The first few years of a new marriage are some of the most important, as they are usually the time when young couples make critical life choices together. The decisions made during the first few years of marriage will often change the entire course of your life and your spouse's, and making them together as partners in the relationship is a major part of ensuring that your marriage lasts. Here are the three most important decisions you'll likely be faced with during the first five years of marriage.

Should We Have Kids?

The decision of whether or not to have children used to be an incredibly simple one, as all married couples were largely expected to have kids. Today, however, this is rapidly changing. Many couples are choosing to remain childless, while others, especially younger ones, are choosing to wait until they are older and more settled to have kids. Only you and your spouse can decide which path is best for you, but make sure you both agree on whatever you finally decide. Few things can cause as much tension in a marriage as one spouse wanting children and the other being firmly set against it.

Should We Buy a House?

Buying a home is a huge financial commitment that married couples should decide on together. Make sure that you are both stable enough in your careers to afford such a purchase, as the loss of one of your jobs could result in trouble keeping up with payments. Also be sure that both of you plan to stay in your current area for a long period of time. If one of you, especially the primary income earner, has a job that may require a relocation at any time, buying a home may not be right for you just yet. If you are curious about what a home in your area would cost you, start browsing real estate websites like Century 21 Town & Country to see what's available.

Do We Need to Start a 401K?

All married couples should start planning for retirement together as early as possible, and one of the most important decisions to make is whether or not to start a 401K. For most couples, a 401K plan will be a very solid savings vehicle. Depending on your income and how risk tolerant both of you are financially, however, you may want to augment that plan with stock investments, ETFs or mutual funds.

The first five years of your marriage will be a time of major decisions and changes. In a way, every day is a learning curve for both you and your spouse. Remember to make these decisions together and always to take your spouse's thoughts and feelings into consideration, as these choices will affect both of your lives.

Author's Bio: 

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake.