3 questions to discuss before marriage to keep it long

You have to look at your relationship through the prism of divorce. Just to understand how marriage works, you need to understand how and why it ends.

Divorce clearly demonstrates the unspoken rules of marriage. You need to know them in order to build strong relationships from the very beginning. It doesn’t sound very romantic, but sometimes what we do out of love puts that very love at risk.

I think that everyone needs to talk in advance about painful topics that have to be discussed by those who are divorcing. If you do this early, you have a better chance of a strong marriage.

Here are three questions that I propose to discuss.

  1. What we are ready to sacrifice for each other

Marriage is an exchange of sacrifices and must be fair. Otherwise, problems begin.

Consider Lisa and Andy’s example. At the beginning of their marriage, Lisa decides to go to medical school, and Andy decides to provide for their family. And so he works the night shifts and refuses a good offer in another city. He does it out of love, but also realizes that in the future, Lisa’s diploma will benefit both of them.

After a few years, Andy develops a feeling of abandonment and discontent, he begins to drink a lot. Lisa looks at her life and him and doubts she signed up for it. A few years later, she finishes her studies and files for divorce.

In an ideal world, they would need to talk to a relationship counselor or mediator before Lisa even went to school. He would ask:

  1. How fair is your trade?
  2. What are you willing to give and what – to owe each other?

After the divorce, Lisa will most likely have to financially support Andy for several years. But no amount of financial support will help him feel that he has been compensated for what he refused.

If they had thought in advance about what they are willing to sacrifice and what they are not, the marriage could have turned out differently. Perhaps Lisa would have decided to take out a student loan or earn extra money so that Andy would not have to fully support them. And he would probably agree to work in another city, so as not to give up his career, and would feel better.

  1. What we think about childcare

Let’s look at another couple, Emily and Deb. They live and work in a big city, they have two children. Then Emily gets a job in a small town, and the couple decides to move. Deb quits to take care of the children, leaves family, friends and what she loves. In a new place, she is faced with isolation and loneliness, and 10 years later, she starts an affair on the side – and the marriage falls apart.

If the couple had talked to the pick before moving, he would have asked them:

  1. How will your childcare decisions affect your commitment to each other?
  2. How will they affect your relationship?
  3. Do you understand that childcare is not free?

If they had pondered these questions then, they might have looked for other solutions so that Deb would not have to remain isolated. And Emily would think about what childcare costs and what a loved one owes for taking care of them around the clock.

  1. What we have in common and what is personal

Back to Lisa and Andy. Before marriage, Lisa received an inheritance from her grandmother. After the wedding, they bought a house, and this inheritance went to a down payment. Since Andy worked, he took over the mortgage payments. As a result, their property was merged, and Lisa’s inheritance became joint marital property. In the event of a divorce, they will have to sell the house and divide the amount received, or one will need to buy out the other’s share.

The mediator would ask them:

  1. What property do you want to keep private and what property do you want to share?
  2. How will your choice affect the safety of the marriage?
  3. Because what was “mine” after the wedding will become “ours”, unless you consciously take some steps to prevent it.

If they had thought about marriage in advance in terms of divorce, they might have made other decisions. Perhaps Lisa would have left an inheritance for a rainy day. Perhaps they would buy a smaller house, and Andy would not have to work so hard to pay off the mortgage. Perhaps he would not have felt so miserable in the end.

In marriage, we often make sacrifices and demand them from a partner, without considering their “cost”. Be wiser, calculate the cost of your decisions. Divorce law teaches us this, and it will help keep a marriage strong.

By Cindy
October 8, 2020

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