Tuesday, April 16, 2024

The Cautious Optimist: So You Want to Get Married? Here’s What You NEED to Know Before Tying the Knot – & Some of It May Surprise You!

Welcome to our series The Cautious Optimist, brought to you by our pals at Tower Insurance, where we – forever the optimists – at Capsule look into those big life decisions you might be toying with and how to make sure you’re making the right ones.

From finally embarking on that post-Covid big trip, buying a house and everything in between, we have all the big questions answered by the experts, so you can be cautious AND optimistic!

Kelly Bertrand investigates what you need to know before getting married – both financially and emotionally.

Getting married and combining two lives is one of the biggest things you can do and if that doesn’t reek of ADMIN I don’t know what does. But once the euphoria of getting engaged clears, you need to turn your attention to making sure your marriage gets off on the best possible foot – both with your emotional preparation, as well as the practical considerations. Frist, we speak to intimacy and pre-marriage counsellor Angela Rennie of Intimacy Counselling and then Tower External Communications Specialist Kayla Dalrymple, for their hot takes on what to do and what not to do before tying the knot! 

Kia ora Angela! So getting engaged is SUPER exciting, but eventually the high of everything has to give way to practicality at some point, right? What are some of the things you should talk about before committing to a marriage?

There are five areas where all couples can struggle, and it may be that some couples struggle with more. They are:

  1. Money
  2. Chores
  3. Parenting
  4. Sex
  5. Organisation.

Those are definitely the top five, but then you can add in things such as in-laws after that.

So is it about talking about these five things, and making sure you’re on the same page before you enter into a marriage?

It’s not important to be on the same page – but what I would say that couples need to do is gain the skills to manage differences, anxieties and vulnerabilities as a team.

How do you do that?!

There are definitely steps to that! It’s knowing what your wants, needs and desires are and communicating those in a healthy way, without your partner feeling attacked; having listening skills so you’re really listening to each other.  There’s a sender and receiver in any message and a lot can go wrong between the two.. You want to check you heard their message correctly, you understood their perspective, empathise with their feelings and then moving towards compromised and win-win solutions.

So communication is really important, then?

Yes, people think that relationships should be like a Hollywood movie and that we should all be in the same page with everything, but that’s not reality. Differences in those areas aren’t a threat to relationships but they are really important to manage in a healthy way. Communicate, share the power and look for solutions!

What advice would you give someone who has just got engaged and is planning a wedding?

It would be to make sure you gain the skills to talk about those five things and how to have healthy conflict. Most of us don’t get taught that – including myself! It’s about getting a partner who wants to work on that and be on the same team as you. Also to make sure you nurture the relationship constantly. A relationship is like a plant, if you don’t feed it and water it with the good things constantly it will wither. If you make sure you are having fun, affection, meeting each other needs of each other regularly (attention, affection, appreciation, and acceptance)  the differences are so much easier to manage. 

Are there any issues that are more difficult than others to find solutions for?

Yes in my opinion there are three – checking where you want to live, whether you have an open or monogamous relationships, and whether you want kids or not. Being on the same page with those ones is pretty crucial.

Do people come to you as a kind of preventative step, or is it usually because they’re having issues they want to iron out before getting married?

Most of the couples we see for pre-marriage counselling are coming to gain) skills and future-proofing the relationship – none of them that I’ve seen have come to me because they’re in a bad place.

Are you finding that as time goes on, you’re seeing men in particular being more comfortable sharing and opening up?

I think so. At least half of my individual clients are men now, so men are definitely becoming more open, as well as New Zealand as a whole.

And has the pandemic had an impact on what people are wanting to talk about, especially in the relationship/ marriage context?

I think the pandemic really highlighted for a lot of people what they weren’t happy about in their lives. We’re not made to be locked down together as human beings, so that put a big strain on emotional and relationship health. We’ve seen that for a lot of people, it was a catalyst for change.

Your relationship shouldn’t be the only thing bringing you happiness – that’s not where you should be looking for happiness. Happiness needs to come from within you. And you should be working as a team to make the relationship better. One person can’t be everything you need; you can’t get everything from one person. That’s important to remember.

Is there anything else you think people should consider before getting married?

Love languages are pretty important too. Knowing what makes your partner feel loved is big and putting your efforts into the right area. But what I’ve also noticed is that people have different languages of support. Sometimes you’ll think you’re supporting your partner, but they don’t feel it – what do they need? It’s good to talk that through too.

Okay, so the big day is fast approaching! From an insurance perspective, what do you need to know? Kayla answers the big questions:

Is there a good way to manage your insurance together as a married couple?

Getting married is the perfect time to consolidate your insurance if you were both paying separately prior. First off, make sure you’re not doubling up on things like contents insurance. Moving all your policies to one insurer together also means you can take advantage of multipolicy discounts.

Another helpful tip is to use merging your insurance as a chance to catalogue your life together. This means showing proof of ownership for key items and assets – take photos of items and make sure you take photos of any hardcopy receipts too. Having proof of ownership means that if the worst does happen, like a flood or fire, you’re claiming process will be so much easier and simpler. It really pays to be forward thinking when it comes to insurance, so your experience can be as hassle free as possible.

For couples in general, little things in your insurance can make all the difference. For example, check you’re both named drivers on each other’s motor insurance policies – if one of you gets into trouble in the other’s car, you’ll be able to claim for any mishaps.

What do you need to insure?

When it comes to engagements and weddings specifically, gifts, engagement and wedding rings are all valuable assets that are covered under your contents insurance. If your jewellery is worth more than the maximum single item limit in your contents policy, you’ll need to tell your insurer so they can adapt your cover to suit.

If you’re going on a honeymoon after your wedding, I’d also recommend taking stock of any gifts beforehand. Some couples leave gifts still wrapped at home when they jet-off, and if you don’t know what you’ve received, you won’t know what to claim for if something happens while you’re away. Speaking of your honeymoon, read Lauren’s reasons why travel insurance is a must.

Often getting engaged, married or even just getting more serious with your partner can come with some big life changes, like buying a house or welcoming a pet to the family. If this sounds like you and your other half, David and Will have some great advice.

Inflation and the cost of living seem to be all anyone is talking about right now, how is this affecting insurance, any advice for couples?

Inflation is reaching into all corners of our lives. Unfortunately, it’s likely to be an unwanted guest on your big day too, as things like catering and your wedding venue will probably cost more than a year or two ago. Sadly, Tower can’t help with that, but we can definitely help manage your insurance in the current inflationary environment!

One super important piece of advice is to review your motor policy and your sums insured for home and contents. You may not be able to replace your precious things like-for-like if your insurance isn’t up to date. This is especially relevant with high rates of inflation impacting most industries. Just look at the used vehicle market in Aotearoa, in 2022 the Toyota Hilux appreciated in value by 20-40% compared to 2021. For second-hand vehicles and replacement parts in the same time period, we saw a 14% rise in value!

To stay ahead of the curve, we recommend you regularly review your policies throughout the year, Tower customers can do this easily for any policy via My Tower.

If you’re feeling the pinch due to inflation, especially while you’re trying to save for a wedding, there are ways to make your insurance more affordable, checkout Kru’s tips and tricks here.

Always remember – we are here to help. If you have any questions at all about how to make your insurance work for you at any life stage, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Tower’s online portal My Tower keeps your insurance in order so you can keep things simple. All your details are online in one easy place! You can pay your premiums, check your policies, sum insured, and even make a claim, all via your personalised profile. Tower has you covered from your home, contents and car, right through to the cat and dog, all with great multi-policy discounts!

Visit the Tower website for more information on their insurance policies:

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