When we first got engaged I devoured Meg Keene’s A Practical Wedding, which has since become my wedding bible, thinking I would learn all about weddings. But what I really learned about was relationships, and marriage. And the tough stuff.
My fiancé and I are analytical people. Passionate, creative, but analytical. And I think there’s something to be said for approaching marriage (and weddings!) with a touch of analysis and introspection
Meg has graciously allowed me to share some of my favourite excerpts from her book with you today. Top of my list is her Questions to ask before you get married exercise. Mike and I did this little exercise on a road trip, one small chunk at a time (it can get intense!) and wrote down important or tricky responses.
The best part about doing this exercise is not only do you feel like, ah, we’ve prepared for the tough stuff as much as we can! but in comparison to financial problems and sickness, planning a wedding really does seem like the fun, magical, carefree thing it should be.
MONEY // What is the exact state of your finances? // What are your assets and liabilities? // How do you want to share finances? // How do you feel about debt? // Is a prenuptial agreement something you want to discuss for legal or personal reasons? How do each of you feel about this issue? // What are your savings and financial goals? // What sort of life do we want to build together, and how much would that cost? // Do either of us expect to support our parents at any point in our lives?
(If you made it to here, go have a glass of champagne!)
GOALS // What sort of careers do we want? // How do we see family fitting n to those careers? // What sort of non-career goals do we have? // What are our fun and frivolous goals?
SEX // (It’s important to approach this section with a level head!) How often do you expect to have it? // Do you expect that to change over the years? // Is there anything you like I don’t know about? // Do we expect to be monogamous? // What happens if one of us screws up and sleeps with someone once? // What happens if one of us has an affair? // What happens if one of us is unhappy with our sex life? // Would we be willing to visit a sex therapist?
FIGHTING // What’s your argument style? // What fighting styles scare you? // What kind of fighting feels okay to you? // How did you parents and loved ones fight, and how does that shape how you fight? // How do we feel about divorce as a potential, if not ideal, outcome to marriage? // What is your personal history with divorce and how does it shape your view of marriage? // Would you agree to go to couple’s counselling with me if I ever requested it?
(This section can be totally eye opening!)
END OF LIFE // What would happen if one of us became unable to care for ourselves over the short or long term? (And not hypothetically, you should actually make a plan.) // What sort of end-of-ilfe care does each of us expect? // What do you expect in terms of funeral and burial? // If one of us were to die young, what are our thoughts on remarriage?
There’s plenty more topics under Questions to ask, including important Family, Location, Household Responsibilities, Skeletons in the Closet, and Faith sections that I haven’t included here. To get those sections, and Meg’s incredibly practical advice about everything from how to DIT (Do-It-Together), planning a wedding when life hurts, how to DJ your wedding and how to fight about weddings (yes, there’s a good way!) check out her book.