Thinking about proposing?  Is she the woman of your dreams?  Did he ask you to spend the rest of your life with him? Before you say I do to the man or woman of your dreams, here are some reasonable issues to address so that he or she doesn’t become your worst nightmare…

  1.  Religion and Politics: It is okay to respect the other’s religious preferences and their political views.  Try to get an understanding of what they believe in and how they think before jumping to inaccurate conclusions.  These two topics can be serious issues further down the line.  Your goal is to agree to disagree should you both have different opinions about God and the government.
  2. Finances: Decide who is better at balancing the budget, paying the bills on time, saving for retirement or emergencies, etc.  You don’t want a miserly Scrooge, but you also don’t want a careless spender either.  Keep in mind that banks charge fees regardless of whether you think that $0.01 shouldn’t have been over-drafted.  Your credit is now combined with your spouse and if you plan to have children, you will need to be financially secure enough to provide food, shelter, clothing, extracurricular activities, college tuition, and so forth.
  3. Intimacy: Gentleman, sometimes women do not always want to be intimate every moment of the day.  There are those ladies who can’t get enough of you, however, be mindful of her emotional needs as well as the physical.  Intimacy doesn’t always mean sex.  She may enjoy listening to music, quiet time, long walks, a movie, poetry, or a rock concert.   Quality time builds intimacy so talk about mutual things that you both can do for each other and with each other.  Ladies, also recognize that he needs some alone time to rest, watch sports,  or hang out with his own friends and family.  Use his away-time for your own personal “me” time.  The time apart may refresh you both to get back in the relationship and make it just as exciting.
  4. In-laws: Be careful with outside family and placing any of their needs above that of your spouse.  In-laws can become outlaws.  Recognize what is a need versus what is a want.  If anything outside family members may need is within your financial budget or a reasonable constraint, discuss that with your mate prior to making any commitments.  When you get married, there are two sets of families who are now bonded together.  Make sure that there is no hidden animosity brewing.  Mend, forgive, and get along.  You’re family now.
  5. Children, adopted children and Stepchildren: Discuss who will be the disciplinarian and teach the children how they should behave.  Kids always know what‘s the wrong thing to do, so work together to show them the right thing to do .  Discuss rules for disciplining the children, timeouts, privileges, and consequences for breaking any rules.  Adopted and stepchildren need to be treated with the same love and affection that you would provide to a biological child.  Love is a basic necessity also.
  6. “Wild card” topics: Communicate a few outside topics with your mate that you feel are important to make your relationship grow.  If you have pet peeves, discuss them early on so that they do not become hindrances or nagging topics later on in the marriage.

As people change, relationship issues may change.  Communication is the center of what a relationship needs to grow: trust, honesty, and love.  Go in this long-term endeavor with full knowledge of what matters to your spouse-to-be, and allow your mind and heart to be open to suggestions.  There’s always room for improvement and opportunity for growth.  Remember, it’s not WHO IS RIGHT that matters—it’s WHAT IS RIGHT for you, your spouse, and your family and friends.

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