LIFE

Questions To Ask Your Partner Before Saying 'I Do'

From in-law boundaries to kids, welcome to grown-up chat.

12/09/2016 2:43 PM AEST | Updated September 13, 2016 19:12
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Conversation: the modern way to fight for your fairytale.

As recent episodes of The Bachelor and Taylor Swift's Instagram will tell you, love can be oh so foolish.

It can sweep you up into a cloud of rose-coloured haze, putting you at instant ease with the future because finally, your grand adventure is here.

Though, in the real world, that grand adventure sometimes includes bills, kids and dead cockroaches.

"Couples will regularly have discussions about what's important to them individually, but it's really important to do that with the relationship in focus," Jacqui Manning, founder of The Friendly Psychologist told The Huffington Post Australia.

This means talking about your values, so what you want your relationship to look and feel like for the long term but also, the smaller everyday things like where your expectations lie in terms of housework and how you'll split your time between the in-laws.

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Do you want kids?

"Try and have the conversation early -- at least a year or so in advance -- so there is a reasonable time frame to adjust to the idea," Manning said.

Sometimes people are a bit unsure, and that's fine too, but Manning said it's helpful to look at how your partner interacts with other children for clues about whether this is something you will consider in the future.

"Some people secretly hope that their partner will change, though it's not very likely if they have made up their mind," Manning said.

"In this case, it's important to remember that it's got nothing to do with you, it's just not what they see in their life. It's incredibly sad, because there is no resolution that's going to suit both people -- which is why being upfront about your needs early on is important."

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'It's important to remember that it's got nothing to do with you, it's just not what they see in their life.'

How will we run our home?

If you don't already live together, it's important to figure out each other's expectations once you do -- things like, who will be in charge of the bills or who's going to do the food shopping.

"Don't assume that one person's going to do all the cooking or all the cleaning. Take some time to talk about it in a light-hearted kind of way," Manning said.

"It's simply a conversation about management so as to avoid any resentment building up."

Plus, it's a good opportunity to express to your partner the things you are good at verses those you're not. While you might be a killer cook, pulling hair out of the shower drain might make you queasy -- it's all about compromise.

What's our financial situation?

"This conversation can often trigger anxiety, especially if you've been keeping your finances quite separate, but it doesn't have to be that way. It's simply about viewing the conversation as a logistical thing," Manning said.

There isn't a one-size-fits-all approach either -- some couples amalgamate their finances, while others choose to keep things separate -- but it's important to be open with your partner about how you are managing your finances so as to ensure you are tackling your shared expenses in the best possible way.

Money can be a huge source of stress in a relationship and if couples are feeling tension all the time it's likely going to cause a lot of friction and breed resentment.

"Money can be a huge source of stress in a relationship and if couples are feeling tension all the time it's likely going to cause a lot of friction and breed resentment," Manning said.

Manning recommends having a 'house meeting' where once a month you go over your to-dos, calendars and expenses.

"What this does is it encourages you both to be a team, rather than one person feeling like they are responsible for everything," Manning said.

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Manning recommends having a  'house meeting' where once a month you go over your to-dos, calendars and expenses.

How often will we see our in-laws?

"Different cultures sometimes have different expectations, and while that can seem very normal for one partner it can cause stress for the other," Manning said.

It may not be that extreme either. Perhaps you're someone who talks to your mum all the time -- she may even pop over unannounced -- but that might make your partner a little uncomfortable.

Sometimes in-laws don't help by getting offended but often what causes friction is not so much the family pressure, but the lack of standing together.

"It's about figuring out how you'll manage that together without shutting down the other person and finding a compromise that will suit you both," Manning said.

"Sometimes in-laws don't help by getting offended but often what causes friction is not so much the family pressure, but the lack of standing together."

"It's simply about making room for each other and trying to understand and support your partner," Manning said.

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