Well done you and congratulations. But before you do get down on bended knee or whatever, there are four other questions you need answers to.
And I don’t mean the usual stuff like, do you want to have kids? Or do I really have to spend every other Christmas with your family?
No, these are four questions that are far more important, but tend to get swept aside in favour of romance. Do yourself a big favour though and fire away.
Because the answers you get will give you a much better idea of whether you really do a chance of being ‘happy every after’. Or not.
1. How much do you earn?
Amazingly, six out of 10 people don’t know for sure what their partner earns. If you’re one of these who thinks your loved one earns ‘about £30k’ then it’s time to ask.
It’s important because when you’re married, if you make joint purchases (and even for the sake of your credit rating) you need to know exactly where you stand financially.
If your partner’s self-employed it’s even more important to get to the bottom of exactly how much they’re bringing in. As shocking as it sounds, it has been known for individuals to pull the wool over their intended’s eyes and be, well, more than a little ‘ creative’ about their financial stability while wooing them. Only for reality to bite a little further down the line.
While it might be easy to get caught up in all the excitement of marrying someone with money/property/prospects/whatever, just make sure that it’s true!
2. How would you feel if I earned more/less than you?
In the fifties women may have got married and become house wives, leaving hubby alone to bring home the bacon. But figures from the Department of Trade and Industry paint a very different picture today.
Now one in five women earn more than their boyfriend or husband, and the woman’s salary contributes to more than half the family’s income in 21% of homes.
It’s the highest figure since records began, and shows many women enjoy greater success in their careers than their husbands or boyfriends.
And it’s something you both need to be upfront about, because it can cause huge rifts in a relationship if one of other of the parties is jealous of the other one’s earnings.
3. Do you have any debts?
The sad truth is that nine out of 10 arguments are about money. Relate, the relationship counselling service, says money is a far hotter topic of debate than anything else, even sex.
So in the interests of marital harmony, it’s best to be as a frank with one another as you possibly can be.
No one’s suggesting that a couple of hundred quid on a credit card is going to be a deal breaker, but you don’t really want to marry somebody only then for them to suddenly ‘fess up to the £25k debt they’ve secretly saddled you with.
Not only is it going to bring the honeymoon period to a screeching halt, but it’s going to take some explaining and a lot of hard work to pay off. Because this ‘revelation’ will now also be your problem too. Try to get a joint mortgage, another loan or a joint credit card or bank account and it’s going to raise it’s ugly head.
Speak to your partner openly about debts, because just like a business partnership, you need to know exactly what you’re getting into.
4. Are you a spender or a saver?
Ideally we’d all take a perfectly balanced approach to money, but in reality we all come somewhere on a scale that veers from wildly rash to painstakingly calculated.
Opposites attract, or so they say, so being fiscally mis-matched is not an entirely bad combination in a long-term relationship. Having a partner who can play devil’s advocate when you’re feeling mega cautious, or who is prepared to pull on the reins now and then when you start getting too carried away, is a positive factor in a relationship.
However, the positive aspects can also become negative in a relationship.
If you’re the sort of person who likes to be able to let their hair down now and again, and your partner isn’t – or if you like to know exactly where every penny has gone, but your partner prefers to live like there’s no tomorrow – you could be in for a very bumpy ride.