baptism is often required first. Religious weddings are sacred and should be respected and handled sensitively, so consider this element to avoid insult or disappointment.
Commitment & trust
This works both ways and is something you cannot avoid. You need to ask yourself if you trust your partner 100% and know they will support and care for you. But you also need to rest assured that you are wholly committed to them too. If there is any doubt in your mind that your partner does not trust you or is committed to you (or vice versa) then you need to reassess the wedding plans. This builds the foundations of any relationship so they must be squeaky clean before you commit for the long term.
Loving someone means accepting them for their flaws and adoring them warts and all. Without this you will always resent them for their annoyances which could create cracks in your relationships. If you truly love someone you will see past their imperfections (hopefully!) and love them for who they are. Either raise your opinions on their bad time keeping/inappropriate jokes/laziness or learn to live with them. You must also comprehend that you too will have annoying habits that drive your partner up the wall – nail polish in the fridge, underwear hanging on the shower rail, not to mention hormonal tantrums. You’re not perfect yourself lady! (But hopefully he loves you anyway).
Sadly, no one is perfect and everybody has regrets. If either you or your partner has done something to hurt the other in the past then you must learn to forgive one another before marriage. If this just isn’t possible then you need to consider what effects this may have down the line. Will you always hold it against one another? Will it be a constant niggle in your marriage? Clean the slate now before you commit.
What are your true motives for wanting to marry your partner? If it’s wealth then you’re barking up the wrong tree. Marriage should be solely based on true love and adoration between two people. Anything else will not a happy marriage make. You also need to ask yourself if you are getting married because you want to or because you feel you should. Feeling pressure to tie the knot can stem from society, families or friends but you need to do what’s right for you and no one else. Or, your motives may lie in making your partner happy, when in reality you do not feel ready to say ‘I do’. The only reason you should marry someone is because you love them and want to spend your lives together.
Being open about your intentions for the future is vital if you are planning on committing yourself to someone for the rest of your life –after all, marriage doesn’t end after the first dance. Do you want kids? Do you want to travel? Emigrate? Change career? These are the sorts of things you need to discuss before your wedding as it would not be fair to surprise your partner with plans to leave the country for a gap year or to suddenly want to adopt orphaned children. You need to make sure that you both want the same things in life or it will be hard to act as a unit.
A prenuptial (aka ante-nuptial agreement or premarital agreement) aims to protect individual assets, so if you are entering a marriage with vastly different possessions it would make sense to at least take some legal advice. In a perfect world marriage would last forever, but of course that is not always the case and a large proportion of marriages do not stand the test of time. Decide if you want one before the wedding to clear up negotiation and potential conflict.
Mr & Mrs
Many couples are choosing to abandon tradition and either keep their original last names post-wedding or choose to have both! Technically you can choose whatever names you like, but just make sure you consider this prospect first. At the end of the day, some first and last names just aren’t the matches made in heaven that you and your partner are. William Williams, Robin Robinson, Danielle Daniels… you get the picture.
What’s mine is yours
Like a pre-nuptial agreement you need to discuss who owns what. Many couples choose to open a shared bank account but you need to discuss the rules and limitations of this before you start sharing your cash. Buying a pet, an antique or investing in shares needs to be done under agreement of who owns it or if you’ll split it 50/50.
But it’s not all about money and possessions –chores need dividing too! You both use the bathroom so you both should clean it (in an ideal world). So you need to consider what you are willing to share, which ideally should be everything (after all, you are sharing your lives and a home).