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Things to know before marriage

Turning Points 3 min read

Your fiancé knows all about your boss at work, your love of tacos, and the scar from your childhood bike accident. But does he or she know about your five credit cards or your family’s history of cancer?

Research from Psychology Today, shows that people in relationships keep secrets for all sorts of reasons. Most often, it’s to avoid hurting their partner or damaging the relationship. Shame and fear of disapproval also play a role. The bottom line: While it can be hard to know just how much to tell the other person, it’s crucial not to enter into a marriage with secrets and to have important conversations before marriage.

What are important things to discuss before marriage?

Being open now and sharing details about things you may have been hiding, like large debts or your health history, helps you start your life together on the same page and strengthens your bond for the years ahead. Here are four conversations to have before marriage.

1. Finances

It’s no secret that money can be a leading cause of stress in a relationship and undoubtedly one of the most important things to discuss before marriage. It’s not just that couples argue about money, they hide transactions from each other. According to a 2022 poll from CreditCards.com, “32% of respondents in a serious relationship admitted to spending more than their partners would be OK with, holding secret debt, or keeping a secret credit card, checking account or savings account.” And young adults and millennials are more likely to keep financial secrets from their partners.

While you don’t need to share every little detail of your finances with your significant other, you may want to share any major financial factors that could impact your relationship down the line. Whether that involves credit or debt issues, multiple bank accounts, bankruptcies, or liens, they’ll probably find out eventually, but by then you’ll have damaged their trust. The best thing to do is get things out in the open so you can figure them out together.

2. Health information

As you and your fiancé have gotten to know and love each other, you’ve learned about each other’s quirky habits, emotional baggage, and the past experiences that have helped to shape each of you. But what if that involves a medical or health issue you’re reluctant to talk about? Substance abuse, for example, is something many people find difficult to talk about. Instead, they hide problems out of embarrassment and shame. Similarly, they may be hesitant to share information about past surgeries, health scares, or hereditary health problems.

While it can be difficult to talk about, you should tell your partner if you have a serious health issue or a family history of mental or physical health problems. Illnesses like Huntington’s disease, hemophilia, or sickle cell anemia are hereditary, so there’s a risk of you passing on these conditions to your children. It’s much better (and more fair) to let your spouse know if you’re at risk. The odds are that they’re going to find out at some point. Sharing something difficult can help to and having this conversation before marriage can ease the burden and bring the two of you closer.

You might make sure you have health insurance to access affordable health care, as a safeguard from financial loss for you and your partner. With Progressive Health by eHealth, you can compare health insurance plans and premiums.

3. Past relationships

Even though it may be awkward to discuss, it’s important to talk with your fiancé about past relationships before you get married. That doesn’t mean you need to share details about everyone you’ve ever dated, but you should talk about people who were important to you and who you were involved with for any length of time.

Not wanting to share the tale of a prom date disaster is one thing; not telling your partner that you were married (or, worse, that you still are) is another. There are benefits to discussing why past relationships ended. Were there communication problems? Was there some deal-breaker that ended things? By talking about difficulties in old relationships, you can work together to avoid making the same mistakes again.

4. Future plans

Trust is about much more than taking your partner at their word; it’s about believing that he or she has your best interests at heart. One way to ensure that is with life insurance. After all, when you love someone, you want to make sure they’ll be taken care of financially if something happens to you. Learn more about how to buy life insurance and how much life insurance you need.

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