As one person falls in love with another person, gets all smarmy and melty-hearted, there are definitive topics that should be discussed prior to the wedding bells ( and in some cases, prior to too much investment of time for that matter.) The majors include religion, finances, children. We discussed these as well as other 'major' topics like family, career aspirations, friends, deal-breakers. There are also several other topics I have learned are important to the overall health and wellness of your couplehood. Oh, do let me tell.
1. Free time: How does your mate like to spend free-time? Seriously, this is important. A good friend of mine is an avid golf and tennis player. When dating, his girlfriend was also an avid golf and tennis player. They got engaged and she then was an avid smoker and reality show connoisseur. Apparently she smoked the entire time they dated. Those are SOME breath mints and body spray. When JMac and I started dating, I realized there was significant time dedicated to pre-game, during game, post-game analysis of all things football. We have Sportscenter on so frequently, MiniMac could recognize Chris Berman when he was two. What JMac did not know about me then is I would start the blog and donate gobs of time to it for years. Surprise. Oh, and that I love all movies involving dance. Not ashamed to admit I watched Step Up to the Streets. Thankfully, we have many, many outdoor interests in common including golf, tennis, beaches and drinking wine (when we do that outside, it counts as an 'outside' activity. People, check the free-time gauge. If your mate like Shakespeare Festivals and you don't, that is fine. If your mate loves to dress in Shakespeare costumes and don a fake accent 18 hours per day, maybe thats a sticking point for you. If your interests don't match up, time to find some common ground.
2. Music: Why is this important? Two words: Road Trips. I assure you JMac knew my affinity for all things "80's Remix" when we met. Does he love to listen to four different remix versions of Salt N Pepa Push It every time we are in the car for more than two hours? No, he does not. Shame on him, I know. While we both love music, we do not necessarily appreciate all the same genres. For example, Whoomp There It Is came on once and he changed it immediately. What? Whoomp There It Is is a classic party anthem from back in the day! He feels the same about Ice Ice Baby and It Takes Two. These are not flaws but poor JohnnyMac! He listened to too much Poison, Kiss, Def Leppard and Motley Crue to appreciate Sir Mix A Lot's many gifts to the world. We play music in the house frequently and he who gets to the dial fist, gets to rule the show. I felt a tiny cringe the first time he uploaded Carry On My Wayward Son onto my iPod for me as a special treat. Delete. He just this moment reminded me it is a 'great' song. Mm hmmm. And now, with MiniMac, it is a total battle royale for control of the music in the house. JMac and his brother have Mini completely into Bon Jovi. I have countered this by hooking Mini onto a great remix of Gonna Make You Sweat.
3. Temperature: I failed discuss with JMac his proclivity to keep his living quarters at the same temperature as the Ice Hotel. Or a meat locker. We have the AC on the minute it turns 65 outside. My limbs have a slight numbness to them right this moment. Yes, its Georgia and its hot but you better check the temp gauge on your mate. As cold as our house it, it is ditto for the car. Even when I'm driving he adjusts the temp to "winter day in Minnesota." We have tried to discuss it many times as I wear long-sleeves and footwear at all time in our house. His suggestion: Layer more. Yes, I should definitely wear MITTENS inside our house. This interferes with my wine drinking, darling! Many times I have made adjustments when he has left the house only to be foiled again each night. Curses. This is a challenge I have clearly lost. BRRRRRR.
4. Food:What do we eat? Well, in this house, I like vegetables. I enjoy smoothies made from blue algae, spinach, mango and protein powder. JMac does not. JMac likes giant pieces of steak. Do does our tiny son. JMac likes greasy hamburgers from 5 Guys. I do not. We learned our lesson on the first car trip. Now I know I am basically not allowed to drink water (to avoid bathroom breaks) and must pack all my own healthy snacks (there is no 'healthy snack stop' on the road.) On long car trips, we make multiple stops: 5 Guys are some other greasy area for John. Some grocery store for me. The good news is, you know I am playing remixes of 80s songs the whole time I am crossing my legs in Mussolini's car. JMac also doesn't enjoy eating at 6 pm like old people, so we have multiple dinner shifts in this house too. We do sit together at the table when Mini is eating so it seems like we are eating a family dinner. I like to eat before 7 or 8. JMac likes to eat at 10 pm. The good news is we love great food so the restaurant experiences are on par. Despite our home eating choices, we do have common ground. We both love sushi, great wine and most menus at our fave fine dining locations offer something for all of us. Thankfully we are both repulsed by any food establishment in which items for consumption are covered by sneeze guards. I do wish JMac liked sweets since I like to bake it up. Although, all my co-workers and friends are glad he doesn't so they can reap the goods.
5. Ambition: We have a friend who was unfortunate to lose his job during the downturn of the economy. He apparently never wants to work again. His wife is reaching the saturation point on patience and I feel for her. He doesnt want any job 'below' him and granted, he was super successful prior. But houses and little bitty children and the food you need to give them requires cash. Unless you are selling lemonade on the daily and making a killing, you need a job. JMac and I are both competitive people (I have tampered my competitiveness a touch or two since we had MiniMac but I will still SCHOOL YOU in Taboo so maybe I need to tamper it a touch more.) I took a year off when we had Mini and was ready to return to grown up conversation and using all my smart skills when that year was up. Make NO mistake: raising children at home whether by the Mom or the Dad is work. All day. Every day. It is a different kind of work requiring a different set of skills and patience. But some people do not want to work, even when their kids are raised. One of my former co-workers decided to stop working when they had several children. The youngest is 12 now and she also doesn't want to work. She owns that decision but she has also told me it is causing many a squabble at their house too. Ambition means different things to different people. As does lack of ambition. I am not identifying these two individuals as lacking ambition: they said it. Maybe you can't predict how someone will react when losing a job, or losing their steam but you can see many a clue during the courtship. "Sitting on the couch eating beef jerky" is not a paid occupation so if that is someone's passion project, oh boy.
These are just suggestions but maybe they are good ones. I really recommend you ratchet that 'temperature' topic to the top because as I type, I am wearing long pants and sleeves in my house in the summer.