It’s not a very sexy topic (the important things rarely are!) but working out how the two of you will run your home together is crucial. Of course the likelihood is that most of you probably already live together before you get married but that doesn’t mean that this isn’t something you should still discuss before walking down the aisle.
8. Housework, DIY & Everything in Between
I hate housework… and cleaning… and tidying… and DIY. In fact I’m always joking that I’m a “terrible wife”. The roles are very much reversed in our house, with me earning the money and him, for the most part, looking after the home. Even before I started my own business I was always the main breadwinner in our house so this set up isn’t weird for us. However it could have caused problems if we didn’t sit down and discuss it before we got married.
Money, the root of all evil. Not the most romantic thing to be discussing with your future husband or wife, but if you’re incompatible in how you view it, it can be the ruination of a relationship.
If your ideas on how money should be spent or saved are at odds with each other before you get married it can become a big problem, not only after your wedding but even throughout the planning process as you discuss how much you’re each willing to spend on every element of your wedding. You don’t necessarily have to have the same opinions, but you have to come to an agreement about it.
7. Money, Money, Money
Gareth and I view money very differently. You can probably guess that I’m a ‘spend! spend! spend!’ kinda girl. It burns a hole in my pocket and I love nothing more than shopping up a storm. I’ve never got myself into debt, had a credit card or spent money I don’t have, but I always think “I’ve worked hard for this, I deserve to have fun with it!”
Gareth is much more sensible and thinks we should be saving to pay off our mortgage (BORING!) and setting up pensions (even more boring!) But its OK that we have these differences of opinion, what matters is that we respect each other’s wishes and have an agreement in place. We have a joint account but I also have my own account for my own frivolity which he can’t complain about!
When Gareth and I got married, there was one couple we really looked up to as an amazing example, a benchmark if you will, of a successful marriage – my parents. They not only got married around the same age as I did (at 24) but they have now been married for over 30 years. Although their backgrounds were quite different (my Mum grew up in Dublin and my Dad in the UK) we admire how they always seem so happy and in love, even after all those years.
As a child, I don’t ever remember them fighting. As the oldest of three girls, I got in trouble a lot (especially as a teenager – yes, I was absolutely terrible) but they were always a team. They never allowed themselves to be played off each other. At the time this was incredibly frustrating (I honestly couldn’t get away with anything!) but looking back that’s another thing I deeply respect about them. It’s definitely something Gareth and I have learnt from them too – we are Team Williams all the way!
So as we’re just over the halfway point to this Marriage Mantras series I thought it might be kind of awesome to have a chat with my Mum and see if she had any secrets to spill. She is also a trained marriage counsellor so if anyone knows what makes for a happy and successful long term partnership, its her!
You and Dad have been married for over 30 years! What’s your secret?
We are compatible on many levels and we like and admire each other a lot, as well as loving each other. We love our family and our friends but we also enjoy being on our own. We want the same things out of life too, despite our very different backgrounds.
Yet we are not identical clones! Our gifts compliment each other so that together we are a stronger team.
What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt since being married?
We are both loveable, we both have significance and we can make a difference to others. We are accepted as we are – ‘warts & all’ as Dad says…
Why should people get married at all? What’s the difference from just living together?
Marriage is a public, legal, emotional and spiritual declaration of your love for and commitment to each other. Unlike just being in a long term relationship its not easy to get married – or to walk away from a marriage – so it shows your intention to love each other through thick and thin, for better for worse.
Being in a committed relationship can also make a big difference to our self esteem and our sense of being significant and loveable.