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Marriage Planning 101: Where to Begin

By: Z Family Law

I think we can all agree that the wedding industry in the U.S. has gone a little, well… insane. And while there are a ton of resources out there to help you plan a wedding, there is very little about how to plan a marriage. Of course picking a venue, shopping for dresses, registering for wedding gifts, and everything else that goes into organizing a wedding can be really fun and exciting (and stressful and anxiety-inducing…), but what comes after “I Do,” when “We’re Doing” gets complicated, and a little mundane?

That’s where marriage planning comes in. The best time to make plans for the future is when you’re basking in the glow of your engagement or your recent wedding! That’s part of the reason we’re such big proponents of prenuptial agreements - because thinking about your future now builds a strong foundation for the rest of your life together. 


*Note: It’s never too late to start marriage planning! If it’s been a while since your wedding, you and your spouse can still benefit from this process.


So, where do you start? Right here! Read on for our best tips, tricks, and resources to help you and your soon-to-be-spouse Tie a Tighter Knot


Set a Recurring "Marriage Planning" Date

The best way to ensure marriage planning actually happens? Make time for it. The first step in this process is to put it on the calendar by scheduling a recurring “Marriage Planning” date. 


I know, budget spreadsheets and chore charts are probably not the first (or second, or third…) thing you think of when you picture the perfect date night, but there is something deeply romantic about planning the rest of your life together.


You can go as big or as small as you want with the actual “date” part, and you can adjust the frequency to suit your schedule - whether you do it every other week, once a month, or even every couple of months, the important part is that you do it on a regular basis so it becomes a habit. 


Use this time to talk about key topics (more about that below), and make and check in on plans - discuss what’s going well and what’s not, and start thinking about your next steps. This is also a good opportunity to talk through any wedding planning to-dos, like looking at vendors, picking out invitation suites, and making your playlist. (Pro tip: use your playlist as a soundtrack for future date nights!)


Now that you have time blocked off, let’s go over what exactly you should cover…


What You and Your Future Spouse Should Discuss

Throughout your relationship up to this point, you’ve very likely already discussed a lot of the “big” things, or at least you think you know how your significant other feels, but it’s worth having clear and direct conversations about each of your views, priorities, and expectations around key issues. To get you started, here’s a non-exhaustive list of topics to cover, and some questions to ask about each.


Family Planning, Children, and Parenting

  • Do you want to have children together? 
  • How many children do you each want together? 
  • How do you plan to raise them? E.g., Will one of you be a stay-at-home parent, or you plan to utilize daycare, babysitters, a nanny, etc.
  • Will you raise them religiously and if so, what religion?
  • Will they go to public or private school, or be homeschooled?
  • How will you discipline your children? 
  • If either of you has children already, what will the step-parent relationship look like?
  • What happens if your child is disabled or has special medical or behavioral needs?


Education and Career Aspirations

  • What are your educational and career goals?
  • Would you relocate for a job?
  • If one of your jobs takes you overseas, what would your spouse do? 
  • What happens if you have competing career obligations or priorities? 
  • When do you each want to retire? What do you envision your retirement to look like?


Sex and Intimacy

  • How often would you each have sex in an ideal world?
  • How will you handle it when your desires are not aligned (e.g., a dry spell, one partner’s libido changing significantly because of stress, medical issues, different sexual preferences, etc.)?
  • Are there things either of you would like to explore that you’ve been hesitant to bring up?


Chores and Life Logistics

  • How will you divide household chores and responsibilities?
  • What are your expectations for cleanliness in shared and individual spaces around the house? 
  • What happens if either party isn’t meeting their obligations when it comes to chores and responsibilities?
  • Tip: We love The Fair Play Deck for divvying up tasks and responsibilities. 


Financial Planning

  • Will you manage your money jointly or keep your finances separate?
  • What assets and debts do each of you have?
  • How will you divide household expenses and bills?
  • Who will be responsible for paying which bills?
  • How will you handle big purchases, and what do you consider a “big” purchase? 
  • What are each of your spending habits?
  • How do you each feel about debt? 
  • How will you handle inheritance received by either of you?
  • Do either of you own businesses and if so, how will you handle business finances?
  • Do either or both of you want a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement?


Estate Planning

  • What estate planning do you each already have in place?
  • How will you protect each other in future estate plans?
  • If either of you have children from prior relationships, what estate planning provisions do you have or envision having for them?
  • If you have children together, who will take care of your children in the event that something happens to both of you?


Religion and Spirituality

  • What are each of your religious or spiritual beliefs?
  • Do either or both of you practice a specific religion?
  • What religious traditions will you observe together? Separately?


Family Obligations

  • What kind of relationship do you each have with your own families, and each other’s?
  • How will you manage any problems that arise with your in-laws? 
  • Whose family will you spend the holidays with? 
  • What plans do you have around caring for aging parents and other relatives? E.g., will your parents live with you when they can no longer live on their own or will you look for an assisted living facility?, etc.


Travel, Vacation, and Holidays

  • What do you each like to do for vacation?
  • Where do you each dream of traveling? 
  • How will you celebrate holidays?
  • Which holidays will you celebrate?


Pet Care

  • Do you have or want pets together?
  • How many pets and of what species do you have/want?
  • How will you divide up animal care responsibilities and expenses?
  • How will you train pets or deal with behavioral and medical issues that arise?


As you’re going over these topics, remember that you and your (future) spouse don’t have to be aligned on everything, and in fact, you both should be prepared to compromise. Moreover, some of these conversations are hard to have. You may feel awkward or uncomfortable, and you probably will not know the answer to every question. That’s okay! The important thing is that you’re opening up lines of communication and ensuring you both head into your marriage clear-eyed about the other’s thoughts and feelings, so you can prevent unpleasant surprises later on.


Contact an Experienced Maryland Prenuptial Attorney

Congratulations - now that you've discussed these topics, you've already covered a lot of what you'd need to decide for a prenuptial agreement! If you're considering securing your future with a prenup, contact an experienced Maryland Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer by calling (301) 388-5528 or emailing

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