Friday, November 15, 2013

Do you really need to discuss these things before marriage? I don't think so....

This HuffPo article lists 35 things that you "absolutely must agree upon before marriage."  Some of the things listed are "Coke or Pepsi?" and "Cold pizza: yes or no?"

Do people get divorced over pizza and soda?  Or about how the toilet paper hangs off the roll?  Do relationships fall apart at the seams because one person likes roller coasters and the other doesn't?  Should breakfast for dinner be a deal breaker?  This list is preposterous.  If you are considering marrying someone, their preference for mayo or miracle whip probably shouldn't factor into it.  There is room for both in the fridge, really.  I don't have any studies to back this up, but I'm pretty sure sandwich condiment preferences don't predict successful relationships.

What is important is how you talk about these 35 things.  If you are considering marrying someone who refuses to have mayo in the house and demands that you learn to love miracle whip, that should be a deal breaker.  If you can't handle the remote being misplaced once in while, you should probably live alone, forever.  Maybe the point is to have practice conversations about little things that don't matter to gear up for the big ones.  I see some pretty glaring omissions.   I guess if you can have a serious conversation about the toothpaste cap then you can graduate to discussing things like shared bank accounts and kids.  That must be the author's intent....  nope?  Well, damn.  First of all, no one will agree on all of these things.  Second, if these things haunt your marriage, you are probably doomed and someone should speak instead of forever holding their peace.

Here are is a short and incomplete list of serious things I think you should talk about before marriage.

  • Kids, duh.  
  • Where to live
  • Will anyone stay home?  Who will work?
  • Money and debt. 
  • To share a bank account or not? 
  • If you don't like roller coasters, can I go ride them with my friends?  Me time and privacy.  Will you be allowed unlimited access to each other's Facebook or will you allow each other some privacy?
  • Religion and it's place or absence in your lives. 
  • Sex.  Make a yes/no/maybe list or at least a verbal one.
  • Marriage counseling.  Agree in advance to go if things get tough in the future. 
  • Whatever is important to you, not what some silly article says you should talk about. 

(I can't for the life of me figure out why it matters if my spouse likes cold pizza and I don't.  It's pizza.  He can eat it cold and I can eat it hot.  Modern kitchen appliances allow for great possibilities in this area.)