This post was written by our friends Zach and Maria Nigh
This is such a happy and exciting time, and you’re probably imagining your future life together (beyond the wedding). Will your future include children? Before marriage is the perfect time make sure you and your partner are on the same page.
Kids are a huge, life-changing deal, so setting yourself up for future success is a smart move! Here are a few important topics to talk about and make sure that you’re both riding the same wave.
The topic of children has probably come up in conversation a time or two – Good! Now it’s time to sit down and have a (or many) serious talk about it. Bringing another human being into this world is a decision that involves both of you.
You never know what God’s plans are, but we still paint a picture of what our family might be like. Share it with your partner – are you on the same page or different books? If you’re picturing a large family with five kids and your partner is nervous about one – you better hash this out before you get married.
This topic is truly important, not being on the same page can easily cause resentment, emotional disaster, and even divorce.
What does your future family picture look like?
How many children would you like to have? How important is that to you and how flexible are you?
When do you think you’ll be ready for kids? What’s your ideal timeline?
Do you have any thoughts or plans towards adoption, fostering, or alternative options?
Again, God is the only one who truly knows the plans for our future, but it doesn’t hurt to discuss and prepare for our ideal situation (and challenges).
How will you raise your child in faith?
For many engaged couples, religion is a topic that has been discussed… you’re likely both of similar beliefs and marrying in that faith. However, this isn’t always the case, and even so, talking about how you’ll raise your children in faith is an important subject. Think about the potential hurt and discomfort that could come if you try to deal with it after children arrive.
- What faith will you raise your child(ren) in?
- What’s the most important thing to teach your child(ren) in regards to faith?
- Will you have your child(ren) baptized?
- How strict will you be with your children when it comes to faith?
- How will you ensure your child(ren) has a relationship with God?
What is each of our responsibilities?
This is jumping ahead a little, but it’s a natural topic when discussing children. How will the many responsibilities that come with children be divided? Things will change, but this is a good opportunity to see if you two see eye to eye on the division of responsibilities.
- Who will be responsible for our financial stability?
- Who will be the primary disciplinarian?
- Who will be responsible for the baby at night?
- Who is primarily responsible for care? (health care, school, day-to-day)
- What’s your feeling about daycare or a nanny? Or, does one of you feel called to stay at home?
What’s your ideal childhood?
This is more fun. We all have our own experiences of being parented and thinking about what we’d do differently. What kind of parent will you be? Dig deep and go back to your childhood: conjure up some memories and see how they might affect your parenting style.
- What did you love (or not love) about your childhood?
- What were your parents like?
- What were the things you admired and appreciated about your parents? What would you do differently, or didn’t agree with?
- What values do you feel are most important to teach your child(ren)?
How will you discipline?
Since you’re already taking a trip down memory lane, take a left and revisit some of the ‘not so good ‘ol days.’ What memories of discipline do you have from your childhood? Think about when you were disciplined and imagine your child doing the same thing – how do you imagine you’d react?
- Do you agree with the discipline style of your parents?
- Is one partner more of the disciplinary?
- What discipline strategies do you agree with? Or not agree with?
- How important is discipline in your home?
- What is your ultimate goal with discipline?
What are your fears and excitements?
The idea of your future family can be exciting and also scary. Talk with your partner about what you look forward to, what you may be fearful of, and your overall expectations.
- What are you most excited about in regards to having children? Why?
- What are you most afraid of? Why?
- Do you have any anxieties about parenting?
- Do you have expectations? How will you feel if they don’t pan out?
How well do we communicate?
When it comes to children, strong and consistent communication is key! Make sure you are communicating with your partner AND others. Have you ever heard the saying ‘it takes a village to raise children?’ It’s not as popular today, but it should be. Having a good support system makes a family stronger, and makes rearing children much easier.
Do you and your partner communicate regularly? Is this an area you need to work on? Are you able to have clear, open and honest conversations about your feelings, even if they may be difficult? What kind of support system do you and your partner have? Do you talk regularly with your support? Do you ask them questions and for advice? (if you don’t, you should start!)
It is SO important that you’re both on the same page when it comes to your future family plans (and marriage, and paint colors). Take the time to communicate with each other, especially about big life decisions (before they happen!). Pray together, and have peace in knowing that God’s in control, and He works everything for good.
This is an adventure and challenge that luckily, you two get to tackle together – Enjoy! (and get back to wedding planning!)