Well, the Bible tells us to turn to our elders for advice and seek the wisdom that they have to offer us. I am hoping to gain some insight and wisdom from all of you. As I get closer to marriage, what sort of things do you suggest talking about, doing, etc. What are some things that you wished you would have talked about before you got married? What are some things you wish you would have been prepared for in marriage? Thank you!!!
Pray with your spouse…every day
pray for your spouse…every day
do some things together… but, have your own interests and allow your spouse to have their own interests and friends.
never let your inlaws make you feel like an outlaw…
never take your parents side of an argument over your spouse.
Gosh, don’t I wish I had this…
Anyway, to the OP, CHILDREN!!! Talk about the children (hopefully you’ll marry a Catholic person). I didn’t, and the faith and children are what we basically ignored when we got married. We thought things would be easy, and because we’re of 2 different faiths, WE SHOULD HAVE TALKED ABOUT THOSE THINGS!!
Oh, and always respect and communicate! That’s a huge thing in marriage
Congratulations on your upcoming marriage!
Wow, things to talk about… There’s so many! I’ll try to think of everything I can, and hopefully, come back for more.
Children - Everything from how many you’d like to be blessed with, to discipline/parenting methods.
Finances - Budgeting; do you want individual or joint accounts; credit scores; will you be a dual income family or a single income family with the advent of children.
Family of Origin - What kinds of problems do you see yourselves having with each others’ families (or things you already struggle with), and what your expectations are for how things are to be handled/resolved.
Sorry, I have more, but the toddler is wanting to play…
Things you MUST talk about:
Money - philosophy and attitudes (are you a spender or a saver? do you struggle with impulsive spending or miserliness? are you well educated economically or fairly ignorant? is one person going to take care of most financial issues or will you split those duties? did your parents have issues over money and how did those affect your attitudes?)
Children - how many would you like to have? when do you want to have them? what kinds of discipline do you think are appropriate/inappropriate? what do you think a parent’s role and function are with regard to children? (guardian, guide, friend, role-model, commander, etc.) what is your ultimate goal as a parent? (tight-knit adult siblings, raising self-sufficient people, etc.) what was there about your family of origin that you loved and would like to replicate? what would you like to avoid?
Sex - do you think you have a high, low, or average sex drive? how important a part of marriage do you think sex is? could you handle a situation where sex was medically not allowed or not possible due to injury or disability?
Roles - what do you think a husband/wife does? what do you think they SHOULD do? what do you think they SHOULDN’T do? are there certain functions you see as pertaining only to the husband or only to the wife? do you believe in a strict division of labor based on sex, or a more free-flowing idea of doing what needs to be done as a team? once children are born, what are your expectations for their care? stay-at-home mom with dad as sole provider, or vice versa, or both parents working full time with kids in daycare, or something in between those two ends of the spectrum? who do you think is the best person to care for children, and how will you provide that? do you believe in headship of the family invested in one partner, or a shared partnership as head of the family?
I’ll post more later if I think of anything else… hope this gets you off to a good start on some important conversations. And one caveat: if you are afraid to discuss any of this with your intended mate, you shouldn’t be marrying them!
Me and my H2B bought these books (I cant remember the name right now but I will find it!) they were superb you got two in the pack and you answered questions and worked through things together such as our views on children, money, careers etc! And it helped us get things of our chests about our pasts by learning about the landmarks of our lives to date schools, families etc!!
It was really good and each of the sections had a 'spirituality; part which was great too!
“Preparing for Marriage: Couple’s Pack by David Boehi, Brent Nelson, Jeff Schulte, and Lloyd Shadrach”
Please don’t think I’m being negative, but now that I’m divorced and going through the annulment process, I would highly suggest getting a copy of your diocese’s annulment petition and writing out answers to some of the questions…especially the first few sections on your family background, your fiance’s background, your dating history, and your engagement. Writing those sections was extremely enlightening to me and many other folks I’ve met who are doing this process. I told my pastor/case sponsor that I wished the Church had made the same sort of thing availlable during pre-Cana and he agreed it was a good idea.
You could also consider “pre marriage” secular counseling. There is a Christian-based counseling center where I live and it’s been very helpful, I would think you could learn a lot about each other by talking in front of an experienced couselor, or a priest with a psych background.
Never let one spouse have all the financial duties…you both need to be involved for checks-and-balances reasons as well as to keep you both informed in case of a financial, legal, or medical emergency.
Pray together as mentioned earlier and you’ll do great!
If you haven’t already, read Good News About Sex and Marriage by Christopher West.
Are you both Catholic? If not, there’s a million other things to discuss.
BTW - Dusky’s post was excellent; that’s all really good stuff!
Oh, and if you have the time/money, take a Courtship/Marriage Sociology course together. There are tons of things covered in a class like that (everything already mentioned and more).
Edited to add: Don’t live together prior to the marriage. Stay chaste. Have a sense of humor. These 3 are so important!
Have you been to any pre-cana prep yet? My parish sent us to a full weekend pre-cana session that was very helpful. Not only did it give us a nice list of topics to discuss, they also taught us some conflict resolution and decision making tools that we still use 16 years later. Of course, you should also be meeting with your priest, I’m sure he’ll have good advice for you also. And I very strongly support the idea of praying for and with your spouse starting now and never stopping!
No, we have not yet started Marriage Prep classes as we are on opposite sides of the country until August. Thank you all for your advice!!! Please keep it coming as we need help to prepare for this gigantic lifechanging step!
