06-Sep-2015 16:51

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@(be sure to read these guidelines first). New readers, welcome to Dear Wendy, a relationship advice blog. You can also follow along on Facebook and Instagram. You may never live in your dream home, but knowing whether you and your significant other share common long-term goals will help solidify your roles as partners in each other’s lives and confirm that you’re working toward the same thing. You can’t expect to plan all your vacations for the rest of your life together, but discussing some solutions that you’re both OK with will help you address friction in the future. If anyone has any recommendations, please send them my way!

This works best if the thing you hate with a passion isn’t also the same thing your partner hates with a passion. You will (hopefully) be sleeping in the same bed as this person for a very, very long time, and a comfortable mattress is imperative for a good night’s rest. How will your respective careers affect family life? Do you have more schooling and apprenticing to finish? Think of the TV in the bedroom as a metaphor for your whole marriage.

If you hate, hate, hate washing dishes, but don’t mind cooking, suggest to your partner that you head meal preparation if he or she agrees to take on the dishes.

I’ve been writing an advice column in some shape or form for close to eight years now, and I can say with confidence that at least 75% of the letters I receive from married people are about issues that could have been avoided if the couples had better communicated their expectations about married life tying the knot. If you do want them, when do you want to have your first? And if you don’t want to put roots down and would prefer to stay on the move indefinitely — my parents, for example, raised me and my sister in three different countries (none of which was the US, where they were raised) — make sure your partner is on board with that idea.

Letters like the one I answered last week in which the husband and wife had drastically different ideas on where they’d like to raise a family are, sadly, not uncommon. Are you open to adoption or fertility treatments if you’re unable to conceive naturally? How would you rank location in terms of importance for your well-being? If you practice a religion or have a particular faith, how important is it that your partner share the faith and practice it with you?

But they’d be much more of a rarity if couples would discuss these 15 issues before getting married: 1. Who has some and what is the plan for paying it off? How long do you want to try to conceive naturally before trying different options? If you love where you live, what would persuade you to move — a job offer, desire to be closer to family, better schools for your kids? How does your religion or faith affect your lifestyle? Marriages are broken in the aisles of IKEA every day.

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  1. Her Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees were both earned at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, Kearney, Nebraska. Surface is a Leadership Associate, graduating from John Goodlad’s Institute for Educational Inquiry program in Seattle, Washington.