Tuesday, February 17, 2009
I’m getting married in two months to the man of my dreams. We met right after college, dated for five years and I feel like we know each other really well. We both want kids and are saving to buy our first house. I know it’s important for us to be on the same page when it comes to the future. What other things, besides children, do we need to discuss before we get married?
-Mrs. Future Discussions
Dear Mrs. Future Discussions:
Kudos to you for thinking about the future. There are many topics that you and your fiancé should discuss before you tie the knot. Knowing that you want kids is great, but do you know how many? And, when are you going to have these beautiful little babies? Oh yeah, and are you going to stay home and take care of them? What about money?
Career goals, money management, retirement plans – all of these things should be considered and discussed before your big day to make sure you’re walking down the right aisle. In all the excitement of planning a fabulous wedding, I realize that talking about retiring or what religion you are going to teach your kids is not really sexy, but they are conversations that can ensure the start of a strong, solid marriage. You do not have to map out your entire future detail by detail, however, making sure that you both are on the same page, or have a plan for compromising is crucial.
Dr. Robin L. Smith, a psychologist who regularly appears on The Oprah Winfrey Show, wrote a book called Lies at the Altar, The Truth About Great Marriages. In chapter nine, “Eyes Wide Open,” she list 276 questions to ask before you marry. They tackle topics like work, home, sex, money, family, parenting and so on. Some you may already have the answers to and some you might have never thought about. They are definitely worth a look.
Winks & Smiles,
My husband is wonderful, loving and means well. Every weekend he gives me a few hours to myself while he looks after the kids. I appreciate this but when I get back home, the house is a wreck, the kids are all wound-up, and have only eaten snacks. I’m glad that they are having so much fun together; and I am enjoying my time away, but how do I get my husband to keep the house and kids in a little more order?
- Mrs. Loving & Disorderly Husband
Dear Mrs. Loving & Disorderly Husband:
OK, let me see if I understand this correctly: you are enjoying your time away; your husband and your kids are enjoying their time together; everybody is happy, safe and fed – even if it’s goldfish crackers and fruit snacks; but, you would like to rock the boat and have things done your way, even though you’re not there, just so you don’t come home to a messy house?
You could step in and take control. Pre-plan some activities for your husband and children and leave them lunch already made, but is that really necessary - especially at the cost of your husband’s dignity? He is stepping up to the plate and providing what I’m sure is a much needed break for you. He’s a grown man. He’s their father. Unless there is a real threat of danger, you need to relax and let him handle it. If you question his capability when it’s really not necessary it can be damaging to your relationship and will probably squash his future attempts at family fun.
If the mess is really that bad when you get home, have him and the kids help clean it up. Make it a game, give a reward, do it together, but, don’t say anything else to your husband except thank you and ask him what time you should plan your next outing.
Winks & Smiles,
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The advice on this site is intended to be helpful, but is not meant to take the place of marital counseling, legal advice, financial advice or any other professional service. If you feel you need professional help, it is encouraged for you to get some.