3 Conversations To Have Before Getting Engaged To Ensure You & Your SO Will Last
When you've been with a partner for a long time, it's understandable to think you've learned everything there is to know about them. Especially if you've reached the point where you're thinking or even talking about marriage, it makes sense to assume you're on the same page when it comes to your shared future. People can surprise you, though, and it's important to cover all your bases before you commit to a lifetime together. There are a few conversations to have before getting engaged, to ensure that you and your partner have the same life goals.
I spoke to relationship expert Eileen Fisher about the key topics you should discuss with your S.O. before getting engaged. Beyond being clear about specific subjects such as your religious ideals and whether or not you want children, Fisher explains that there are certain mutual understandings you and your partner need to have. You want to ensure that your life together is as happy and healthy as possible, and be able to maintain a strong relationship even through conflict. In order to do so, you and your partner should both be able to honestly answer and thoroughly explore these three questions before you get engaged.
1. Have you always been completely honest with one another?
The first step toward a successful marriage is always being open and honest about who you are and what you want out of your life. "Ask yourself if you really are who you say you are to your partner," says Fisher. "The future, your goals will never work out if not."
She explains that your spouse should understand what your goals for your future are right now, even if they don't end up staying the same down the road. "There are things in life that change, but if you are who you are and you really mean it, everything will work out," she says.
2. Are you in this together, no matter what?
Fisher explains that millennials tend not to understand how much people change in their 20s and 30s. "The contingencies you have to plan for are about acceptance and knowing that life changes all the time," she says. "Tell each other that you'll stick by each other through all life throws at you."
You should tell your partner you're going to put 100 percent into achieving your life goals, but Fisher feels that it's more important for you to support their goals (and vice versa). That way, if an endeavor fails, you won't blame each other for it, because you were in it together.
"You have to be on the same page to protect and support each other," she says. "You have to have your partner with you. When a relationship goes to resentment, forget it. It's never going to work out." If you end up making a different career choice or taking your life in a direction that varies from your original plan, your partner should still be able to be there for you.
3. Are you friends as well as partners?
"We all make choices in life. We have to realize we all change and evolve," says Fisher. "At the end of the day, before you get married you have to ask, 'Is this person my friend?'" Of course you're partners, but you also have to be friends.
"You have to look ahead when setting goals for [yourself and] each other," she adds. "The key thing is being each other's friend, evolving and changing with that person — and if they change, accept [it]."
The key thing people in their 20s forget is that "happiness prevails sadness," says Fisher. "The heart heals. It hurts, but each journey heals. You just have to be open to the journey."
Relationships take work, but if you're true to who you are, you're friends with your partner first, and you agree to be in this together no matter what, you'll be well on your way to sharing a successful and fulfilling life.
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