Marriage Prep 102
Last time we talked about building communication in marriage. Two more essentials for laying a strong foundation for marriage are to make a pre-marital visit to the doctor, and to reach a point of clarity about male/female roles before you walk the aisle.
See a doctor. Many states require you to take a premarital blood test, which will detect many diseases. But even if your state has no such requirement, getting tested is a good idea—especially if one or both of you have been sexually active. Go for full disclosure. My friend who married a guy with HIV-AIDS appreciated making the choice with all the facts available. And her guy never had to wonder, “Would she have married me if she had known…?” The same is true of many medical conditions.
Your physician can also discuss contraceptive options if you plan to delay having children. If you plan to use contraception, including natural family planning, this visit will give you a chance to ask pertinent questions and receive a prescription, if applicable.
Schedule your appointment with enough time to spare that you can read up on the subject before talking. Also, if you plan to use oral contraceptives, allow enough time to fill a prescription and give it time to work.
Establish your view of male/female roles. Often married couples express shock when they learn they have entered the marriage with more rigid views on men’s and women’s roles than they thought they did. And usually at least one partner is upset about it. So here are some questions that will help get you started:
• What roles did you see modeled at home?
• Whose responsibility is contraception?
• Who will cook in your newly established home and how often?
• Will the same person who cooks do the shopping? Do the dishes?
• Who gets the oil changed?
• Will your plans include more education? If so, who supports the student and how?
• Will your views of how you divide labor flex according to life stage? Or do you have more set views of what a husband does and what a wife does regardless of the season of life?
• How do you both feel about her mowing the lawn?
• How do you feel about her having the higher income? Him?
• Will she work while he stays with the kids? Will he? Or will you both work from home?
• How do you feel about him/him decorating the living space? Do you see decorating as a shared task?
• Who gets up with crying babies?
• Who bathes the kids for bedtime?
•Would you move to a new location due to a career transition for him? For her?
• Will you home school your children?
• Where do you dream about living?
• Who handles the primary interaction with in-laws? Both or the one related to them?
• Will you do family devotions? If so, do you take turns leading or is that his job?
The marriage is more important than the wedding. So while you’re checking out locations, choosing font styles, and tasting samples of chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting, remember why you’re planning this party—because you plan to build a life together. Start now.