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You meet Mr. or Miss Right, and before you know it, you’re standing at the altar, ready to tie the knot. Question is, did you ask the right questions before you got to “I do?”
When couples seek marriage counseling before they move to the final steps of getting married, the counselor may help them with questions to answer. Most couples who don’t get counseling often don’t know the questions to ask a potential spouse.
Why Should Couples Ask Questions Before Getting Married?
A potential spouse is the person you intend to spend the rest of your life with, and you should know everything you can about them. This is where premarital questions come in.
By asking questions, you learn about the other person’s dreams, fears, hopes, ambitions, desires, and expectations. Questions and their answers give you a better idea of what life with your potential spouse will be like.
The Importance of Tough Questions
Asking questions is an integral part of communication. Experts in psychology all agree that communication is one of the most vital skills a couple can develop pre-marriage. This is what will keep the couple together if everything else has failed.
Open and honest communication is about asking tough questions, listening carefully to the answers, and responding instead of reacting to the information the other person shares.
The sooner you and your potential spouse can learn about each other, the better the chances you will be able to understand each other or decide that marriage isn’t for you. If you both discover you aren’t suited as life partners, then the chances you will be able to part amicably increase.
81 Questions to Ask a Potential Spouse Before You Get Married
While it’s really difficult if not impossible to predict how you will react in the future, it is still essential to talk about future plans, worries, events, and personal takes on hypothetical situations.
The first thing that pops out of your mouth or that of your potential spouse is a pretty good indication of where their mind is at and what their heart is full of. So ask the tough questions or possibly suffer through the tough divorce later.
Finances and Career
Money can easily break a relationship or a marriage if there isn’t great communication about your money values, ideas, and plans.
- Will we have joint bank accounts?
- What will be our savings plans for the future?
- Where do you see yourself financially in 10, 15, and 20 years’ time?
- Do you intend to follow this career until pension age? What are your career ambitions?
- Are you planning on advancing your career skills through additional studies to achieve a better paying job?
- How do you feel about debt and the making of debt?
- Have you ever worked on a budget, and how do you apply budgeting to your daily, weekly, and monthly finances?
- What is your priority with money? Do you see it as a means to an end, or do you take personal pride in earning your living?
- What is your biggest monthly expense and how do you justify it?
- When we get married, who will be responsible for the finances and for earning a living?
- If we have children, will it be expected of one of us to stay home and give up their career to raise the children?
- How will we deal with the eventuality of one of us becoming unemployed or being retrenched or losing their job due to a disability?
Place of Residence
Deciding where to live as a couple is not clear cut or easy. There are many considerations, and not discussing this before getting married can lead to complications later.
- Where do you see us settling down?
- How will we decide on the type of residence to choose?
- Will we be living in a house, an apartment, on a smallholding, or out on a farm or ranch?
- What will our plan be on how to budget for and afford our home after we get married?
- Whose name will the property be registered in if we buy, and if we rent, whose name will the rental contract be on?
- Who gets to decide if we should sell, or how should we make that decision in future?
- What will be our considerations in choosing a particular house or apartment in the city or town we decide to settle in?
- Do we live closer to your parents or mine? Or do we live closer to our places of employment?
- If one of us gets a career-making job, but it’s across the country, how will we decide whether to move there or commute?
Role of Extended Family
Getting married often means that you will be marrying into someone’s family, and family ties can become a tangled mess if there aren’t clear ground rules.
- How will we handle issues in our marriage that may include our extended family?
- If we fight, is it okay to discuss the issues with our families and to what extent?
- Should one of my family members become unemployed and need a place to stay, is this something that we could consider providing?
- When either of our parents become too old to live on their own, should we consider taking them into our home to take care of them?
- Is it okay to borrow money to or from family members and on what conditions?
- Should our families not get along, how will we deal with the issues that arise?
- When we have children, how involved will our extended families be in our children’s lives?
- How involved are your family members in your life at the moment? Do you consult them when you make decisions?
Division of Responsibilities
A marriage is made up of responsibilities and shared vision. Dividing chores is an important part of it.
- When we are married, who will take the lead in our relationship?
- In our home, who will be responsible for doing the housework, and who will be responsible for doing the earning?
- If both of us work away from home, how will we divide the housework and the responsibilities at home?
- How will we decide who does what chores at home such as cooking?
- When one of us is no longer doing their share, how will we address this issue?
