From the moment you get engaged, to the moment you say, “I do” you and your future spouse are in a whirlwind of emotions ranging from love, stress, planning, happiness, crankiness, and so much more. You will probably spend more time, thought, and effort into planning and preparing for your wedding than you will for your marriage. In fact, many girls start planning their wedding day before they even meet their future husband. Imagine my surprise when my then 13 year old daughter began pinning rings, dresses, flowers, and hair styles to her “Wedding” board on Pinterest. All this to plan a wedding, but how much work is going into preparing yourself for marriage?
Whether you’re just starting to date someone or if you’ve been married for the last 70 years, here are 5 things that every couple should discuss before they marry and every year after your marriage. If you are having a difficult time agreeing on things, you can seek counsel from your pastor, a trusted married couple, a marriage counselor, or a free NAME counselor.
In this day and age of technology, it is important for you to guard your marriage from outside influences. You should discuss how you plan to protect your marriage from more than just inappropriate friendships, which can lead to an affair. You should also discuss protecting your marriage from your parents, friends, and even your future children. Here are some questions that can help you discuss accountability for the purposes of protecting your marriage:
How will we protect our marriage from an affair?
Will we have friends of the opposite sex in life? On social media?
Will we share all of our passwords?
Will we share all social media accounts?
Will we discuss each account we create on the internet?
How will we guard our time from our children when we have them so that we still put each other first?
How much input will our parents have on our lives?
Who will we discuss our marital problems with to avoid discussing and tainting our relationship with our friends and family?
When two people become one, it is sometimes easy to forget that you still need to delegate the responsibilities of the house as well as the marriage. The Bible says that the husband should be the head of the house, just as Jesus is the head of our church. The husband should then have the final decision, but he would of course discuss everything and be in agreement with his wife. This can lead to major conflict in a marriage if you do not properly understand the roles of a husband and a wife. So whether you take care of things yourself or agree to hire someone, you will want to discuss things beforehand. Here are some questions that can help you discuss sharing the responsibilities:
Will we follow God’s plan for marriage and let the husband be the head of the house?
Who will be the final decision maker when we cannot agree?
Who will be responsible for home maintenance such as fixing and updating items around the house?
Who will be responsible for the yard work?
What things will we discuss before we make a decision? (Hiring a handy man, having my parent fix something, asking a friend for help, etc.)
Who will be responsible for cleaning the house?
Will we pick up after ourselves in all areas of the house?
Who will cook meals?
Who will go grocery shopping?
Who will take care of pet maintenance?
Who will take care of vehicle maintenance?
The statistics show that many couples are sexually active before they marry. That means that rather than have a plan for their sexual relationship, they most likely gave into a fleshly desire to be intimate. Once you have begun a sexual relationship it can be difficult to stop, and even more difficult to discuss important details or ask difficult questions. Because sex is so important to your marriage, you should give this subject much discussion over the course of your relationship and marriage. It may seem silly to talk about something that tends to come naturally, but unmet expectations can lead to conflict in this area. So bite the bullet and make open the door to communication in this area. Here are some questions that can help you discuss your sexual relationship:
How will we honor God in our sexual relationship?
How often will we have sex?
In what ways can we prepare our heart for intimacy?
Do you have a history of pornography or sexual abuse?
How will we prevent ourselves from having sex before we are married?
Who will be responsible for initiating sex?
What things make me uncomfortable or are off-limits?
How will we keep our sexual relationship private?
How important is foreplay in our marriage?
Who will we talk to if we have problems with our sexual relationship?
People often say that the number one cause for divorces is conflict in finances. While I don’t know how true that is anymore, it is very true that it can cause significant stress in your marriage. Studies show that people who have a lot of money can be just as unhappy as someone who has very little. Making sure that you are both on the same page about your finances and your financial goals will be a great way to reduce conflict. Here are some questions that can help you discuss finances in your marriage:
Who will primarily responsible for our finances?
How much debt do you have?
How much money can we spend without needing to discuss our purchase?
Will we use a method to organize our finances such as Financial Peace?
How will we invest our money for the future?
Will we purchase a vehicle for our children, or will they buy their own?
Will we keep ourselves debt free?
When will we buy our first home?
What are your career goals?
Does tithing mean giving before or after our taxes?
How much will we give toward missions and other charities?
God should be at the center of your marriage, not your husband or your wife. He is the one who will bind your cord of three strands together in the tough times when you don’t feel like serving one another. That’s right, marriage is about serving someone other than yourself so that you can bring God glory in your relationship. However not many people grow up with a biblical foundation of what God intends for marriage. In some cases, newlyweds will have had little to no training regarding God’s plan for marriage, why He created it, or how He intended it to work. Whether you have had a great example of marriage or no example at all, it is very important to discuss God in your marriage often. Here are some questions that can help you discuss your faith:
Will we pray together daily?
Will the husband be the spiritual leader of our household?
Who will initiate prayer?
What church will we attend?
Will we pray with our children before bed every night?
Will we attend Sunday School?
Will we use Christian counseling when we need help in our marriage?
Will we read the Bible together?
How will we honor God in our marriage?
Scriptures for Meditation
“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” 1 Peter 3:7
“…Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
“Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.” Acts 20:28