8 Things To Discuss BEFORE Walking Down the AislePosted August 15, 2013 in Personal Finance
‘Tis the season of wedding registries, Best Man speeches and First Dances. Yes, summertime is definitely the season for weddings. An estimated 165,297 weddings will take place this year in Canada, with almost half of those couples saying ‘I do’ between July and September. Not surprisingly, August comes in as the most popular month for those blessed nuptials. About 82,000 are getting married this month alone.
Unfortunately, many of these happy couples are unknowingly headed for disaster, despite being head over heels in love with their heavenly soulmate. In 2010/2011, almost 54,000 new divorce cases were initiated in the seven reporting provinces and territories, representing one-third of all family court cases in Canada.
But, what exactly could break up such a happy couple, vowing to spend their lives together through good and bad, sickness and health and richer or poorer? Where do things go so terribly wrong that they are no longer willing to work as a team?
It turns out, most of the trouble can start way before the actual wedding.
Love is Blind…and Mute?
During the early stages of the dating process, we are in a state of bliss – floating along in a fog of pheromones & oxycotin. We are infatuated with our partner and believe they can do no wrong. There’s no need to discuss such topics as religion or finances. You are so in love, nothing can get between you. You’ll work anything out.
We go on this way for some time – sailing through a state of relationship euphoria, subconsciously ignoring the tough questions that so desperately need to be asked. Eventually we feel we know the other person so well and love them so much, we should take the next step in the relationship and devote our lives to each other – not knowing those lives may not mesh very well.
Dating is supposed the time we get to know each other, figure out each other’s quirks and idiosyncrasies and most importantly, discuss some major topics with our significant other. Dating is the time we should be discussing religion, raising children, and finances.
Unfortunately, most couples forget that last part. According to the BMO Wealth Planning Group, 62 per cent of married Canadians wish they had spent more time discussing their financial situation and plans for the future with their partner before getting married.
Make Sure To Discuss The Tough Subjects
As hard and uncomfortable as it may be, you HAVE to ask the tough questions. The more anxiety & stress you feel about a topic, the more important it is to discuss. Here are just a few to get you started:
- Religion – Are you of the same faith? If not, how important is that to you? How will you work out the differences? If you have children, what will you teach them?
- Politics – Do you share the same views? Is it important to you that your spouse participates in public policies, etc.?
- Children – Are you on the same page with this one? If not, what would happen should you find yourselves unexpectedly pregnant?
- Sexual History – Do you know each other’s romantic past? Share any issues you may have here.
- Medical History – Are there any medical issues in your family? If you have children will these be a concern?
- Personal & Family Details – If you have any skeletons in your closet, it’s best to bring them out now.
- Credit Ratings – Your credit rating may not be that important to you now, but when you’re planning a future together it becomes extremely important. Just like sharing your ‘notches on your belt’ – you need to share your financial report card with your partner.
- Financial Expectations – Once you are married, who will be in charge of paying the bills? Will one person be the bread winner or will you share that role? Will you be bringing any debt into the union? Joint or separate bank accounts? Individual credit cards? How will you save for retirement?
We can’t stress enough how important it is to discuss these BEFORE you walk down the aisle. Don’t be one of 62% of Canadians that regret not talking about their finances and future with their partner. Use our checklist to help you bring up those awkward – but necessary – topics. It may cause some heated discussions, but it will be worth it in the long run.
Are you already married and have advice for those getting ready to say ‘I Do’… Leave them in the comments below!