The 18 conversations you should have before you get married.

When most of us think of marriage, we think of romance, commitment and a wedding. That's because these days, love is the basis for marriage. 

But according to Stephanie Coontz, the author of Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage, marriage was originally based on talk. It was a contractual binding between individuals and their families to increase wealth before there were banks. (Yep, not even slightly romantic.)

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Most of the important conversations we need to have with our future husband or wife-to-be are avoided because they are unromantic. We think we'll defy the odds because love is all we need to survive as a married couple. But the divorce rates say otherwise.

So we decided to speak to women – who are married or have been – to hear what conversations they wished they had with their partners before they tied the knot. Here's what they had to say.

1. "If you both actually want to be married in the first place." 


2. "Children – yes or no, when, and how many."

3. "How you will raise your children if you have them – who will stop work (if either of you)? Which schools will your kids go to? If you're from different religious backgrounds or atheist, which teachings will the children be brought up with if any at all?"

4. "Not just if you want kids, but how much you each want kids. If it doesn’t happen naturally, are you on the same page for IVF, fostering and adoption?"

5. "Career aspirations and priorities – do you want to move interstate or overseas for your career?"

6. "Work/life balance goals and expectations – Can it work if one of you is happy to take a job that means you work all weekend, while the other one is happy to live in a smaller house but have more family time? Does one of you want to save for a good retirement and the other wants a new car every two years?"

7. "Family influence – How much information and how much influence in-laws have in discussing plans, especially big ones? Would you tell his parents how much you owe or earn? How much would you discuss with them plans for children, schools, careers or property?"

8. "Health issues – Are there any health problems in your family that might be heritable, for yourselves or for potential children?"

9. "Politics – Who they vote for and thoughts on feminism."

10. "Where you want to be in life in a year, five years, 10 years, at retirement, 20 or 30 years after retirement."


11. "How will you celebrate Christmas and or religious days?"

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12. "Your love language." 

Read more: "The two-minute love language quiz that led to the most honest conversation my partner and I have ever had."

13. "What does monogamy mean to you? What does cheating look like to you?" 

14. "Approach to money and whether to share finances or not."

15. "What is your threshold for stuff. Does visual clutter bother you? Does it impact your mental health?"

16. "How you plan and want to keep the romance alive."

17. "Your views on marriage in general – What do you really think a marriage is? If there's a tough time in your marriage are you both committed to being there for each other? If you believe marriage is forever, are you willing to be honest if you're unhappy in the marriage and work through any issues together? Would you go to relationship counselling?"

18. "The mental load – Do they really get it? Do they really plan to share housework?"

Feature Image: Getty.