Questions You Should Know the Answer to Before Walking Down the Aisle

mr & mrsBefore you walk down the aisle and make a commitment to your spouse, spend some time asking and answering these questions.  While there is no guarantee that your marriage will survive the 50% divorce ratio, knowing your spouse’s perception on a few life issues can go a long way in identifying potential problem areas in your marriage.

Background Questions:

  1. What kind of childhood did you have?
  2. Who was your best friend and why?
  3. What did you dream about as a child?
  4. Who do you want to please? Whose opinion counts?
  5. How did you spend your time as a child?
  6. When do you say, “If only…”? What are your regrets?

Life Questions:

  1. What do you want in life?
  2. What are you passionate about?  What drives you?  What do you crave?
  3. What makes you tick? What really matters to you?
  4. What do you hope will last in your life? What can’t you live without?
  5. What do you pray for?
  6. What beliefs do you hold about life, God, yourself, others?

Goal Questions:

  1. Where do you hope for? What are you working towards?
  2. What are your expectations and goals? What are you working for?
  3. What are you trying to accomplish?
  4. Who are your role models? Who are the people you respect?
  5. How do you define success or failure in any particular situation? What makes you feel rich?
  6. How do you spend your time? What are your priorities?

Emotion Questions:

  1. What do you fear? If fear is the flip side of desire then when I desire your acceptance I also fear your rejection.
  2. What gets you angry?
  3. Where do you find refuge, safety and comfort? How do you escape when things get rough
  4. What do you see as your rights? What do you feel entitled to?
  5. What are your fantasies? What do you daydream about?
  6. What instinctively feels right to you?

Future Spouse Questions:

  1. What do you need from a spouse?
  2. Who do you trust?
  3. Does your performance matter to you? If so, how?  What about your spouse’s performance?
  4. What would bring you the greatest pleasure and the greatest distress?
  5. What do you talk about? What subjects do you tend to discuss with your friends?
  6. How do you envision your marriage?  How will you spend your time?

 

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

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Dealing with the In-Laws-to-be

Preparing for a wedding is fun, after all this is a party, a celebration of two lives coming together.  Preparing for a marriage is entirely another event; it is not fun, rather it is work.  Any time you take two different view points, two different personalities, and two different backgrounds and merge them together, there is bound to be tension.  One of the often overlooked areas of preparing for a marriage is dealing with the in-laws to be.  They are likely to be involved in your lives going forward so setting the parameters now before marriage decreases the potential conflict.

The new “we”.  Before you walk down the aisle or go to the courthouse, you should begin the practice of changing your perspective from “me” to “we”.  More importantly, the “we” means you and your spouse to be, not “we” meaning you and your parents.  For some this a hard adjustment as even the most simple of decisions were discussed with your parents, for others this is a no-brainer.  Nevertheless, if you begin this process now, before the wedding, your parents are more likely to adjust to the new perspective as well.  This is not a perspective that you want your in-laws to adjust to after the wedding as it may cause frustration and resentment.  Rather, practice it now.  When you say “we”, it is only you and your spouse; no parents allowed.

Mine are mine, yours are yours.  As a rule of thumb, communication is best received from you to your parents.  Parents are more likely to receive good or bad information if given directly from you to them without any interference.  You talking to your in-laws can create a question of whether or not their child, your spouse, really agrees with the decision.  This question then lives in the minds of your in-laws for the duration of your marriage and will likely be brought up an inopportune time.  When the two of you finally agree on an issue, you tell your parents and your spouse tells his/her parents.

Mark your calendars.  One of the most common disagreements that an engaged couple find themselves addressing is where to spend the holidays.  This may not have been an issue while dating, but when engaged each set of parents are basically staking out their claim on a particular holiday.  They know that the plan you set the first year is going to be very close to the one you will follow every year including when you have their precious grandchildren.  So plan carefully.  Keep one holiday for yourselves, at your house, to begin your own tradition and then divide out the rest amongst everyone else.   You don’t have to communicate your plan ahead of time but if both of you agree now, there will be less tension later.

Keeping these tips in mind will reduce the in-law tension in your home.  Remember, future decisions should involve you and your spouse; not you, your spouse, your parents, and your in-laws.  The more people involved in a decision, the more difficult it is to come to an agreement, just look at congress.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

The Joining of Your Money in Marriage

One of the hardest areas for most couples to agree is in the area of money and finances.  In fact, most divorces are the result of disagreements over money that date back to the beginning of their marriage.  Failing to plan for your finances to be joined together is a recipe for disaster.  There are many financial courses available to you such as Financial Peace University and Crown Ministries both of which lay a solid financial base and should be considered within the first year of your marriage.  Until then, here are a couple of potential differences in your financial perspective to discuss and compare notes.  By spending time now understanding each other’s perspective, some of the tension involving money can be minimized.

Different socioeconomic backgrounds.  You may not have grown up in the same zip code or come from the same financial background.  Some families tend to be savers and some tend to be spenders, your family’s financial background has already influenced your finances.  And while your family’s perspective on money may be different from you, imagine the tension that can be created if your spouse to be has an entirely different background experience.  The discussion topic to have is what is your family’s experience with money and how has that experience affected your financial decisions.

Different financial goals.  Having financial goals like how much money do you want saved, when and where would you like to retire, and what annual salary are you striving to achieve are just a small sample of goals that you should be discussing.  After all, each of you already has a financial goal which should become a shared goal between the two of you.  Some financial goals may be more defined and specific than others; one of you is likely to be a bit more detailed.  But if your spouse to be says that they don’t have a financial goal then their goal is really to allow others, including the financial markets, to dictate their life.  This is not a healthy goal upon which two people should be joined.

Different spending habits.  More than likely, one of you will be a spender and the other a saver.  Determine now who is which and who is going to be in charge of managing your finances.  The saver is the best choice for managing the money as they are better at long-term planning then the spender.  Both of you should begin now to put together a budget that you can agree on that is consistent with your financial goals.  Discuss and agree now on how money will be spent from each paycheck and how much money will be saved.  There are many guidelines out there for budgeting but the best one is the one that works for you and is easy to stick with every month.

Different checking accounts.  Right now you have different checking accounts and different monthly expenses.  Soon you will need to decide how and if the accounts will be joined together into one account or several different accounts.  Whether or not the accounts are jointly held, both of you needs to have access to the accounts including the balances at all times.  If not, one person may believe that the other is hiding money from them.  This breeds distrust and disunity.  Discuss now what accounts you will keep at which banks and how to give both of you access to the balances on a monthly if not daily basis.

While there are many more issues to address with joining your finances together, this list is a good place to start as you begin the merging process.  It is likely that the above topics will cause some disagreement already but that is precisely what it is designed to do because if you agree on these topics now, it will greatly reduce the tension later.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.