“Marriage is like life – it is a field of battle, not a bed of roses.” -Robert Louis Stevenson
I know that usually I’m bashing relationship “advice.” I do find most of it to be terrible, unhelpful, misleading, and flat out moronic. However, this article from the NY Times is spot on.
I know that it’s old (Dec. 17, 2006) but the advice is timeless. It lists fifteen questions couples should ask before they get married.
1) Have we discussed whether or not to have children, and if the answer is yes, who is going to be the primary care giver?
2) Do we have a clear idea of each other’s financial obligations and goals, and do our ideas about spending and saving mesh?
3) Have we discussed our expectations for how the household will be maintained, and are we in agreement on who will manage the chores?
4) Have we fully disclosed our health histories, both physical and mental?
5) Is my partner affectionate to the degree that I expect?
6) Can we comfortably and openly discuss our sexual needs, preferences and fears?
7) Will there be a television in the bedroom?
8) Do we truly listen to each other and fairly consider one another’s ideas and complaints?
9) Have we reached a clear understanding of each other’s spiritual beliefs and needs, and have we discussed when and how our children will be exposed to religious/moral education?
10) Do we like and respect each other’s friends?
11) Do we value and respect each other’s parents, and is either of us concerned about whether the parents will interfere with the relationship?
12) What does my family do that annoys you?
13) Are there some things that you and I are NOT prepared to give up in the marriage?
14) If one of us were to be offered a career opportunity in a location far from the other’s family, are we prepared to move?
15) Does each of us feel fully confident in the other’s commitment to the marriage and believe that the bond can survive whatever challenges we may face?
Some of them are the biggies (Do you want kids?) and some are smaller (TV in the bedroom?), but they all cover areas of relationships that are extremely important.
The bottom line is that for any relationship to be successful, you must communicate. And not just about your day or what to have for dinner, but you have to deal with those big, uncomfortable issues.
Otherwise, you’re going to contribute to the nation’s 50% divorce rate.