10 Things to Know Before You Say "I DO"

You are in courtship for years and you are ready to move on to marriage. Your peers and colleagues are getting married and you have been attending their wedding dinner so frequently, you are in the mood for marriage. You want a child and you met their parents, it is time to plan for wedding. Hang ON! While marriage is a good thing, have you considered pouring out the 10 most important questions and get it sorted out with your partner FIRST.

1. Hidden Debt

Does your partner own any outstanding debts that you are not aware? Is your partners spending a portion of their money on private property, bonds or other risk investment that you are not told at all? Marriage is a lifetime commitment which involves money to keep the lifestyle going. Let's put the extravagant wedding dinner expenses aside. Have both of you parked at least 30% of their monthly income aside for your after marriage expenses?

2. Children

Even if you want children, is your partner keen to have one or more? If you do want children, when do you want to have your first child? Some couple prefer honeymoon period for the first few years of marriage and to generate more income. Others are open to a child immediately after marriage. What about both of you? Are you open to adoption or fertility treatments if you or your wife is unable to conceive naturally? How long do you want yourself or your wife to conceive naturally before trying different options?

3. Love Nest

You have talked about your dream house while dating. Have you gone deeper to this topic on the location and ownership? If you want to stay near your parents place, is he okay with your decision and otherwise? Do both of you plan to migrate to other countries after marriage for better career opportunity, if there is one coming along? What if your partner is re-assigned to other countries for a few years of overseas assignment? Will you be able to give up your job and to start a new career overseas? Apart from the location, how much are you and your spouse willing to fork out together for your new home?

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4. Religion

If you practice a religion or have a particular faith, how important is it that your partner share the faith and practice it with you? If both of you are of different religion, can your parents or parent-in-law accept your religion? Are you comfortable having your partners hosting religion party or informal group sermons gathering in your new home? If you plan to have children, what religion, if any, do you want to raise them in?

5. Bank accounts and bill-sharing

You do not need a shared bank account while you are dating. Usually, men will pay for all the food, medical and shopping expenses. Things change when you are married. Are you willing to open a share account for the daily expenses? What bill is paid by who and on which account, e.g. shared or individual account? How many percentage of your income are you willing to park under this 'common fund'? Do you have personal insurance plan to cover for your unexpected critical illness or terminal illness? What if your spouse or yourself is retrenched and decides to stay home to raise the kids? Who foot the bill then and for how long? It is all about money and it is not a small matter.

6. Household Labour

You are living in a new home. It is time to come up with a job description at HOME. Who does the washing of dishes, sweeping, mopping, laundry, cooking, fixing of light bulbs and leaking pipes, clearing rubbish and toilet washing? The list keeps going on ... Do not assume your partner does all these tasks for you? Next question comes in, how often will you be doing these household chorus? Will it be ad-hoc only when dust pile up or daily in the evening, after you finish work? At the end of the day, you need to find a way to compromise, using your best negotiation tactic "Okay, I'll empty the litter box and do the laundry and if you please wash the dishes..."

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7. Sex

This is one sensitive question which either results a couple lasting forever or to break up after several years? Are you sexually active compared to your partner? Do you hold the idea of monogamy? There are cases of divorce where one party is not able to satisfy the other party. It can be health, religion or past unhappy incidents. Talk it out openly to find a solution to it. Is your partner comfortable in using contraceptive while having sex? Some partners feel that after marriage, condom should not be used. Being Asians, we tend to shy away from this topic only to assume the other party accepts what we want.

8. Mattress

Do not underestimate your new bed. You like it to be hard and your partner likes it to be soft. Can both of you compromise? You are going to sleep in the same bed for decades. It will not go well if your partner prefer a different texture and you are unable to give way. Next comes your snoring. Do you snore at night? Are you aware of your sleeping problem? Racking up too many sleepless nights can result in bad relationship. We get more frustrated the next day if we do not have a good night sleep. What's more to a relationship and someone sleeping next to you who snores without fail every night.

9. Career

Men seldom quit their job after marriage. They are more likely to climb the corporate ladder for better income. If you are a lady, how long are you committed to your work? If both of you decide to have a child, will you still be a working mother? Does your husband support you to be a housewife, if you decide to leave your workforce and to devote time in upbringing your child? Are you open to a helper at home? In whatever choice you make, it affects your relationship. Someone has to work to keep life moving. It is hard to imagine both couple  unemployed with utility bill and other credit card expenses reporting to you monthly.

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10. Luxury Item

While you are dating, eating in restaurant is a common lifestyle. After marriage, are you able to keep up with frequent fine dining lifestyle? With more expenses roiling in after marriage, how ready are you and your spouse in switching to more affordable lifestyle? Will the change to a less lavish lifestyle affect your relationship? There are couples who continue to dine in fine restaurant once to twice a week with a projected budget. If you do not have additional budget, it is time to change.