Even if you feel like you know each other well, there's always more things to learn about your partner — especially before getting married. If you two plan to tie the knot soon, you should be asking each other questions to make sure you're both on the same page, while also opening up about any "secrets" you may have.
While it's perfectly fine to have boundaries and keep some things private, entering into a marriage means being as open as possible. "You will want to get to know everything humanly possible about your partner before agreeing to a life long partnership," says Kali Rogers, author and founder of Blush Online Life Coaching. And of course the opposite should be true, too.
Do you have a history of mental illnesses, or a couple bad relationships under your belt? These are likely things your partner needs to know. "The foundation of a healthy marriage is trust and you should feel comfortable sharing the personal intimate details of your life before marrying them," says NYC-based therapisty Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW. "If for whatever reason they cannot handle what you share or are not supportive, it is better to find out before making a long term commitment." Here are a few topics worth getting out in the open.
1. Your History Of Addiction
Obviously your partner should know about any current problems, but make sure they know about addictions that went down in the past, too. "Whether it is substances, an eating disorder, shopping, gambling, etc. your partner should be aware of this in order to be your support," Hershenson says. "Addictions tend to get triggered in times of stress and you want your partner to be able to be there for you should you start relapsing."
2. Any Trust Issues You Might Have
If you've been hurt in the past, perhaps due to a cheating ex, be sure you tell your current SO. "You likely have trust issues and may be extra insecure," Hershenson says. "You may come off as possessive if [your partner] doesn't understand where your behaviors are coming from." Letting them know what you've been through can also make it easier to build trust in your relationship, so you can both feel secure.
3. Your Past Traumatic Experiences
While you may want to leave the past in the past (and that's totally understandable) it is important to be open about your history of any physical or sexual trauma — especially if it's affecting your ability to feel comfortable with your partner. As Hershenson says, "Your partner needs to hear from you what may be causing these issues so you can work together to resolve them."
4. Any Current Or Past Mental Illnesses
If you once struggled with some kind of mental health issue, let your partner know — especially since old issues can crop up when you least expect them. As David Bennett, a certified counselor and relationship expert, says, "Mental illness and substance abuse can resurface without proper care." Telling your partner now means having more support, should that happen.
5. Whether Or Not You Want To Have Kids
While this one may seem obvious, it's amazing how many couples get deep into a relationship before finding out their partner doesn't want kids. So go ahead and lay it all out on the table. "Wanting to have a child isn't just a fantasy — it's primal for a lot of people," says Rogers. "Therefore discussing that part of your future life is crucial."
6. Any Issues You Have With Money
Money's never fun to talk about, but it's important to share as much as possible before signing any marriage contracts. "Marriage is just as much as a business decision as it is a choice of the heart, so being transparent about your monthly income, tax bracket, student loans, other debts, assets, and financial goals is a big must," Rogers says. "It's better to know exactly what's ahead of you instead of assuming finances will just 'work themselves out. They hardly ever do, which is why financial issues is a top reason for divorce."
7. How You Hope To Spend Holidays
If you have some long-standing holiday traditions, it's a good idea to let your partner know that you expect to continue them — especially if you don't think you'll see eye-to-eye. "This can cause extreme fights and a lot of miscommunication and disappointment, so please try to tackle this one ASAP," Rogers says. Do you want to spend most major holidays with your family? Do you not want to celebrate at all? Let 'em know now and so you can work on figuring it out.
8. Religious Beliefs That Are Important To You
With holidays (and possibly kids) on the horizon, you'll want to work out how you plan to navigate all things religious. "Do your religious beliefs line up together? Can you support each others' religious beliefs?" Rogers asks. These are all things you'll both want to know so you can make a plan.
9. What Your Deal Breakers Might Be
When it comes to deal breakers, everyone has a different line that shouldn't be crossed. So go ahead and let your partner know what you aren't able to tolerate. As Rogers says, "Think about scenarios where you truly believe you would be close to getting up and leaving. Each couple has those lines in their relationship, and you'll be surprised that they vary from couple to couple."
10. Where You'd Like To Live
While it's possible to reach some of compromise, disagreeing on where to live can become quite the issue. If you want to live in the city and your partner is all about the country, it may even become a lifestyle difference that affects your relationship. So talk about it now, before it gets to that point. "Divorces are messy and expensive," Rogers says. "You would like to avoid one at all costs if possible!
11. All Your Dreams And Goals
This one may seem obvious, but you two should be open with each other about how your future together will be. Are you both on the same page? Do you want the same things? Sharing your goals and dreams for the future is key, if you want this thing to work.
So please, be as open as possible. While it's fine to have some secrets (and be all about those healthy boundaries) sharing as much as possible will ensure you're with the right person, and heading off in the right direction.
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