Just got engaged? Congratulations! You are inevitably filled with a variety of emotions anywhere from excitement and nervousness to pure bliss. Remember that while there is certainly going to be a lot of planning for your actual wedding day in the upcoming months, there are other aspects outside of the ceremony to discuss with your partner to help alleviate stress after you are married.
Take a trip together
First and foremost, you and your partner have decided to embark on a lifetime journey together so try to not let the overarching stress of the wedding get in the way of enjoying all of the special moments leading up to the big day. It can help to take a trip together early on in the planning process to spend quality alone time together and simply enjoy each other’s company. Instead of using this time to talk about tedious details in the wedding planning process, like color schemes and menu options, you could talk about the overall atmosphere and outcome you are looking for on your big day. Focusing on the bigger picture can help you get a better vision for what you want down the road when the tougher decisions need to be made.
Update legal documents
While it is probably more exciting to pick out floral arrangements or wedding cake flavors, it is important to get your legal documents in order before the ceremony. You and your partner are going to want to take some time to create a last will and testament to ensure your assets are allocated the way you both see fit. You also could consider creating a living will, which is a document that states your wishes in the event of a medical event where you or your partner are unable to communicate your wishes.
If you and your fiancé decide to use an attorney to create your wills, you may want to also consider creating power of attorney documents as well. Power of attorney allows your partner to act on your behalf for various legal matters whereas medical power of attorney gives your partner the ability to make medical decisions for you if you are unable. Post-engagement is also a good time to start looking into getting your marriage license, changing your social security card and updating your license (if you decide to change your name).
Talk about your financial principles
Before you say, “I do,” try to set aside some time to have a talk with your significant other about your personal financial principles. Your philosophy about money may be very different from your partner’s, so try to be open-minded and understand the reasoning behind their logic. For example, maybe their mom or dad was laid off in the past for a long period of time and this caused stress on their family. As a result, they might be more likely to try and save every penny so that they can be sure they have enough saved up in case of an unforeseen event. While this conversation might be uncomfortable at times, it will help you better understand your significant other— you might even learn something new.
While discussing finances, it is also a good time to look into ways that you can financially protect and support one another in the case of an unexpected event. For example, while some individuals have a life insurance plan through their employer, this coverage usually is not enough to adequately support your spouse, especially if you plan on having children or purchasing assets in the future.
This is why it could be beneficial to find an additional life insurance policy with enough coverage to give you and your partner some added peace of mind. While there are many different types of plans, be sure to discuss the type of coverage that will work best to support your future goals as a couple and family. Since it is impossible to know what the future can hold, it is better to be prepared to ensure you have as much control over your assets and family’s financial future as possible.
Have the kids conversation
If you haven’t had this conversation yet, it is important to sit down and discuss your views on raising and having children in the future. Maybe you already know that your partner wants to have kids, but you will also want to take some time to discuss parenting philosophies together as well. You and your significant other will want to come to some kind of an agreement about how long you want to wait in your marriage before having children or how many children you actually want to have.
You will also want to talk about how you plan on parenting once you have children. For example, maybe you are adamant about being a stay at home parent while your children are young or perhaps you don’t want to take time off from your career at all. You will want to be honest about your wants and needs so your future spouse isn’t surprised when the time comes. Some other parenting principles that can be beneficial to go over are your philosophies on discipline, views on adoption and how involved you want extended family to be in your child’s life.
Set goals to work towards
Working together is something that you are going to be doing quite a lot once you get married. It can be helpful and even fun to set some goals for you and your partner to work towards in the future. Maybe you have short term goals like finding a pet together or taking a trip somewhere tropical within the next year. Or perhaps you have goals down the road that require more planning and preparation—such as buying a house or a new car. It can help to take time to discuss and organize your short and long term goals on paper and how you and your future spouse can work together to achieve them.
Take a step back
In the midst of all the planning, try to take a step back from time to time to live in the moment and soak up all of the excitement during this transitional time. Remember, the most important thing is that you and your future spouse are happy and laying a solid foundation to build upon in your future together. Having these conversations and planning ahead sets you and your partner up for a wonderful journey together.