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Ask Dave

The Path To Marriage

Doug asks what areas he and his fiancée need to be on the same page about before getting married. Dave is happy to help.

QUESTION: Doug on Facebook asks what areas he and his fiancé need to be on the same page about before getting married. Dave is happy to help.

ANSWER: I’m not a marriage counselor. I’m just an old dude who has been married a long time. I have studied the number-one cause of divorce, which is money fights and money problems, for many years. I’ve read a lot of books and talked to a lot of marriage counselors. Here’s what I’ve learned.

Do in-depth premarital counseling and dig all the skeletons out of both closets. Neither of you are perfect, so don’t think you are. If the engagement is six months or longer, you have a higher probability of a successful marriage.

There are four areas you must address in premarital counseling if you want to be wise heading into a marriage. One is money. One of you is a spender and one is a saver and that’s all right, but you need to have common goals and common decisions about how money is going to be handled in the house.

Another area is kids. Do we want them or not, or about how many will we have and how will we treat them? Some kids don’t behave because their parents are spineless.

The third thing is in-laws. Is your mother-in-law crazy? Is her dad a control freak? You need to learn how to set boundaries with your family members to stay married if that’s what you’re facing.

You must also be on the same page about religion. Whatever you are, you must be on the same page because as you develop in your life, those things that cause your heart to beat will matter deeply to you. That’s going to be a huge problem for you.

If you are in agreement on those four things, you just increased the probability that your marriage will last.