It feels amazing when you finally find the person you want to be with forever. They understand you and make you feel safe, and you two can talk about anything and everything. However, if you feel like your SO is about to pop the question or you're considering doing it yourself, there are still a few conversations before getting engaged that every couple should have. Even if you feel like you've found the one, and that you two understand everything about each other, there are still very important topics that need to be discussed.
Relationships are about evolving and growing with another person and it's best to understand how to grow together rather than apart before making any huge commitments. While being in love is usually the foundation for being with your partner, there are a lot of other factors that go into making a relationship really amazing. Being married isn't just about the ring, the engagement, and the wedding. It's about making a choice to support each other and the relationship through the good and the bad times. While you and your significant other won't agree on all levels, all the time, you want to make sure that you agree on the most important things. So before the proposal, make sure you're discussing these issues below; they'll help you realize exactly what you're diving into before saying yes to forever and ever.
1. Your Communication Styles With Each Other
Knowing how to communicate with your partner is really important in a relationship, but it also seems to be one of the hottest topics to argue about. Just because your partner's communication style is different from yours doesn't mean it won't work out, it just means you need to know how to communicate more clearly. According to PsychCentral, Gal Szekelya, relationship expert and founder of The Couples Center, said, "Different communication styles only really become a problem when the partners do not understand their differences and fail to accommodate one another." You need to understand why your partner communicates the way they do before you can commit to the long haul.
2. Your Future Goals
This one is pretty important. You want to make sure that the paths you and your SO are going down are pretty similar. Future goals may involve your careers, if you want children, what you want to do for the next five years, or anything in between; every couple is different. But in any case, it's best to be aware of what your partner's plans are so you're not caught off guard in the future. According to Psychology Today, relationship coach Kira Asatryan said, "Expectations are reflections of your closely-held beliefs about where your life is going. Expectations, when not met, can cause a grief that often surpasses the grief of not achieving a dream. Because they are so important — and can be so painful when not met — every couple should get to know each other’s expectations before becoming completely committed."
3. How You Envision Marriage
It's key to know how your significant other views marriage and what they expect it to be like. Some people believe their relationship with their SO will be completely different once they get married, while others don't see what the big deal is about the whole thing. That's why it's important to understand how your significant other views marriage and what they are expecting from the relationship in the years to come. Does your partner expect one of you to not work when/if one of you has kids? Do you envision your partner to combine your money with yours? Talking about marriage can be scary in itself, but once you start feeling comfortable talking about it, everything else can fall into place.
4. How You Both Manage Money
One of the biggest reasons couples break up is money issues. According to Forbes, Jackie Black PhD BCC, relationship expert and author of Couples and Money: Cracking the Code to Ending the #1 Conflict in Marriage, said, "People’s pasts deeply affect, and continue to influence, their financial presents and futures.” The way your partner handles their money is really vital to the relationship, and it's not just about the money itself, but how they communicate with you about making financial decisions. Dr. Black continued, "The way you manage money with your partner is a mirror of the ways you handle (or don’t) all kinds of issues in your relationship." It's good to know how the both of you will communicate when discussing these issues — especially when it comes to those big financial decisions like buying a house or, you know, the wedding itself.
6. Recurring Conflicts
In every relationship, there are usually a few arguments that happen on repeat. Whether it's about the dishes, money, or family — there's always that certain topic that every couple bickers about more than any other. According to Psychology Today, conflict resolution expert and mediator Aldo Civico Ph.D. said, "We cannot avoid conflict: it’s just a natural component of our human condition, but what is in our power, is to decide to experience it as an opportunity for growth and for change." Conflicts are part of every relationship. If you see them as a possible positive, you may feel better about discussing your feelings with your partner because both of you have the same goal at the end of the day: to find a solution to a problem. It's not about being right or wrong, it's about viewing the issue from a perspective of there being a possibility to understand and grow.
Getting engaged, for some people, can be one of the most exciting moments in life. It signifies how much you love a person and what they mean to you. If you feel like you and your partner are getting pretty serious, think about whether you and your SO have discussed the above topics. If so, you should understand each other on a deeper level. If not, avoiding these conversations is just going to bring problems into the relationship and possible future marriage. If you start having these conversations before the engagement, the only thing you will have to worry about is planning the wedding.
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