Relationships|October 22, 2008 8:13 am

Ten Conversations to Have Before I Get Married

From the book The 10 Conversations You Must Have Before You Get Married (And how to have them) by Dr. Guy Grenier.

  1. Deciding to have or not have children
  2. Choosing accommodating career paths
  3. Managing your different financial styles
  4. Discussing sexual behaviours and attitudes
  5. Melding family and cultural priorities
  6. Finding a location for home
  7. Ensuring housework feels equitable.
  8. Deciding how to evolve your leisure time
  9. Bringing together spiritual or religious beliefs
  10. Putting it together and continuing the conversation

What other conversations or sub-conversations do you think should be on this list?

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3 Comments

  • In terms of discussions to have before getting married, there is another book that is quite good ” 101 questions to ask before getting married” – or something like that.

    For instance in the book, it goes further than just should we have children to – if we have children, how many, what type of schooling do we want to provide, what type of childhood due we want to have….etc. This is an Oprah book and the author was on the show. What was interesting was that she had couples that were on the show that said “Yes, we talked about everything before getting married”. However, in each individual’s mind they actually had a different viewpoint of what it looked like. For instance, there was one couple who were married and had two kids. In her mind she always assumed she would stay at home, but that they would have a nice house and the kids would go to private school (they live in NY and are not super rich). He assumed that they would live in the City, they would both work and the kids would go to Public school. So in reality, the vision they had for their family was quite different.

    I know my sister also felt this when she got married two years ago. She was used to growing up in the suburbs. Therefore, her vision of a home is X sq. ft, with a yard, driveway and within a reasonable commute to work and one family living in it. Her husband however had always had roomates and actually bought a house with his family in the City (they live in Vancouver) so he was “we’ll just live with my family”. She wasn’t so okay with that. So they had lots of discussions and came to an agreement which actually they redeveloped the house so that it is apartments and they will live there for now and intend to move to suburbs (where they can afford their own house) in a few years.

    Also, the question about housework really should begin with what level of cleanliness/dirtiness are we willing to put up with because no two people have the same tolerances. i.e. ) do they washrooms get cleaned once a week, daily, never? In my experience, I actually found that trying to get the household work to be equitable doesn’t actually work. I really do think it is a gender thing as well. One thing I noticed is that the condition of a house reflects directly on the woman more than the man. If a house is messy, then it is “oh, she is not a good housewife/homemaker…etc”. It is never he is messy. Also, when things get done is also an issue. For most women it is “honey take out the garbage” and they mean within “5 seconds”. For most men it is “when I get to it” which seems arbitary. So in the end the woman takes the garbage out and yells at the husband. Great husband secret number 1 – if you want a great sex-life do more housework at home “without your wife asking”! Nothing is more pleasing to a woman than not having to fold laundry or clean the bathroom…etc. but the piece-de-resistance is not having to say it!

    So I have blabbered too much but last piece of advice – get a housecleaner (if you can afford it) even if it is one day a month!

    Erum

  • ha ha – so true Erum!

    Cam and I have been married about 1 1/2 years now … and the bit about ’5 seconds’ vs. ‘when I get to it’ is very true for us! :-) But I’m quite lucky, Cam actually does a lot of the cleaning without being asked – I think that is because he grew up in a house were cleanliness means something very different than the house I grew up in. (Or maybe I’m just lazy, but I do all the fixing up of things, renovating and work involving tools in our house … so I think it evens out.)

    Marriage is a challenge, but so worth it!

    PS: I’m so happy that you found each other Chris and Meela!

  • Hi Chris….didn’t know you were getting married!! How terrific! Just one bit i want to share…..remember about differing love languages. I read a great book called The Five Love Languages and it was very helpful as we often have very different needs in terms of how we feel loved and what we need from our partner that makes us feel loved. And our partner may need somethign totally different so here you are showing love for your partner in the love language YOU most prefer, and s/he is feelign unloved because her primary love language is not being met. For example, my preferred love language is “quality time”…..i feel most loved when my partner spends quality time with me. His primary love language is “words of affirmation” and “physical touch (not sexual but physical like hand holding or snuggling”. So i think i am showing how much i love him by saying, “come for a walk with me”….when what he wants is just to hear me say “I love you” or give him a hug and a cuddle. So we discover that what we need from our partner to feel loved could be very different for each partner! Just something i wanted to share and never really thought much about before!

    I wish you life long happiness!! Congratulations, Chris!!

    R.

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