We have all seen it, those corny sitcoms and chick flicks where the proposal goes terribly wrong. The guy pops the question and the girl is so blindsided that she doesn’t know what to say. What could have been one of the most romantic nights of their lives turns into an awkward hiccup in their relationship. Wouldn’t it be nice to know for certain that he is “The One” before he gets down on one knee?
If a couple can get on the same page about their future, that special moment can be full of excitement rather than anxiety, and hope rather than doubt. There will be nothing holding her back from squeeling that desired answer, “Yes!” while tossing her arms around his neck. Having some important conversations about the future can alleviate all that stress and allow them to enjoy that moment to its fullest, and remember it for years to come.
The best way for couples to get on the same page is to have honest conversations about their future. How and when to have these conversations will depend on the individual couple. Some may prefer to gradually discuss these things during their courtship as they naturally come up. Others may want to fill out a questionnaire like a worksheet and then compare answers. Some may prefer a combination of the two.
When my husband and I were dating, he created a game so that we could ask each other important questions in a fun way. We each wrote down questions similar to the ones below on sticky notes. After we placed the sticky notes down, we took turns rolling a dice. We had to answer the question that we landed on. It turned out to be fun, and really helped us to get to know each other’s hopes and dreams. On other occasions, we casually talked about what we would do if we couldn’t have children, and my desire to be a Stay at Home Mom. (read more about that here.) We got to know each other pretty well.
Here is a list of some important discussion points to help get you started.
- What values do we expect each other to live?
- What religion will we practice?
- How active will we be in said religion?
- Do we want to pursue higher education?
- How will we pay for it? (Save up/cash flow/Student loans)
- Where are you willing to live to pursue education?
- What careers do we want to have?
- How will we earn it?
- What are our savings goals?
- What are we willing to go into debt for? house/car/education etc.
- How will we Save/Spend/Give our money? We love the free Everydollar app.
- Do we want kids?
- How many?
- How will we raise them?
- Will one of us quit work to be a stay at home parent? if so, which parent?
- Will me make them go to church?
- Will we expect them to do chores?
- Will we let them participate in sports. extracurricular activities?
- What schooling do we want them to have? public/private/charter/home school etc.
- If we are unable to naturally conceive, will we seek medical help/adopt?
- Do we get along with each other’s parents?
- How close do we want to live to them?
- How involved will we let them be in our lives?
- Are we comfortable with them babysitting our kids?
- Who’s family will we spend Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Years with?
These questions and many more will help a couple decide if they are a good match. Listening to the heart is essential as well. There is no equation that can be written to calculate a definitive answer. The Heart MUST be involved in a decision this big. All this while being careful to recognize the difference between lust and love. Ignoring warning signs because you “love” them, is a bad idea.
Communication is so important before a ring is placed on that finger. It is better to find out now if fundamentally different goals are desired before sacred marital promises are made, and before children are brought into the equation. On the other hand, (The one with the sparkly diamond! See what I did there?) having the same vision towards the future will create the perfect foundation for a successful proposal and marriage.
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