10 things to talk about before you get married

The hot-button issues every couple should discuss before tying the knot.

Decision-making, chores, and kids

Getting married – it's so exciting! There's the proposal, the ring and, of course, all the planning for the big day.

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But getting married isn't really about the wedding day – it's about the quality of the marriage that follows. So how do you get started on the right foot? We talked to Bev Behar, registered marriage and family therapist, about the top 10 most important issues couples need to discuss before getting hitched.

1. Decision-making model
Marriage is about compromise, meaning the art of negotiation is an essential skill. "Your decision-making model is vital because it indicates how egalitarian your relationship is," says Bev. "Make sure your partner agrees with you about how an ideal relationship should work. Sharing important decisions and deciding together who should decide what takes strong listening, negotiating and problem-solving skills. You may not be perfect at it, but you need to know what you're working toward."

2. Chore and task-sharing
Do you plan to take care of the laundry, while your man takes responsibility for outdoor tasks like mowing the lawn?

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Don't just assume you know how these responsibilities will be divvied up. Talk about them. "Roles in relationships have been changing for the past few decades, and gender roles differ from one family to another," says Bev. "Talking about it before marriage can give you a foundation on which to build later discussions if and when you find you aren't happy with the status quo."

3. Children
Do you both want children? If so, how many?

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And once you've got your little brood, how do you intend to raise them? While you might assume that children are an obvious part of a marriage, your partner may feel differently. "Most couples talk about how many children they'd like to have and when," Bev says. "How you think children should be reared can be discussed over time as you see various families in action."

Page 1 of 2 – You might think sex is the last topic an engaged couple should discuss before getting hitched, but you'd be wrong. Find out why on page 2.

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