Oh wow… the whole long distance thing brings up a ton of other issues. How much time have you two actually spent together? And I mean physically in the same place, talking when you can see each other’s faces, interacting in natural ways, not the sugar-coated way people act in time-compressed visits when they don’t want any controversy spoiling it.
My husband and I spent a year apart early in our relationship, and after that it was almost like getting to know each other all over again. Thankfully we had a LONG engagement (like, all of college) so we had three years after that of being together at the same university before we got married, to truly have an every day, up and down, really get to know each other inside and out, kind of relationship. If we had married right after that year apart, I think it would have been a disaster. We wouldn’t have had time to notice the patterns of our disagreements and sticking points, as well as where we meshed really well, and we wouldn’t have had the distance from that “first flush” of emotion and romance to critically assess whether those were things we were willing to live with for the rest of our lives. Because, honestly, most of those patterns have remained, because they are rooted in the fact that as compatible as we are, we still view life through different prisms, and sometimes the other’s point of view truly doesn’t occur to us until they point it out!
It’s too easy for someone to keep up a facade in a long-distance relationship. If you haven’t had at least a solid year of a face to face relationship some time in the past, I would slow down and reconsider engagement until you have had the chance to do that.
We have only been apart since May, as I came home on my summer break from college. We began dating at the beginning of last summer, spent three months just writing letters (trying to really grow in friendship) and then we spent the whole of the last school year together. Being at a very small school, we knew each other and talked before we ever began dating. We have had our fights and our sticking points, but we have learned to resolve conflict. We will be back to a normal relationship from August until our wedding next May.
We are both Catholic’s who love attending daily Mass and saying the Rosary together. We definitely have no intention of living together before marriage (the thought has never even crossed my mind) and we want to build a marriage which truly images the relationship between Christ and the Church.
many great responses i have seen,
I have always said and still stand by it
COMMUNICATION IS the KEY, there should not be one single thing you two should be afraid to discuss with each other.
the first time you think or feel or say that old age line well lets keep this from him/her better stop and rethink that,cause if you dont stop that there it gets worse and worse.
best of luck to you
This is a very helpful website for newly marrieds or those who are engaged to be married.
I can heartily recommend the newly launched website from the US Catholic Bishops called foryourmarriage.org
And also put in your search engine Marriage Partnership Magazine, you can review it online as well.
This is wise advice.
Also, childbearing is important. A lot of people have mentioned discussing how many, how to raise them, etc. No one has yet mentioned that you should discuss what to do if you find yourselves infertile. No one ever thinks it will happen to them, yet at least half of the couples I know have struggled with it (maybe it’s something in the water here, who knows). Does he believe, as the Church teaches, that IVF, artificial insemination, and surrogacy are immoral? Do you? How far are you willing to go medically to be able to bear your own children? How do you both feel about adoption? How do your families of origin view adoption- would adopted children be treated by extended family in such a manner that they would feel unwelcome?
I’ve been lucky in that my non-Catholic, child-loving husband from a family with no adoptions is completely on board with my refusal to undergo IVF or similar, and has come around to the idea of eventually adopting. You need to find out if your future spouse has issues with raising children that are not biologically his.
OK Blue, here’s my opinion (17years married).
My wife hid some major issues. Not intentionally but because she was conditioned to do so. She came from a horribly dysfunctional family. She suffered brutal abuse. Physical, emotional and sexual at the hands of her biological father.
The after affects of this abuse nearly ended our marriage but God wasn’t going to let that happen.
If my wife were able to tell me prior to marriage we could have avoided an awful lot of pain by getting her help earlier.
Don’t be ashamed to be honest with your spouse. You will never be closer to another human being.
The best advise my DH and I received was from the priest who witnessed our marriage. He told us to look at one another and asked us what was our fiance’s most endearing quality. Then he said that will be the greatest conflict in your marriage. At first I thought he was crazy. He pointed out that while my DH thought that the way I challenge him (helps him to grow and be a better person) was wonderful at first, he will feel,at least at times, that I was pushing and not accepting him for who he was. He then suggested we talk about how we could avoid those situations and talk about how we would deal with those feelings when they do arise. That is the best advise we ever got!!! Good luck and God bless.
Ok I have to ask why would it make a difference? a child is a child.biology dont make you a parent, just about any idiot can have children but they cant be a parent huge difference…
Ok said my peace great post by the way as your right many dont think about such things
I have no idea why it would make a difference. It doesn’t to me, but maybe that’s because three of my cousins are adopted. It hasn’t made a difference to their parents, and they’re no less my cousins than the biological ones are.
However, it makes a huge difference to some people. Some refuse to raise a child that isn’t of their bloodline; some women absolutely have to have the experience of pregnancy and giving birth to their children. I don’t understand it, personally, but they probably don’t understand our mindset either.
got great advice from the Jesuit who we went to for pre-Cana. Your vocation is to help each other live holy lives and become saints. Accept everything that comes as opportunities to achieve that goal. Heed the biblical counsel to leave father and mother and cling to your spouse, in other words, do not let your family or his try to run your life. Never ever in word or action belittle your spouse to him or to another person, no matter what. the marriage vows are solemn vows, as binding as those of a priest or religious, not good natured intentions. sex before marriage will put a roadblock in the way of the intimacy that should be growing in the engagement period, and the effects will come back to haunt you 25-30 years down the line when kids are gone and you find you have nothing in common because from the beginning the relationship was mainly about sex. contraception is death knell for true married love because it excludes God from the relationship.
the older I get and the more I see the more I understand the wisdom of good old Mom Church.
each of my kids has asked for advice on marriage etc. and what I tell them is if I could change one thing it would be I wish I had trusted in God more, and not in my own strength, competence and ability.