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Before Forever: Must-Have Heart-To-Heart Talks Before Saying ‘I Do’

Congratulations! You’ve found your soulmate aka the mac to your cheese, the peanut butter to your jelly, the yin to your yang. You can’t stop thinking about your significant other and after a couple of years, you’re thinking about popping the big question: “BTO ai mai?”

But wait a second - before you go and get matching bathrobes, and bicker over who gets the “better” side of the bed, you need to have some very important conversations. Here are some heart-to-heart talks that I had with my husband, which might feel a tad uncomfortable for some, but were absolutely necessary for us before we said “I do” at 7 Canning Rise.

Kids – Y/N?

This is a question that you should probably be asking your future husband/wife even very early on in the relationship. That’s what I did after several dates with my husband.

Are you both on the same page about how many mini-me’s you’re willing to wrangle? Or do you prefer the DINK (dual-income no-kids) lifestyle? Maybe you want to climb the corporate ladder before taking the plunge and growing your family. Share your thoughts, fears, and visions of sticky fingerprints on the walls.

Parenting responsibilities

If kids are part of the plan, don’t forget to discuss who’ll be the one to stay home with the little one(s). Who’s going to be the primary caregiver? Will one of you stay at home, or are you both looking to juggle careers and parenting duties? Your parents or the in-laws might have to be roped in to help.

It’s essential to discuss your expectations, as well as any concerns or fears you may have about balancing work and family life. Remember, communication is key in every relationship and don’t expect that your partner will simply accommodate your needs.

Money matters

The topic of money is very unsexy (and, for some, taboo) but there’s no doubt it’s the oh-so-important backbone of any relationship. This made for challenging conversations with my other half, especially as it can be a very touchy topic, and can evoke feelings of inadequacy.

Spill the beans on your assets and liabilities. Student loans, credit card debt, that secret stash of emergency chocolate… nothing’s off-limits. In fact, in a healthy relationship, the money talk should be an ongoing conversation, because if you’re tying the knot, you will have to make joint decisions about money or even open a bank account together. And while you’re at it, discuss your insurance coverage. Trust me, it’s better to sort out these policies sooner than being caught off guard if/when married life throws you a curveball.

Long-term financial goals

Still on the subject of finances… have a genuine chat with your partner about both of your long-term financial goals. Retirement, buying a house, travelling the world – what’s on your bucket list, and how do you plan to make it happen together? Whether you’re penny pinchers or big spenders, it’s essential to align your visions for the future so you can tackle those dreams as a team.

And even if you aren’t fully aligned, compromises can be made. My partner-in-crime tends to be more casual with his money, but after talking it out together, we decided to pool a part of our finances together for future goals (like purchasing our first HDB home and going on annual holidays), while maintaining a budget for individual wants without the interference of the other party.

Pre-marital health screening

This is something that my husband was surprised to hear, but he’s now a convert and has even urged his friends to do the same. Go and get a health check-up to find out if you could be hiding hereditary diseases or have potential health issues you might not have known about. A little knowledge can go a long way in planning for a healthy future together. Check with your company if you can get the check-up reimbursed. Better still, get an annual health check-up together!

Care for elderly parents

Let’s not forget about dear old mom and dad. Yep, the folks who raised you and probably still have embarrassing baby photos of you tucked away somewhere. As you’re building your life together, it’s crucial to discuss how you’ll care for elderly parents. Whether it’s having them move in, arranging for care assistance, or planning regular visits, make sure you’re both on the same page about supporting your families as they age.

In my case, my mum is currently living across the Causeway, so we schedule regular monthly weekend visits to spend time with her. You may also want to talk to your parents about what they would want too.

Possibility of relocation

Next up, the possibility of relocation. Are you willing to pack up your life and move across the country for a job opportunity? What about chasing your partner’s dreams in a new city?

And nowadays it’s not uncommon to see my friends (both local and international) trying to figure out their lives together. It can be tough to move away from everything you know for love, but discussing your willingness to relocate can save you from future arguments and heartaches.

Lifestyle dealbreakers

You might discover these little quirks and habits when you first go on holiday together. Whether it’s leaving dirty socks on the hotel room floor or having an unhealthy obsession with cat TikToks, if it’s something that irks you, tell your partner. For example, the love of my life throws his clothes all over the floor instead of putting them in the laundry basket. Love isn’t just about the butterflies, it’s about accepting each other, warts and all. Also, if they find it hard to change, consider if you can see yourself living with this in the long run.

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