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Ensuring we set a solid foundation for our marriage is vital. Many couples fail to discuss the many topics that will present as your life progresses. The worst thing to happen is to approach these things blind. When we don’t really know what our partner thinks or how they will respond, can often cause a situation that should be small to erupt into a major disaster.

How can we prevent these things from escalating and how can we being another divorce statistic?

Topics about finance, equality within the relationship, career, sex and children are just the start. Failing to discuss these topics leaves the couple ill prepared for differences. When these differences surface we can become distressed, as we believed our partner has the same thoughts we do and if each person believes this yet remain on a different page, issues escalate.

Correct communication allows us to explore, understand, learn and interact. This is the basis of all relationships and if communication is impaired, so is the relationship.

Communication is not only about speaking and hearing it is about listening, understanding and providing an environment for each person to disclose safely and without judgement.

The 7 essential things to know and understand either before your marriage or into your marriage include:

  1. When Me becomes We everything we do has an effect on our partner
  2. How to communicate with your partner in an open and honest way by providing a safe place to discuss thoughts and feelings
  3. Transparency in all finances to know each others spending and saving pattern
  4. Understand the expectation of how your partner can demonstrate their love, and respect for you every day
  5. Recognise the level of intimacy required in the relationship
  6. Know and accept their family as your partner is a reflection of them
  7. Ensure both partners are open and translucent in all areas of their life.
  8. Once the skills are developed in the relationship they are applied to all matters that present and can often be resolved before damage is experienced.

One of the most common problems facing couples is regarding the balance and equality in the marriage such as:

  • Who will be the primary carer of the children?
  • Whose career will be placed on hold?
  • How will the division of household tasks be divided with work and children?
  • What roles will family play in your life?
  • Transparency in all areas including finance, bank accounts and social media

Our divorce rate is shameful. If couples were better educated and prepared I believe it would not only halve the divorce rate it would prevent some marriages occurring hence avoiding much heartache and hurt. So many couples are shocked within just a few short years when they find out what their partner does not feel or think about specific things they believed they did. This is often because they have never discussed it.

Reposted with permission. This article originally appeared on Dr Karen’s blog