10 Things No One Talks About Before Marriage

In Engagement, Marriage, Relationships by Debra Fileta19 Comments

Let’s just put it out there- there are a lot of really important things to consider before you get married. I mean, a LOT.

From a person’s faith, to their past, to their sexual expectations, to their conflict and communication, to their family of origin- and so many things in between.

There is an array of things you need to get to know about a person, making sure they fit into your life before you invite them in to be a permanent fixture. As a Professional Counselor, I help couples tread a lot of really important ground before they say “I do” through things like my book as well as pre-marriage sessions. 

But let’s be honest- there are just some “minor” topics that aren’t really discussed before marriage. If you’re anything like John and I, you tackle all the majors before marriage, and then get to the other side and realize there’s a whole new list to work through!

I put this topic on Social Media, to ask other married couples what their experiences have been, and out churned this list. So here are some things you should probably talk about at some point in your marriage!

#1 Sleep Habits:

Let’s just start with this seemingly minor issue that no one ever talks about: Sleep. Who is going to sleep on which side of the bed? What time is bed-time going to be? Will we always go to sleep together, or fall asleep at different times? And what should the temperature be? On the cooler side or warmer side? I can’t say these are things we covered in pre-marital counseling! But I’ve heard from a lot of couples who’ve had to work through these kind of lifestyle issues post-marriage. Because as we all know: Sleep is a really big deal, people!

#2 Money Stuff:

Spending habits, credit history, bills, etc. This isn’t a minor issue at all, but yet, one that often gets overlooked before marriage: What’s our budget going to look like? How much fun money do we get? Should we save or invest? How often can we afford to eat out? I think we all get that money issues are going to be a part of our relationship, but I don’t think we really understand how important this ongoing conversation will actually be.

#3 Household Duties:

So….who does what? What if we both hate cleaning bathrooms? What if his mom always did his laundry? What if neither of us can cook? What if one of us is a neat freak? Who’s job is it to clean that gross clump of hair out of the shower (Or…maybe I’m the only one who sheds like a dog…?)What if he thinks that the majority of household chores are the “woman’s” job? What if my family split all the chores evenly but her family didn’t? What now? If you find  yourself disagreeing about simple household duties, it’s time to sit down and make time for these “dirty” conversations.

#4 Spiritual Temperament:

This one totally caught me off guard when we got married. You see, I’m an external processor. I have to say things out loud in order to work through them. I like to share what I’m feeling, thinking, and experiencing- especially when it comes to my life with Jesus. My husband, on the other hand, is wired more internally. His spiritual life and experiences with God are reflected through his actions, rather than his words: his patience, his gentleness, his kindness, his self-control….etc.

For the first two years of marriage, we had to figure this one out. How would we balance his internal wiring with my external wiring? How would we experience God together, but how much would we need to experience Him alone? I think we’ve finally figured out what that looks like in our marriage, but it’s something that has been crucial to the health of our relationship!

#5 Social Preferences:

A friend of mine told a funny story about how she was on her way home with a crew of friends, when her husband called to let her know: no thanks, not in the mood for people today; which made for an awkward post-phone call conversation with her friends. Where you fall on the introversion to extroversion scale is a really important thing to know and discuss in a marriage. When you become “one”- how will you handle your need for socialization or alone time?

#6 Different Tastes:

Taste in food, taste in movies and entertainment, taste in clothing, taste in style, taste in fashion…all of these little things are joined together in the wonderful world of marriage. Thankfully, in so many ways you end up “rubbing off on each other” in marriage (I’m officially a sushi-addict now, thanks to John!). But until then, do you know your unique differences in tastes, and how will you work through these differences when they come up in day to day life?

#7 Emotional Temperament:

My husband says one of the things that surprised him most when we got married, is how emotional I am (gee….thanks….)! But seriously, I have to laugh, because it’s true. I don’t think I let the floodgates fully open on that one until we got married.  I am an emotional person in every sense of the word. It even comes out in my writing, as I’ve been known to use WAY to many exclamation marks!!!!! My ups and downs are completely opposite to my husband’s almost constant mood. It’s something we’ve had to figure out and discuss, so that we can learn how to appreciate, understand, respect, and respond to each other’s differences.

#8 Lifestyle Differences:

How much TV do you watch in a day? Or for that matter- how much football? Do you sit at the dinner table to eat, or on the couch? What’s your parenting style and how does that play out with your spouse’s parenting style? How much time do you invest in career, ministry, or family? Is vacation time for resting, or living it up? There are so many simple lifestyle decisions that come into play when you connect your life with another person. What are some topics that you might need to work through with your spouse?

