With the high divorce rate in the United States, the oath "'Til death do us part" seems to have unfortunately lost its luster. Of course, nobody gets married with the intention of getting a divorce, but it still happens. Many couples divorce due to financial differences, conflicting expectations of their roles in the relationship, infidelity, or a simple lack of communication. If you are in a serious relationship or at least considering one, save yourself some heartbreak in advance and make sure your key values are compatible with one another. Here are some of the serious conversations you need to have together before committing to a long-lasting relationship.
Children: If one of you wants children and the other one is not keen on the idea, this is a warning sign that the relationship may not work out in the future. You also have to consider what values, ideals and education you want to raise a child with. If the difference in opinion on this matter is too dissimilar, the match may be incompatible. The same is true of pets; if one person can't live without a pet and the other person doesn't like pets at all, you may want to pull out of the relationship before it becomes more serious.
Family: Different families have different customs and traditions. It's important to discuss what your expectations are for family involvement down the road. Do you plan to vacation with your family once a year? Do you spend one or two holidays per year at their family's house? While familial differences may not be a deal-breaker in a relationship, it can increasingly become a problem if it seems like one person is refusing to leave the nest and continually clings to family members rather than their significant other.
The In-laws: The term "monster-in-law" exists for a reason. Many couples experience problems with their in-laws over the course of a relationship. From clingy mothers that can't let go of their darling sons to overbearing fathers that refuse to accept a son-in-law, parents of a spouse can become major sources of frustration in a relationship. The problem only amplifies as a parent ages and requires the care of their children. Remember, when you marry your partner, you also marry into their family, so it is important to at least be on good terms with their parents. While therapy and counseling can help a couple get through some of these issues, it is better to resolve them before committing to a potential lifetime together.
Chores: Discuss your expectations for each other's workload at home. Is one person expected to do all the household chores, or will they be divided equally? How did each of your parents manage this issue? Many couples start living together and realize that they have totally different ideas about who is responsible for each chore, often based off of how their household was split as they grew up.
Lifestyle: This is the time to discuss how you each want to live. Will you both pursue careers? Should there be hard limits set on how much time per week each person devotes to work? Do you want to settle down in a particular location right away, or do you want to do some traveling together first? Discuss your priorities and examine whether or not you have a compatible timeline before taking the next step in your relationship.
Deal-breakers: Make sure your partner knows what things you can and cannot tolerate in a relationship, and vice versa. For example, if gambling is a deal-breaker for you but your partner is a frequent spender in Vegas, you should end the relationship rather than pursue it further. Repetitive behavior that upsets either partner can easily destroy a marriage over time.
Other things to consider before saying your vows include religious differences, political views, hobbies and interests, culinary preferences, and physical compatibility. It is much easier (and cheaper) to call it quits before the relationship becomes a legally binding contract, and having these serious discussions sooner rather than later is extremely important.
These conversations raise many other talking points and can help you learn a lot about yourself and your mate. No matter what, you should strive to keep your relationship open, honest and supportive of each other, even if it means realizing that you aren't a good fit.
Kelleher International looks at all of these things and more when matching our clients with a suitable date. If you have any questions about the right match for you, please contact us today. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ for more great dating advice!