Speaking of things unspoken...

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BirdLover Posts : 2,834 Registered: 3/30/06
Speaking of things unspoken...
Posted: Sep 20, 2008 12:58 AM

On the pregnancy board I post on, I see a LOT of posts that go something like this: "I want kids and my husband doesn't - how do I change his mind?" Clearly, this is something that should have been discussed before marriage...so....I thought we could make a list of the things that definitely should be discussed before marriage.  I'll start with just a few:

1. Whether you want kids or not (and a rough timeline)
2. Where you want to live
3. Pets (if they are important to you, that is...if you love cats, it might be good to know ahead of time if your FH thinks that they are evil)
4. Expectations of women role in the family vs men (does he think they should have separate roles?  Do you think that they should be equal?  Etc)
5. FINANCES

 Anything else?


Lilypie Expecting a baby Ticker

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PharmToxGirl Posts : 5,446 Registered: 8/30/07
Re: Speaking of things unspoken...
Posted: Sep 20, 2008 1:21 AM Go to message in response to: BirdLover

OK I ABSOLUTELY agree with what's listed.

I know that I also brought up

I'm the godmother and guardian for my brother's kids (niece and nephew).  I told DH, before marriage, about this and said in no uncertain terms that if ANYTHING happened to brother and wife, I would have those kids (and him in the scheme of things).  And I also said, given that, I would be SO devastated by anything that this was not something I could EVER remotely argue over.  And he thought about it before he agreed/understood.

So, I would also add previous commitments like that.

I did not have a discussion with DH about the "role" of woman, but being with him for 6+ years, living together and how I am with how he was raised- we're on the same page.  We have had to make allowances (He wants to take care of me - Oh sweet (not) - and I want to be independent - yes I know I'm in a relationship,but I want someone beside me. )

OK I got interrupted.  My computer crashed about 10 minutes ago, so I'm going to post this and then re read it.


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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Speaking of things unspoken...
Posted: Sep 20, 2008 9:23 AM Go to message in response to: BirdLover

Dear BL,

Look at it this way. What are the two top reasons marriages fail?

Sex. Money.

Take out two pieces of paper. List everything imaginable connected with Sex. (Children, sex roles in the house, fidelity, etc)

Next, list everything connected with Money. (Job goals, retirement planning, estate planning, monthly budgeting, etc)

Then, hit a few miscellaneous topics that are important to you. Cats? Vacation styles? One-floor house? (That's one of mine!!)

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BirdLover Posts : 2,834 Registered: 3/30/06
Re: Speaking of things unspoken...
Posted: Sep 20, 2008 9:42 AM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

I also know a couple who divorced because the woman later found out that her husband was racist!  Not sure how you'd miss that one ahead of time...must not have lived in a very mixed community.

Lilypie Expecting a baby Ticker

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AutumnPrincess Posts : 87 Registered: 7/8/08
Re: Speaking of things unspoken...
Posted: Sep 20, 2008 9:48 AM Go to message in response to: BirdLover

The age old saying about how a man treats is mother is how he'll treat most women is usually good logic. If a man didn't respect women in one way or another I'd never date him. I'm not a feminist but I certaintly demand respect.

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XYZ1 Posts : 367 Registered: 1/7/08
Re: Speaking of things unspoken...
Posted: Sep 20, 2008 9:22 PM Go to message in response to: BirdLover

I'd add "career" to the list.  FH and I are both very serious about our careers, and we know that finding satisfying jobs for both of us is a priority.  A while back FH brought up the idea of me freelancing from home in order for him to pursue a job he wanted -- an idea that I absolutely hated.  My heart was in my throat, but I told him no, that wasn't something I'd be willing to do, that I felt my career should be an equal priority in our relationship.  He understood and agreed that wouldn't be a good option for me, and I'm so relieved we talked about it before we tied the knot.  If one or both partners is ambitious and very serious about work, I think it's incredibly important to discuss how those career goals will affect choices like where you live, when you'll have kids, and long-term financial plans.

Another good thing to discuss: family visits.  I'm not sure this makes the top 5 list of concerns, but I know a few couples who have had major fights over how long the in-laws are staying in their homes.  My friend J had her husband's entire family (parents, brother, sister-in-law, uncle) stay in her home for over a month!  She said it's typical in her husband's culture and she was prepared for it when she married him, but I'd absolutely lose my mind if five extra people stayed in my house for a month!  Definitely something to discuss in advance, especially if you and your sweetie are from different cultural backgrounds.

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MissyF Posts : 275 Registered: 9/23/07
Re: Speaking of things unspoken...
Posted: Sep 21, 2008 12:24 PM Go to message in response to: BirdLover

When my husband and I went for the premarriage counseling required by the Catholic Church, our deacon explained to us that the purpose of the sessions was not to tell us the right answers to our problems, but to assure that we discussed things that perhaps neither of us had thought to bring up. It was excellent in that respect, because the process was able to draw out of us things that we'd both been reluctant to talk about. Strangely enough, we were pretty much on the same page financially, though we've since discovered that I experience more anxiety over finances than he does. Otherwise, topics that came up included HOW to raise children, including how stringent expectations of them should be, how involved we would expect our families to be in our lives, and differences in religious interpretation. This last one continues to be a slight issue because the agreement we reached in counseling seems to have been more of an avoiding-conflict measure than a workable system. So I would say that that's another thing to be careful of in discussing these topics before marriage: make the effort to be completely honest with each other, so that you're not assuming how your partner feels and then later discovering you're off a bit.


