This year, hubby and I celebrate five years of marriage...Every time we look at pictures from that time, we say something like, "I can't believe how rested we looked!" We are now in that stage of life where we depend on very large cups of coffee (and Jesus, of course!) to get us through our days. We are so glad to have each other and incredibly thankful that God brought us together.
Before getting engaged, we dated for just over a year~ Our engagement lasted right around 9 months...I thought I needed that long to plan the wedding....but seriously...I had planned the wedding back in the 90's and was just waiting on the right man to show up in his tux.
In honor of our fifth wedding anniversary, I'm sharing five important questions that I would encourage most young dating couples to ask one another before moving toward marriage.
Here we go...
Do you have any debt? If so, how much? If so, what do you plan to do about it? Do you plan to continue living with the same habits? Okay...that was actually four questions right there, but for couples, few topics are as serious as the issue of money. TOTAL openness, honesty, and transparency is absolutely crucial in this area. Many moons ago, hubby and I (as young adults...living in separate places...not even realizing the other person existed) wondered if we would ever find someone who approached finances in the same way we did. However, God knew - and He brought us together in his perfect timing. At the start of our dating relationship, we discussed finances at length...As our relationship progressed and we moved toward engagement, everything was laid out on the table. Those discussions were absolutely foundational in our getting to know each other and establishing an incredible comfort level in the area of finances.
Who do you want to raise your children? This question opens the door for very important discussions about roles in a family, expectations for at-home/working responsibilities, etc. Gals, if you desire to be at home as a full-time mom, make sure your significant other understands and supports your heart's desire. It is not for me to say what is right or wrong for other families, but it is absolutely imperative that these types of things be discussed before you marry someone. Sure, you don't know what the future holds...You don't even know for sure whether or not God will give you children...But it is so important for you to know the heart of the person with whom you are considering sharing your future.
Who do you want to educate your children? Our children receiving a truth-centered, faith-based education is a non-negotiable for us, and you can bet it came up on our second date...okay maybe the third...nope, I think it was the second. At this point, we have chosen to homeschool our children; and while educational decisions will look different for each family, can vary year-to-year, etc. it is so important to be on the same page as you seek to partner with your spouse to raise children.
How do you plan to spend the holidays? Whoa! Yes, this can be an interesting chit-chat. More than any other conversation, this discussion will help you understand a man's relationship with his mother. Does your future mother-in-law expect to plan your holidays for the next 55 years? If so, run like the ever-lovin' wind...okay, I'm exaggerating a tad....but seriously. What are the expectations for birthdays? Holidays/Special Occasions? Family Meals? Family Visits? Family Vacations? Their role in the lives of your [possible] future children?
In your mind, what does retirement look like? When you're 21 years old, you may not be thinking much about retirement, but if you're looking to spend your entire life with someone, you need to discuss as much as possible, and we can not ignore the fact that we will all age...Oh my how I have already aged since I was 21...I digress. Having an understanding of what the other person's plans for retirement look like will unify a couple in working toward similar goals, plans, etc. Once again, no one knows what the future will hold...just an important topic to discuss with one another.
In life, the only constant is God and His faithfulness. While we can not predict or plan every detail of our lives, asking questions and having discussions about these kinds of issues can bring to light the deepest parts of a person's heart - Because these types of topics have been known to create the greatest conflict in marriages, why not discuss them and learn to understand one another as much as possible? Sure, all couples will experience disagreements, misunderstandings, differing points of view, many, many situations where compromise is required, but in working through these topics while dating, you may realize that the other party is not the one with whom you were intended to say "I do", and while it may be difficult to walk away, it may be the right thing to do. A wise family friend once told me, "It's better to not have what you want than to have what you don't want." His advice helped to guide me away from the wrong guy which made me available for David - the man that, I whole-heartedly believe, God had for me all along~
What were the important questions you asked before saying "I do!" to your spouse?