• Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
sunshine & unicorns: a blog about love, learning, and life in the upper midwest

13 March 2009

life's big decisions: made together

Bf and I are a very open-book couple. By that, I mean that we talk about everything, and often. We find it hard to believe that couples make it to the marriage stage without ever having talked about things so important as (for example) religion, finances, and future goals. We both feel that it's important to have a relationship built on equality and honesty, and we make most decisions (big or small) together. So, with that in mind, why wouldn't we start discussing marriage as soon as we were feeling the vibe?

Fairly early in to our relationship, we both knew we wanted to be together for good. Marriage is one of the biggest decisions a couple makes in their lives, and we felt it should be made together. By the time we'd been together a year, we were seriously discussing the "whens" and the "hows" of our marriage.

First, we considered our families and friends. We'd each been in a serious relationship before this and we wanted to be sure that our families had moved on from our Exes as completely as we had. We thought about timing. How long was "long enough" to date before engagement? Would people whisper about our "fast" courtship, or would they be overjoyed that we'd finally found "the one" for each other? We looked for warning signs, too: close relatives or friends who may have reservations about our relationship. We found quite the contrary - some folks were blatantly telling us to "hurry it up already!"

Next, we considered our money and future plans. These go hand-in-hand. We are fortunate to make a decent living. We have a shared budget and systematic way to pay bills, handle debts and build savings. We also have several goals. In the next few years (maybe even this year), we'd like to buy a home. Within 5 years, we'd like to pay off car debt, and have a sizable savings started for our future family. Our biggest struggle was how to accomplish all of these things AND pay for an engagement ring and a wedding. (Oh, and did I mention the honeymoon? We want a NICE, LONG one.) We talked about postponing the marriage and pouring our efforts in to home-buying. We talked about putting home-buying and savings on hold and freeing ourselves of all debt. We came up with a lot of scenarios, each with their own faults and benefits.

Finally, we decided to get the ring and seal the deal. We came to this decision for a few reasons. It's easier to buy a home if you're married. Less paperwork, no lawyers, no co-ownership issues. And, taking advice from others who've been there, we figured that once we bought a home, we'd be broke for years to come. We'd be fixing it, decorating it, maintaining it. So, we decided to seize the opportunity.

Once we'd made our decision, I was super-excited to start thinking about rings! (I'm like an avalanche. Once you set me off, I'm unstoppable... That's a nice way of saying: I'm obsessive sometimes!)