There are over two million marriages in the United States each year and if you are considering joining the ranks of the married, be sure that you know what you’re getting into. Before you pop the question to your beautiful bride-to-be, you may be considering all the things that make you smile about this person—great intimacy, the same taste in food, a spontaneous personality—but you also need to look further down the road. Here are three questions to ask yourself before that wedding ever happens:
1. Are we going to have shared bank accounts? There is a common misconception that married couples are supposed to have shared bank accounts—not so! In fact, 31 percent of couples who live together or are married maintain separate checking accounts and 23 percent keep separate savings accounts. While it can be advantageous to keep things separate because disagreements over spending can easily arise by sharing accounts, it’s a personal decision that you and your partner need to discuss in advance. As long as you are in agreement, it doesn’t really matter whether you have separate or joint accounts, just make sure you’ve both considered the pros and cons of each option
2. Are we having kids (and if so, when)? The decisions of whether or not to have children can be deal breakers. So while you may not think it’s a big deal to wait another 10 years to have a child, your future spouse may have other plans in mind. And men, don’t allow yourself to be in the kind of marriage in which your spouse’s gynecologist knows more about her plans to have children than you do. Raise this topic before you get married in order to make sure you’re on the same page and avoid future disagreements.
3. What happens when the going gets rough? Marriage isn’t all fun and laughter. There are times when you’re going to look at your spouse and think, “Why did I marry this person again?” And that’s okay. Well, it’s okay if you have a plan in place for when things get tough. Create a plan of action for when you’ve been arguing about something for more than a few days and aren’t able to connect and reach a resolution on your own. The last thing you want to do is sweep things under the rug; you have to clear the air and resolve issues as they arise.
So ask your spouse to brainstorm how you plan to resolve differences. Are you going to see a mediator, or maybe try couples counseling? Once you agree on the type of professional to use, do some research together and come up with a list of three to five names that you both agree on. It’s easier to create that list when you’re not fighting, so make it while things are smooth sailing and file it away for a rainy day.
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This article originally appeared on YouTango: 3 Questions Grooms-to-be Must Ask Before Popping the Question