Woman to my man. Slave to my budget.

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MrsM2009 Posts : 422 Registered: 3/16/08
Re: Speaking of things unspoken...
Posted: Sep 21, 2008 2:28 PM Go to message in response to: BirdLover

Man BL, you're gettin pretty deep this weekend! ;)

I also think people should discuss their feelings about what may happen as parents get older and need more care.  If you always assumed you'd take care of your parents when they got too old to live alone and your FH assumes they'll all go straight to the nursing home, this could be a big issue.  I only bring this up because my Aunt has MS that is really starting to get worse, and my cousin and her husband moved from Milwaukee to St. Louis to help care for her.  Obviously this was a big decision and they had already made it long before it happened that they were going to do it.

Also, to "whether you want to have kids or not" I'd add a discussion of how you want to raise them.  Is religion an issue? Does your FH think a stay at home mother is the only way to do it, but you'd rather work and use daycare?  Private/public school?  Parenting philosophies generally?  I think a lot of people have the "do we want kids" conversation and think that's enough, but having totally different approaches to raising kids can be just as difficult, if not more, then deciding whether to have them in the first place.

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MrsM2009 Posts : 422 Registered: 3/16/08
Re: Speaking of things unspoken...
Posted: Sep 21, 2008 2:28 PM Go to message in response to: BirdLover

Man BL, you're gettin pretty deep this weekend! ;)

I also think people should discuss their feelings about what may happen as parents get older and need more care.  If you always assumed you'd take care of your parents when they got too old to live alone and your FH assumes they'll all go straight to the nursing home, this could be a big issue.  I only bring this up because my Aunt has MS that is really starting to get worse, and my cousin and her husband moved from Milwaukee to St. Louis to help care for her.  Obviously this was a big decision and they had already made it long before it happened that they were going to do it.

Also, to "whether you want to have kids or not" I'd add a discussion of how you want to raise them.  Is religion an issue? Does your FH think a stay at home mother is the only way to do it, but you'd rather work and use daycare?  Private/public school?  Parenting philosophies generally?  I think a lot of people have the "do we want kids" conversation and think that's enough, but having totally different approaches to raising kids can be just as difficult, if not more, then deciding whether to have them in the first place.

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HappyGirl13 Posts : 1,298 Registered: 4/21/08
Re: Speaking of things unspoken...
Posted: Sep 21, 2008 2:44 PM Go to message in response to: MrsM2009

Agree with Mrs. M about discussing childhood-rearing philosophies. For example, while I love TV, I also think it's kind of evil and would have it off most of the time if I could, but it's my DH's way of winding down, so it's on a lot.

If DH also planned to be laissez-faire about the amount/quality of TV our future kids would watch, that would have been a HUUUUGGE sticking point for me--a dealbreaker, in fact. But pre-marriage we discussed that it's important to both of us to encourage our kids to be outside as much as possible and to develop other interests/hobbies. TV will be watched in moderation. :)

I would think discussing things like philosophies about spanking would be good, too. That's a big issue for some people.

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BirdLover Posts : 2,834 Registered: 3/30/06
Re: Speaking of things unspoken...
Posted: Sep 22, 2008 11:57 AM Go to message in response to: HappyGirl13

Ultimately, I guess it's all about determining what's really important TO YOU, whether or not others would think it's important or not.

I could not have married someone who was unkind to animals or went hunting.  Others are fine with it.  It doesn't make me silly.  What WOULD make me silly is marrying a hunter, and then getting upset about it.

Lilypie Expecting a baby Ticker

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savex389 Posts : 506 Registered: 8/10/07
Re: Speaking of things unspoken...
Posted: Sep 22, 2008 2:11 PM Go to message in response to: BirdLover

i totally agree about talking about important things before you're married. I thought DH and I talked about everything we felt was important but i guess we missed one bigger thing. i always thought i'd be a stay and home mom once we had kids and DH just informed me that there is no way i can be because he thinks we cant survive on just his salary. 

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CyclistLover Posts : 1,183 Registered: 7/9/07
Re: Speaking of things unspoken...
Posted: Sep 22, 2008 2:18 PM Go to message in response to: BirdLover

BL - my DH is a big time cyclist and although I know cycling is big in his life (and that is absolutely fine in my book) we had to have a discussion that every vacation we take would not revolve around cycling.  He was quite disturbed at first as previous to meeting me every one of his vacations involved cycling - but he thought about it and was fine with it. Granted this conversation isn't one that everyone would need to have but was definitely one we needed.

Oh and you mentioned how you would never marry a hunter - I'm with you on that one!!  Also I am a total dog lover and could never have married someone who didn't like dogs - DH has allergies but was willing to get a dog as long as he could still breathe!!  LOL - found out many dogs have hair (poodles for example) and not fur so we now have a 65 pound standard poodle! 


Happiness is a puppy greeting you at the door!

I hope you don't get hit by a city bus Cool

 

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futurefiance Posts : 39 Registered: 9/22/07
Re: Speaking of things unspoken...
Posted: Sep 26, 2008 1:53 PM Go to message in response to: BirdLover

I think religion should be discussed also. Especially in how to deal with religious beliefs if one partner changes or becomes less or more religious.  How to deal with that and how to raise the children.
**********I don't know what I want for my wedding, I just know I want him for my marriage!************

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