Getting married is a major step in any couple’s life—no one can deny that. But, marriage itself can often be overshadowed by the excitement of an engagement or the business of planning a wedding.

If you’re ready to get married to your partner, chances are you know a lot about them, and you’ve thought about sharing a life together. But, there are some things couples should know—and potentially work through—before making that trip down the aisle.

Now is the time to address these potential issues. Think about what you want, what your partner wants, and how you’re willing to work through things together to create a solid foundation for your marriage.

So, what are some things couples should know before getting married?

1. You Might Have Unrealistic Expectations

The butterflies and excitement you feel right now probably won’t be there every day throughout your marriage. No matter how much you love your partner, life still moves forward in its own way after you’re married.

You’ll have to work. Maybe you’ll have to raise children. Your busy schedules may keep you apart more than you’re together.

That doesn’t mean your marriage will struggle. It means you both have to make your relationship a priority for the rest of your lives. That might mean something as simple as setting aside a “date night” to watch a movie at home once a week.

When you set aside unrealistic expectations for your partner and your relationship, you’ll be more content with the simple, everyday routine of marriage.

2. Financial Issues

How you choose to handle your finances as a couple is up to you. Some partners choose to have separate bank accounts while others choose to share.

What’s important, though, is that you know about any financial issues or struggles your partner might be dealing with before you get married. Do they have a lot of debt? Do they have a steady job? Are they working to pay off that debt, or do they spend more than they should?

Understanding any potential financial issues now can save you a lot of stress later.

Money can be a stressful thing for couples to talk about, but it’s necessary to work out those issues before you get married, so it doesn’t lead to keeping secrets from one another or underlying fears about your finances.

3. Your Spouse Shouldn’t Complete You

Before getting married, it’s important that both people in a relationship can stand on their own two feet.

We’ve started to shift as a society. More people are getting married quickly, because it’s often just as easy to get a divorce. But, that’s no way to think when you’re considering your lifelong vows.

If you’re thinking about getting married because your spouse “completes” you in some way, take a step back. That kind of thinking can cause you to become co-dependent and develop unhealthy attachment issues in the relationship. It can also lead to problems with trust.

If you struggle with self-esteem, insecurities, or even mental health issues like anxiety or depression, make sure to get the help you need before getting married. That isn’t to say you can’t keep working on those issues well into your marriage. But, don’t look to your spouse to somehow “fix” those issues. It isn’t fair to either of you.

4. Plans for the Future

Marriage is meant to be a lifelong commitment.

If you’re not on the same paths, it’s something that needs to be discussed before you make that commitment.

That isn’t to say your wants and needs for the future can’t shift over time. But, things like whether to have children, where you’re going to live, and shared responsibilities are big subjects that need to be addressed early on. If you’re not on the same page now, it could cause problems later.

Ultimately, being open and honest with your partner is the best way to feel confident about getting married. There are plenty of additional subjects you should talk about, so don’t be afraid to open up a line of conversation. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. The more you know about yourself and your partner before getting married, the stronger your relationship will be.

About the Author

Roma Williams is a Houston-based licensed marriage and family therapist, who is also licensed in the states of Georgia, Florida, and California. Her specialties and clinical interests are systems and relationships. Roma enjoys working with couples, including LGBTQ+ and those who live in polyamorous relationships. As an African American woman, Roma has donated time and efforts to causes championing black women and mental health. Roma also enjoys working with individuals on their relationships with themselves and others. Being a California native, and moving to the south in her adult years, Roma has had plenty of experiences that have shaped her cultural development both professionally and personally. In her spare time, Roma enjoys fashion, all things wine, and traveling.

If you are in Houston or in any part of Texas, Georgia, Florida, or California and are ready to work with Roma click here.