Relationships are one of the few things in life that don’t seem to need planning, right? I mean, sure, I’ve got my five-year and ten-year plans, but I think we all accept the fact that serendipity plays a large part, too. After all, you can plan for a lightning strike, but you can’t predict when it’ll happen.
But once smitten (literally!) by a possible love, what a lot of couples skip over is planning. Not the we-just-met-but-here’s-my-ring-preference type, but the type that comes from discussing your goals and desires in life. Here’s a timely example - the JLo/Marc Anthony split.
You’d think the only thing a rich and (half-)beautiful couple like Marc and Jennifer should be concerned about is whether or not JLo’s big booty might break her matchstick of a man, but believe it or not, there appear to be deeper issues here.
The current rumor is that Jennifer Lopez, budding Scientologist that she is, wanted to enroll her children with Marc Anthony in Scientology school. Sadly, he didn’t share her beliefs and the ensuing nastiness is what ultimately broke them up. While I’d probably ditch anyone who wanted to worship money-grubbing aliens, too, that’s probably something they should’ve talked about before they started procreating, don’t you think?
Some important things to hash out if you think the relationship’s getting serious:
Religious beliefs and expectations
Religious differences can be serious deal-breakers, especially when it comes to raising a hypothetical family. Maybe you want a tree where your S.O. wants a menorah, or perhaps he’s a fan of Catholic school while you’re pigheadedly pushing for how-to-worship-the-mothership lessons. One way or another, you’re looking at the possibility of serious, deep-rooted differences that you need to discuss before rings and promises get involved.
Like religious beliefs, past family dynamics are factors that can predict how your future family together, as well as his gender expectations relating to you, might pan out. Does he dislike his mom? Watch out for negative issues he might have with you. Does you honey’s dad expect his wife to come when called? Red flag apples don’t fall far from their trees. Is he close with his dad? If not, you might be looking at a guy who’s uncomfortable with family life and might not be super-supportive of you, should you become a mommy.
I think I saw an episode of Law and Order once where a woman tricked famous man into marrying her so he’d be obligated to take care of her when her degenerative illness started to take over. Probably not a great call, guys. When things start to get serious, be upfront about medical, mental, or other personal issues now (including anger management, drinking, or other substance issues) and minimize the possible emotional carnage later.
Mind your money
Talking over spending and saving habits is essential. If he’s a spendthrift and you’re just thrifty, you’ll probably be at each other’s throats within weeks. You need to be able to honestly plan your financial future, and to do that, have similar goals.