Back when we’d only been together a few months, but if we’re honest, knew that ‘this is it’, and that we’d likely be together for as long as either of us could foresee, the man read something in a magazine which said we should check that we had the same life goals. So we duly spent an evening separately writing down where we saw ourselves in the future. And then compared them.
It could have gone horribly wrong, but actually, as I’ve mentioned before,
we had fairly similar aims and goals, and the ones that weren’t on the other person’s list, were certainly not deal breakers. We both saw children as part of our future at some point
. Both rated travel as super important, and similarly both wanted to live and work abroad again at some point in our lives. We were both are keen to be financially responsible, yet also enjoy life and take opportunities when they came our way. On my list I mentioned having a supportive, close network of friends and family, and a big old farmhouse kitchen table with a just brewed teapot always on it, and he didn’t mention that, but just really because he hadn’t thought about it, so that also became a joint aim. His aim to learn to fly a helicopter really doesn’t do it for me though, so that stayed on his list, and added onto mine was to support the man in his crazy wishes.
Part of the deal of getting married in our church is that you have pre-marriage counselling with the vicar. Call me nuts, but I was actually looking forward to this. I was excited to show the vicar how in love we were, and how perfect for one another we were, and how we’d already been sensible and checked that we wanted the same things. Nothing was going to come as a shock to us…uh uh…no way….
Lots of questionnaire filling in and tick boxes were involved, but not of the ‘do you want children’ simple easy, yes/no/maybe kind.
Do you want children, and if so, to what extent are you willing to go to have them.
WHOA. Ok….we’d talked, and yes, we both were pretty sure that at some point we wanted children. We certainly hadn’t discussed the not being able to have children option though. Naive? Maybe. So then the two of us, with the vicar’s input talked through this. Would we go for IVF? Would we discuss surrogate mothers? Would adoption be something that we’d consider. If we failed in all of these, how would we feel?
Fortunately we both pretty much felt the same way about the situation, but wow am I pleased that we discussed this. What if we’d gotten that far and it had transpired that I would never go through IVF, whereas the man would do ANYTHING to have children. Neither are the case, but it could have happened.
So after that shocker, we were nursed back to life again with slightly easier questions like; whose marriage do you most admire and why; what was your parents attitude to money and how has that affected your relationship with money; what values do you most want to inspire in your children if you have them….
These were easier, although still challenging and thought provoking in their own way.
There were questions about living wills and death and monogamy (yep, about monogamy and what we classed as not being monogamous)….and DIVORCE. Now divorce is a whole other subject that I’ll cover some other day when I’m feeling braver and more emotional ready, but I can tell you, I certainly wasn’t ready for that subject to rear it’s head at our pre-MARRIAGE sessions (again, naive? Maybe).
We talked about how we felt about divorce, and when we thought it was acceptable, when we thought it was the wrong thing to do, and what we could do to prevent it. Would we consider marriage counselling? What would we consider as a crisis point in our marriage. Would infidelity intrinsically lead to divorce?
None of these things were what I’d been expecting from our pre-marriage sessions with our vicar. But they truly were some of the most important hours we’ve spent in the lead up to the wedding. I know some of you may think that you’ve been together for so long, and lived together already, there’s nothing that you haven’t discussed. I thought that too. But really people, find time, put your preconceptions behind you, and go and do it. Having someone with you to help negotiate the pretty tense subjects somehow helps. and they can guide you to think about things you’d never have thought you’d even need to think about. Relate
offer sessions, and I’m pretty sure, after the wedding, it will be forty pounds you won’t regret. (unlike a lot of other things I’m already beginning to regret spending our cash on….but again, that’s another story).