When couples have separate sets of marriage expectations for each other and their marriage in general, trouble doesn’t take long to develop. The best way to protect your relationship from this type of rift is to talk through your expectations before you say I do. But it’s never too late to clear the air and work to get on the same page in key areas. With good communication, you can move from “my expectations” and “his expectations” to “our expectations.”
This is absolutely the number one area where couples need to be on the same page, because it affects every other area of life. Talk about what you each believe, and how you think you—and your family—should live in light of that. Will regular worship be a priority? How about tithing or giving to the church? Will you make time for serving? Talk it out.
This is another one of those talks that is best had before you have a house full of little ones. But truly, you’d need to have it again because real-life parenting and idealistic parenting are often worlds apart. Compare notes on what you believe the top priorities are where your kids are concerned: with faith matters, academic goals, extra-curricular activities, discipline, etc. In the areas where you have different ideas, work hard to find a solid middle ground. A parenting “house divided” can’t withstand the assault of strong-willed kids.
Divorce attorneys report that disagreements about money kill more marriages than you’d think. Sit down with your spouse to pin down what your top financial priorities are and exactly how you’re going to get there (e.g. a budget). Then honor your commitment to the plan and check in with one another if you think there’s a legitimate reason to deviate from the plan before making spending decisions that conflict with it.
For some women this is a big deal, but it’s a huge deal to 99% of men. Trust us. Make sure you have an understanding of what each of you thinks is enough in your sexual relationship. Odds are, your husband will have a greater need here, but that’s OK, as you’ll probably have a greater need than he does in one of these other areas.
5. The Long-Term Plan.
Do you want to always live where you are now? Do you want to retire early and try to write that novel? It’s very important to share your “big picture” vision for your life with your partner for life. Make a roadmap together that hits all the lifetime “destinations” you each would like to see, and then support each other along the way.