#9 Holidays:

Oooooooh the holidays can be so joyful, and nostalgic, and…STRESSFUL!!! It’s sad that that’s actually a true statement. But for many couples, it is! Where do you spend the holidays, and with who’s family? Do you go all out, or keep it simple? What family traditions do you pass down to your children (mine, or yours!), and when do you decide to make new traditions? How much time do you spend with extended family? How should you handle each other’s extended family? These are all important factors that you need to be deliberate about figuring out in the making of a healthy family.

#10 Free Time:

She: “So what should we do this weekend?” – He: “Uh…I already made plans to hang out with the guys on Saturday” (Cue horror film music in the background…..). But the thing is, these are real life scenarios that come up in marriage. In fact, did you know that a majority of the 1,000 married people I surveyed reported spending most of their free time APART?

What you do with your free time becomes a huge issue, because your time is no longer your own- it’s YOURS, together. How much time do you spend together? Do you prioritize date night? And when can you spend time with your friends? On your hobbies? For yourself? I know many couples who say that free time turned into an opportunity for major strife because these conversations don’t happen and the expectations aren’t discussed. Do your marriage a favor and “free some time” for this one.

As you look through this list remember that these are all a normal and healthy part of becoming one- whether you’ve been married for a week, or 70 years. And the truth is, it’s not the absence of these issues that makes a healthy marriage, it’s how you navigate these issues. A healthy marriage is an ON GOING conversation through life. The moment you stop talking, is the moment that you’ve started shifting backwards.  So keep talking, keep listening, keep loving.

Comment below: What are some “small” things you may have never thought about, that ended up being important to discuss after marriage?

Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, national speaker, relationship expert, and author of True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. Her newest relationship book is set to be released in the Summer of 2018! You may also recognize her voice from her 200+ articles at Relevant Magazine, Crosswalk.com, and all over the web! She’s the creator of this True Love Dates Blog, reaching over 4 million people with the message that healthy people make healthy relationships!  Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter or book a session with her today!

My new book about MARRIAGE, for both singles and married couples, and everyone in between, releases May 2018! Click here to sign up for my new TLD marriage email list to get free resources and articles leading up to book release!

Comments

  1. Very true. All of these little “non-deal breakers” (hate that term, but you know what it means). Are all things that come up in a marriage. Our first fight after the honeymoon was over the CD player (yes that’s how long we’ve been married!) It was a 5 disc player and my husband is a music lover. He wanted to delegate and label who got each slot….. I could care a less about when CD’s got switched and our tastes are mostly similar anyhow. It was a funny moment for us in hindsight. My husband was an only child with only a short term experience with some step brothers and sisters (they were only a part of his life for just a year before his dad was divorced). I grew up in a nuclear family with a sister and brother and we usually always shared a room even when we didn’t have to. So Tom had to learn how to share and I had to see the advantage of some of his more disciplined and organized ways. Together we have ran a construction business, served in ministry, and are raising our little family. You find healthy compromises, and learn to see the petty things for what they are. Also, make room for each other’s differences and don’t try to change one another….(PS, that’s God’s job…to help us mature and grow in our character, our job is to love our spouse and seek out God’s blessing on them. Honor and bless one another and there will be joy and favour on your marriage. NOT socially acceptable in this culture that tends to make marriage seem like a constant power struggle about “who is on top” and who is in the lead. God has made marriage to be a perfect partnership…a lifelong dance that is both beautiful and complex. Two pieces of a puzzle that fits together by design, but when the pieces are twisted the wrong way, they don’t fit…

    1. “…and don’t try to change one another….(PS, that’s God’s job…”
      Julie, whoa. You just blew my mind. I mean, I knew this, but wow – it just became real. Haha. Thank you so much for sharing! I also love what you said about it not being a power struggle. So good! Thanks again.

  2. Very good article, insightful. I’m sure couples don’t give enough thought about the small stuff, but even a tiny pebble in your shoe will cause a great deal of pain, eventually.

