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Congratulations and hello! My name is Toni. Here are some thought starters for your big day and that big plunge you're taking. Cheers to your coming married life!

Discussing Marriage Expectations

March 14th 2008 10:53
No bad surprises please!

My fiance (now husband) and I met with our minister a month before our wedding. Our minister asked, "Have you discussed your expectations?"

"Expectations?," we both asked.

"It's important to discuss your expectations from each other. For example, do you expect him to come home early after work? Is a home-cooked dinner something he can expect from you? Things like that," our minister shared.

We both shrugged. Our minister sighed. The truth is we had not thought about sharing expectations until he brought it up! But it is one of the most important points for discussion with your partner before getting married. Some expectations we eventually did end up discussing were:

1. We would live on our own. In our culture, it is normal for the newlyweds to stay at the bride's family's home first. My husband and I wanted to be independent right away, so we hunted for an apartment to rent.

2. We would start building a family right away. Children could be a big part of your marriage, so aligning on family planning would be great. Both of us agreed that we would start trying for a baby right away. But life happens, and we both discovered we weren't ready yet. We wanted to enjoy our newlywed life first! At least expectations were clear from both of us going in.

3. We would split the bills a particular way. Money is another big part of your marriage. Agreeing on how to manage finances is something you have to discuss. Talking about money could be awkward at first, but you have to do it.

4. We'd visit family once a week. My husband and I have close relationships with each of our own families, so agreeing to visit our parents and siblings once a week was something we both delighted in. We still try to do this as much as we can.

5. We wouldn't force ideals on each other. His Mom is a fantastic cook, and I'm a crap cook, honestly. He was used to coming home to wonderful dinners and filling meals. I made it clear to him that I would try to learn how to cook, but not to expect anything grand. What happened was that our early newlywed meals were mostly take-out, but that was fine with him. (I'm still trying to learn how to cook.)

Discussing expectations isn't easy, but it's best to do so you and your partner are on the same page before getting married. It'll make for an even healthier relationship, and you may discover more things about each other that you'd have to learn to adjust to. It's not easy, but it's definitely worth it.

Photo credit: dcJohn

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