Did you spend time in pre-marital counseling? Did you work through your financial, spiritual, and family differences? Pre-marital counseling is a great tool for those who want to set up their marriage for success but we have also learned there is a subset list. A list of more organic situations will rise up during your marriage and if you’re not on the same page, conflict rushes in. We have put together a shortlist of relational needs we are grateful for being on the same page.
5. Spending downtime – During the dating/courtship/engaged stages, time is spent very intentionally. Over time, the pace slows down or picks up due to work or family responsibilities. It’s very important to know that you enjoy spending time with each other without any external entertainment.
4. Tithe designations – Prior to getting married, hopefully, you have agreed to how you will manage your money. But to take it a step further, discuss how you would divide your tithe money. There will obviously be split interests. It’s important to know and show each other the respect of sharing tithe designations to what is close to their heart.
3. Vacation desires – We haven’t met anyone who doesn’t enjoy some time off but where and how you spend it may determine how fun the vacation will be. For example, Russ and I would not enjoy taking a cruise or renting an RV to drive across the country. Imagine the tension if one of us wanted to take a cruise. It’s important to explore these differences so a compromised approach is taken when planning vacations.
2. Hopes & Dreams – Over the years, we learned a process that helps us check in with each other. Typically there are three things we cover:
- Our Schedule
- Hopes and Dreams
- Have I done anything to hurt you and what have I done right?
Hopes & Dreams are easily discussed when dreaming but after getting married and responsibilities kick in, it’s easy to assume your spouse is still on board with your dream. And it’s easy to assume their dreams have not changed. We have been surprised at how our own dreams have morphed into slightly different dreams or not dreams at all anymore. It’s important to frequently discuss your Hopes & Dreams.
1. Boundaries – We’re not talking about fences here but relational boundaries. For example, not having lunch or driving alone with the opposite sex. Boundaries are the type of thing you want your spouse to maintain but the boundaries don’t feel like they are necessary for yourself. Even if you think boundaries would not be crossed, it’s a show of respect for your spouse. I, Danielle, had a situation when I was working in Puerto Rico in Corporate Sales. Typically a corporate sales rep would join with a local sales rep, which in this case was a male sales rep. Awkwardly, I asked the sales rep if we could drive separate cars. In this case, it was really awkward because the appointment was two hours away and it was common to discuss sales strategy on the way to an appointment. I was prepared for a negative response, instead, he said he wished his wife would do the same. Agreeing to boundaries before you get married and even during dating can alleviate many situations before you get into them.