Since I was a little girl playing with my Barbies, I always thought about the wedding day. Barbie wore her big white virginal wedding gown; Ken in his dashing black tux. And they of course lived happily ever after.
When I was in junior high I remember making wedding planners. I had known for years what my colors would be, the kind of cake, I even had the ideas of where I wanted the grand event to be. I knew I wanted black tuxs for the groomsmen and lilac purple dresses for the bridesmaids. No ice sculptures.
Once I was in college, I noticed that while I had some silly rough draft plan for the wedding day, I started thinking about the married life and what I should be planning for after the wedding day. Unfortunately, the people in my age group weren't looking for a life partner, they were looking for a groom to give them that wedding day.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but dating ends once you slip the ring on the finger. You're stuck and now married life is something on a whole different level. If you're like me, divorce is NOT going to happen, so pick wisely.
Somethings that you and the significant other need to talk deeply about and not over a football game are as followed:
Budget - Are you in debt? Is your partner a cheap ass? Do either of you have savings or checking accounts? Do you plan to have joint accounts, do you trust your partner with your hard earned money? Money is a huge issue that causes divorce. Discuss what luxuries and necessities are. I need new clothes...often, and he needs an open tab at a bar all the time. He may find your shopoholic ways at the mall to not be important where you find his bar nights to be a waste of money (example, not really true in my life). Are you going to have a pre-nuptial agreement?
Investments - Sure the stock market sucks, but in 50-60 years you WILL retire and you will probably send your children to college. Where will that money come from? You and future Mr./Mrs. need to talk about how much you think you will need once you're back in diapers and removing your teeth every night. For the record, if you really love someone, you'd change their diaper at 80.
Children - On average, every girl also has the baby names and nursery ideas planned before the wedding ring. Maybe you want one kid (or none at all) but your spouse to be wants to be like the Duggers with 18. Houston we have a problem. You're setting yourself up for fights, "I want a baby! Don't you love me! Give me a baby!" Children also can really test the commitment of a relationship, for some guys a baby is the factor that makes them run. Thankfully, two children is already in agreement for me and my significant other. My uterus is pleased. Going back to the money thing, are you going to be financially ready to spawn your seed? This is a whole other blog post...
Buying a home: This is the most difficult decision which needs a lot of planning before you take the plunge. Everything from trivial to major has to be decided before hand. So, right from the number of kids you want to whether your parents will be moving in with you or not; everything has to be planned before you even start looking for houses. Next, after analyzing the approximate you’d need to own a house, start saving accordingly. It is always better to have a joint ownership of the house since it has a lot of tax benefits. Maybe you and your signifcant other already own a house. Who's will you live in, will you be added to their title?
Insurance : Getting life time insurance becomes very important, especially when the whole family is dependent on the spouse’s earnings. Make sure your insurance cover increases with every child. Get a health insurance for yourself and find out if there are provisions for family’s health insurance by your company. Are you marrying your spouse for their benefits?
There are other issues that are important to the married life that you and your partner need to discuss, such as religion, eating out/dinner at home, how will be in charge of paying the bills, who will clean, and my personal favorite, who gets the remote for the big screen TV.
Another important issue is medical emergencies, do you unplug your partner or do they want to be cremated/buried?
Some people are already living with their boyfriend/girlfriend, but have they even taken into account the bigger questions?