So you finally got the courage to put yourself out there, were successful in finding love and are even thinking of marriage.It is worth noting that the search for a marriage partner involves more than finding someone to love.Read on to get enlightened on important conversations to have before saying “I do.”

Finding and settling for a marriage partner is more or less a search for someone to build a satisfying life with. Courtship provides you the time and opportunity to connect to your partner emotionally while observing them in different life situations. Therefore, it is wise to have a discussion on issues that can potentially bring conflict in your marriage.

1. Religious differences

You must find out during courtship your partner’s religious beliefs and commitment. It is worth noting that some religions don’t approve some things such as alcohol, hence it is important to have insight of your partner’s faith and feelings on religion to avoid future conflicts. This is because the arrival of children in marriage is liable to increase the level of religious tension in the family as you have to make a decision on what religion they should follow; at least until they are of age to make their own choices.

2. Career goals

Although there are things that we can’t predict, it is important to discuss career goals with your partner, make plans and even back-up plans. For instance, it would be good to know if your partner wants to be a freelancer or an employee, to work and retire by 40, 50 or even 70? If one of you plans to go back to school in the future, that could have an impact on your finances, goals, and lifestyle and may also mean that you need to put certain aspects of your personal life on the back burner while your ambition takes priority. Looking at your long-term career path, does your partner have less earning potential than you? If so, how do you feel about being a primary breadwinner in the future? From the current trends, people don’t stay in one job for long; therefore, you need to discuss what will happen in case one of you gets a job in another town or even another country, before it happens.

3. Family

Before you even agree to marry someone, you need to make sure that you’re on the same page in terms of whether you want children, the number and time span of getting them. Don’t assume that your partner obviously wants children; discuss and get a clear picture. Even if you both want children, find out whether it’s biological or adopted children and how you will space them and even the parenting style to adopt.

4. Finances

One of the most common issues that cause conflict in marriage is money. According to a Utah State University study published in 2012, couples who reported disagreeing about finances once a week, were 30 per cent more likely to get divorced than couples who reported disagreeing about finances once a month. You need to discuss and agree on spending and saving lifestyles and if you want separate or joint bank accounts. Talk about shared investments, for instance, if you both own a business will it be registered as a joint or separate entity? And if one of you owned some property before marriage, do they get to retain it as a sole owner or do you become co-owners with your spouse?

You can avoid a lot of conflict by talking about these and other important topics before you start your marital journey together. However, there will be things that will confront you in marriage that you hadn’t talked, or even thought about before. The most important thing is to communicate openly and honestly with your partner.

PUBLISHED JUNE 2015