There are four important areas that can predict long-term marital success. When couples agree on the basics about kids, money, in-laws, and faith, they are much more likely to remain happily married. They don’t need to agree on every aspect of these issues but sharing the same basic values about them can make a big difference in their marital satisfaction.
When couples share similar values on the basics, it can make it much easier to deal with life’s stressors and other problems. Compared to these core areas, disagreements over other issues often seem minor and couples can work to overcome obstacles together.
Couples certainly don’t need to agree on every last detail however. In fact, if they did, there wouldn’t be much need to get married at all. Opposites do attract in some areas and having some minor differences on issues can help you live a balanced lifestyle.
If you don’t see eye to eye on these important issues however, don’t despair. It just may take some more work to resolve issues. If these issues are becoming too problematic to deal with on your own, consider seeking help from a marriage counselor who can help you work together despite your differences.
When it comes to kids, there are certain core issues that are important for couples to agree on. For example, if one partner loves kids and wants a big family and the other person doesn’t want any kids, all the love in the world won’t fix that problem. So it is important that couples share the same values about whether or not to have children.
Also, how to raise the kids is the other important aspect when discussing children. Couples don’t need to agree on every minor detail about discipline, but should have similar values about how to raise children. When couples agree on the basics it is easier to discuss the minor issues such as what time is bedtime and what age a child should get a cell phone.
A basic agreement on money is important as well. Couples who agree on big issues such as their feelings on debt will have a much easier time setting a budget. If both people are determined to pay off those student loans and credit cards as soon as possible, it will be much easier to set a budget when compared to couples who completely disagree on how to handle debt.
Couples don’t need to agree on everything about saving and spending. In fact, savers and spenders can balance one another out. However, the basic beliefs about money, earning, and paying bills is important as money can be one of the biggest problems in many marriages.
Having the same faith can make marriage a lot easier. For couples who worship a different higher being, it’s likely that their values and their view on truth may become a bone of contention at times. This can become especially problematic when it comes to determining how to raise the children and which values to try to instill in them.
Couples who have different religions have some negotiating to do about how to live out their separate beliefs in a way that is compatible to one another. Many couples are successful in doing this but many of them also report that it can be difficult at times.
A shared view on how to deal with extended family is important as well. For example, if a wife wants to have her parents over for dinner every Friday night and during that dinner, she wants to share all the details of the couple’s life, it can be a big problem if her husband is a private person who prefers different boundaries.
It is important to talk about the role you think extended family will play in your life before you get married. It’s also important to discuss this issue again before you have children. What role do you want your in-laws to play in helping raise your children?
Other issues, such as how much will you ask extended family for help can be an issue. If one partner asks his parents for a loan when money gets tight, his spouse had better be in agreement. Otherwise, it can set up a really tense situation that causes a family divide.
Some minor differences when it comes to family can be helpful. A husband who isn’t close to his own parents may enjoy learning about his wife’s close relationship with her family. Or someone may come to realize how important it is for grandparents to play a bigger role in a child’s life.
Of course, the best case scenario is that couples discuss these core issues long before marriage. Then they can resolve problems or even decide that they aren’t compatible enough to get married in the first place.
However, if you are already married and you don’t agree on these core issues, it doesn’t mean your marriage is destined for divorce. Instead, it means you’ve got some extra work to do. Consider seeking professional help if you find that you are struggling to manage conflict or find creative solutions to your disagreements. A marriage counselor can help you find ways to agree to disagree.