Right now, Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries’ marriage is melting down before our very eyes on Kourtney and Kim Take New York, which was filmed just prior to the break-up of their 72-day union. So far, the first 2 episodes of the series have been riddled with Kim and Kris fighting — particularly over what many marriage counselors calls “deal-breaker topics,” like where you’ll live, how many kids you’ll have (if any) and more.
Kimmy might not be a very good role model for the rest of us (she did get her start with a sex tape, afterall), but there are aspects of her high-profile divorce that we can learn from. If you’re on the verge of engagement, or even planning a wedding, here are 10 things you and your fiancé have to talk about before you walk down that aisle:
If You Want Kids Or Not
Some people just don’t want kids – it’s a fact. Make sure your partner isn’t one of them, and also make sure you both want about the same number of children. If one of you wants to be the next Duggar family, it could be a problem.
The Wedding Budget
Working together on the wedding budget is good practice for managing your joint finances after you’re married. If you fundamentally disagree on spending, this could be a major red flag. In their wedding special, Kim and Kris were seen arguing about whether Kris needed to upgrade his New York City apartment; the discrepancy between her lavish spending and his frugality was something they (obviously) couldn’t work past.
Your Living Situation
Another point of dispute for Kim and Kris was where’d they live post-wedding. Kris pushed for a move to the ‘burbs of Minnesota, while Kim wanted to stay in L.A. to work on her career. This is an important conversation for anyone planning to wed – talk about where you want to live, especially if there is relocation involved.
Some families see each other every week, others only on holidays. It’s important to discuss how often you’ll see your in-laws – especially if that’s going to be every birthday, national holiday, third Tuesday + every weekend. Ouch.
Whether You’ll Stay Home
Ask your future husband point blank if he expects you to stop working after you’re married; you deserve to hear the truth, especially if you envisioned yourself having a long career. Reversely, if you’ve been itching for the housewife life, let your hubby know so you can account for the lack of income.
What Religion You’ll Raise Your Kids As
There are many exceptions to the ancient rule that children be raised under their mother’s religion; what if mom is an atheist or dad is devout? Make sure you discuss, in full, what holidays you’ll celebrate, what church or temple you’ll attend, and how big the role of religion will be in their lives.
Parenting Style (Strict vs. Lax)
The age-old dispute over spanking or not spanking has torn families apart, too. Make sure you’re on the same page when it comes to disciplining your child, as well as the values you hope to impart in them. Speak specifically about how strict or lenient you’ll be, citing things your own parents did and whether you agree with them. Same goes for spoiling them.
If either of you have a significant amount of debt – you’ve got to lay it out on the table. The fewer “surprises” after the wedding, the better. As you begin to share credit cards and co-sign for loans like mortgages, his or her credit will affect yours. A plan for paying off the debt before you have grandkids is probably a good idea, too.
Whether You’ll Have A Pre-Nup
Pre-nups are not inherently a bad idea. Especially if there is a large sum of money, like an inheritance or trust fund, involved. Make sure you have your assets protected, and that both parties are happy with the terms of this agreement before you walk down the aisle. Haven’t we learned anything from Heather Mills, Paul McCartney, Michael Jordan, Mel Gibson and others?
The D Word
Once you’re married, “divorce” becomes a 4-letter word. You must never use it as an ultimatum in fights, and you can’t even really consider it as an option. So get all of your deal-breakers out on the table before you wed — for example, “my deal-breaker is infidelity,” or “I’d leave you if you ever pulled a Madoff.” Put those expectations/consequences right out there, so there is no confusion later.
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