    1. Julie I totally agree with you. I believe the root of getting beyond these issues is to know how to, and be willing to compromise and sacrifice as often as you have to. My grandparents, and great aunts and uncles told us at a very young age, marriage is about compromise, sacrifice, and unconditional love. There is no room for selfishness. So if you’re a person who is selfish, set in your ways, and not willing to compromise or sacrifice, then you need to stay in the single season until those traits have changed 360. Because you will always have long drawn out battles and wars about everything from small stuff to big stuff if you don’t know how to, and/or aren’t willing to compromise and sacrifice. If you go into your marriage with the attitude and mentality of a willingness to compromise, and sacrifice no matter what, and how often, if you don’t keep score on who does and doesn’t do what and how much, and if you have a spirit of unselfishness, and “Godly” agape love, and you have the love of Jesus inside of you, and you’re capable of loving another person as God loves you, then you’re winning no matter what. There will never be any major discord between you because you know how to compromise and sacrifice and then there is nothing to fight over. 🙂 *smile*

  3. Love it, Debra. Thanks for these tips. i will try to remember to keep them in mind, Some i already do.

  4. Couldn’t agree more! It seems like the majority of our arguments come from these “little” things that could have been avoided had we discussed our expectations sooner. We focused more on the “bigger” things like boundaries in relationships and money, religion. But these seemingly minor things that you have mentioned can explode to something bigger. Love this article it’s very helpful even for those or us who are married and I pray those who are not yet, take this article into consideration for when the time comes.

    1. Author

      Thanks so much for your feedback, Valerie! I totally agree with you in that minor things have the potential to become more than that if not dealt with and discussed. So well said!

    1. Amen. I’d even be open to discussing some of these with close friends – I’ve had one too many “How can you THINK that?” conversations about small things.

  5. One very very important one is child rearing, (if you plan on having children together, and you’re a younger couple still in child bearing years). Children is a big one that should be discussed. How many children you both want, what you will do should you have complications conceiving? Adoption? And discipline and schools once you do have children. Especially if your different denominations. One person can be catholic, and the other Baptist, or one person Lutheran, and the other Presbyterian. So if you want your kids to go to private school, catholic school, or if mom or dad want to homeschool should be discussed. Your lifestyles should be discussed and what you will and will not compromise on, and how. Also your religion and your church and spiritual life. How much prayer time you need. And again, if your different denominations, or you go to two different churches which church will you both attend together. This discussion was had on a local MD Christian radio show called the Willie Moore Jr. Show. One couple went to two different churches out of habit and upbringing. It’s difficult for many people to be uprooted from and leave their home church they’ve been baptized in and attended since childhood. But it will more than likely be a sacrifice you will have to make, unless you were fortunate enough to meet at church. lol. But the discussion was a very important one, like how do you decide whose church to attend? How do you give up your home church? Another question posed on the show was is it ok for a married couple, (especially with children) to attend two different churches in two different locations? This is a huge question Christian singles need to answer, and have worked out before marriage.

  6. A lot of these issues came out during the dating phase, but they were clouded by the fresh, romantic feelings of love. It’s not until we moved in together that we realized we had to come up with a plan to deal with them.

  7. Debra,
    One suggestion I have is to do I blog post on how to go about choosing the right partner. Evan Marc Katz discusses this a lot in his book Believe In Love, and on his blog. This is the root of many peoples problems and this is what they seem to need the most help in. I know what has helped me is praying for the right things that line up with the things of God. Praying for, and desiring what God wants for me, and what I need, as opposed to what I want. Once our needs and wants line up with what God wants for us, then we make much better long term choices in a mate. In his latest blog, Evan describes our desire for the wrong types of people like always wanting the wrong types of food. Like Juice and soda instead of water, and steak and potatoes and burgers and fries instead of fruit and veggies. The burgers, fries, and steak and potatoes may taste better, but they provide no long term health benefits like the fruits and veggies. The fruits and veggies may not be as tasty but they’re better for us. And the reason why the bad stuff even taste good is because of preservatives and additives to make it taste better. All things that are added and unnatural. Once our wants, and desires change, then we’ll be able to make much better choices that are better for us in the long run.

    1. Author

      So true! Lots of those blog posts scattered throughout the website, also that’s what True Love Dates (the book) is all about! Hard to fit it into one single post.

  8. A wise man (king Solomon) once said, ‘catch us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines. For our vines have tender grapes.’. It’s the little things that mean a lot in love and life. We must tend to those things in our relationships and especially in marriage.

  9. Another question: How much conversation is needed on long drives over say 4-6 hours? How many bathroom breaks? Do you snack on the car? Coming from a family where every holiday included a severely long drive, we learned to leave very very early, everyone “tried” at each bathroom break and were back in the car in 10 minutes or less. And drove , drove, drove. Surprisingly not everyone does this! Lol. It was an eye opener and sparked quite a debate.

  10. If find that “whatever you want, honey” is the best thing to say in all cases. It cuts down on the arguments and ensures peace in the relationship. It does require that I swallow my pride a lot, but the effects of continually swallowed pride can be offset with two Nexium each morning.

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