- Should our family and work dynamic change, how will we decide who does what?
- What duties or responsibilities will we share and why?
- If I stay at home with the kids, what will your responsibilities be at home? (Or vice versa.)
Holidays and Hobbies
Play time and relaxation time can be a great way to bond if both partners see eye to eye.
- Will we take regular holidays away?
- How will we decide where to go or where to stay?
- If we go on holiday near our family’s places of residence, will we visit them or will we choose to stay in alternate accommodation?
- If your hobby costs a lot of money, how will we budget for it so there is equality in our financial divisions?
- If I have a hobby that you don’t approve of, such as horseback riding, how will you feel about it, and what will your attitude be toward any expenses for that hobby?
- If you have a dangerous hobby such as off-road biking, how will we discuss injuries, expenses, and potential loss of life?
- How supportive do we expect each other to be of our hobbies? Will we share hobbies or each do their own thing?
- When money is tight, how will we discuss cutting back a hobby or two to make ends meet?
- If you start practicing a hobby professionally, what allocation of our budget should be set aside for that hobby? What is my exchange for “sacrificing” so you can practice that hobby?
Children and Pets
Children and pets are the additions to any marriage, and these can place strain on the union.
- Do you want to have children?
- How will you feel if we can’t have children?
- What if we only have boys or only girls?
- How do you intend to raise our children? What values will you bestow on them?
- Why do you think you’d be a good (or bad) parent?
- Do you think I’d be a good (or bad) parent?
- What pets will we have? How do we decide on a family pet?
- Since I love animals, what would your response be if I brought a stray dog (or other animal) home?
- How do you feel about the death or loss of a pet?
It’s easy to stay with someone when you are both healthy, but when you’re not, it can be a real challenge.
- If I was to be seriously injured and my request is to not go on life-support, would you honor that request?
- Should you become physically incapable of taking care of yourself, how do you see this affecting our marriage?
- If I were to become disabled, how would that change our relationship?
- My family has a history of (any particular disease or condition); how do you feel about that, knowing I may also have this condition?
- I am concerned about some bad habits (smoking or drinking or drug use) that you currently have or had in the past; what are your plans to improve your health?
- Exercise is important to me as it helps me stay healthy, so how do you feel about it?
- What will our diet look like when we are married? How will we live healthily?
- Depression often destroys relationships. How will we cope with mental health strains?
- What are your coping mechanisms to deal with the physical and mental strains of life, and how do you see me fitting into that?
Knowing what someone values gives you real insight into their lives, minds, and reasoning.
- What is your personal value system based on?
- How do you see us sharing our values with each other?
- Your family has a few strange ideas I don’t agree with. How do you see us getting along?
- My family attends (a particular church), while yours goes to (another church), so which church will we attend once we’re married?
- Which church or religious place will we get married at?
- If we have children, what faith will we raise them in?
- What will be our family habits?
A marriage includes sex and intimacy. Knowing what each partner wants will ensure mutual satisfaction.
- What are your expectations of sex in our marriage?
- Will our marriage be exclusive and what qualifies as infidelity to you?
- How will you feel if I no longer want to have sex with you?
- Is it acceptable to you to consult with experts if we ever have sexual or fertility issues?
There are certain things that are not acceptable to some people. Knowing what your partner sees as taboo will help you avoid hurting them.
- What do you see as unforgivable sins in a marriage?
- What is the most shameful thing you believe I could do to embarrass you?
- How would you prefer us to address shameful acts in our marriage?
- What topics are not up for discussion in our marriage?
This is where you really dive into knowing your partner.
- What are your dreams?
- What are your biggest fears?
Final Thoughts on Questions to Ask a Potential Spouse
If you and your partner are close to or contemplating marriage, asking questions is the best way to find out whether you are headed in the same direction. Discussing your future is vital to its success and the overall longevity of your marriage. Unpleasant surprises that occur after marriage are sadly hard to get past without the help of therapy or counseling… and have a greater chance of the relationship ending in separation or divorce.
Vision boards can be a great tool for productive conversation. Discover if your shared visions are indeed shared by visualizing your future goals in picture format like the one talked about in this article. Just remember: putting in a bit more effort at the start of a relationship can save you a world of hurt in the end.
Finally, if you want to ask better questions, then watch this short, 20-minute course to learn how to have a great conversation with virtually anyone.