A previously engaged 21-year-old woman recently caused a stir on Twitter when she tweeted “Don’t Get Married Before: A Thread” that was a checklist of topics that couples should discuss before they marry. It was a detailed list with some wisdom not generally associated with young Twitter users. However, amidst the 220,000 likes and 61,000 retweets, some respondents complained that she overthinks the relationship or even dooms a marriage before it even starts. The woman and others argued that couples must be on the same page to avoid problems or meet life’s challenges together.
The list included such topics as core beliefs and long-term goals. It also cited non-traditional concerns like matching energy, acceptance of personal growth, clothing or fashion compatibility, social media sharing, and dying wishes.
An abridged list
The list included 20 entries. While couples can create their own list, and it may not be as long, certain themes are universal to all marriages. Many find it useful to discuss them before their wedding day:
- Comfort with debt: The topic of carrying debt was the first on her list and should be near the top of everyone’s list.
- Level of commitment: Marriage is a big step that needs dedication, and in her words, a “commitment to love” to work.
- Kids: If, when and how many? What about adoption or a surrogate if you are infertile?
- Finances: Will one or both earn income and support the family?
- Opposite gender boundaries: This involves the comfort level with how a spouse interacts (hugs, kisses, handshakes) or spends separate time with friends of the opposite sex.
- Abuse: Define hurtful language or actions.
Better define your marriage with a prenup
The checklist’s goal is to confirm the commitment and identify any potential areas that the couple needs to work on. Those who want to enter into marriage may also want to put certain agreements or understandings in writing using a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. An experienced, Board-Certified Family Law expert attorney can help couples draft one of these agreements or hold the spouse accountable to the contract if the couple subsequently chooses to divorce.