Dr. Aryn Ziehnert
As you read through these questions to ask your significant other before marriage, remember that although these topics seem personal, they are important to your future. Once married, topics like finances and in-laws can cause turmoil in the household if not clearly stated before marriage.
Discussing future dreams and goals before marriage.
How closely do your dreams for the future match your loved one’s goals? Do you know what you want for your future? Sometimes we get so wrapped up in planning a wedding that we miss out on whether our plans will mesh with those of our significant other.
For example, you may want to pursue a career in the state you grew up in near your family, but your significant other is from the UK and lives there most of the time when not working in the States. Does he plan to move to the States after the wedding, or does he assume you will move overseas? Can the two of you compromise for a few years, perhaps living in the UK for a while and then moving to the States?
Questions to ask:
- Where do you see us in five years? Ten years?
- Do you want to live in the same town/state/country?
- Do you want to go back to school or finish a degree program?
- Do you plan to switch jobs soon?
- How do you feel about my plans to (fill in the blank)?
- What expectations do you have about our marriage?
Marriage is about compromise. You may find that what you thought you wanted isn’t what you needed.
The topic of children can be a sticking point. Some people want several, while others want one child. Still, others have arranged their life to be childless. Your loved one may want children, but you are unable to conceive. Yet, it is best to talk about these plans for children and how you plan to raise them now.
We understand this can be a painful topic, especially if you have previously suffered pregnancy loss. The person you are marrying should have the right to know about any past pregnancies and how that can affect carrying a child in the future.
Questions to ask:
- Do you want children?
- If you do want children, how many?
- If we cannot have our own child, would you want to adopt?
- Do you have any other children from previous relationships?
- Have you ever been pregnant?
- Have you suffered a miscarriage?
- Do you have any past trauma I should know about?
- How were you raised and disciplined?
- How do you think we should raise and discipline our child?
- How would we handle parenting responsibilities in the first year?
You may want to also ask about sexually transmitted diseases if your significant other has a sexual past. These are personal questions, but this is the person you will be intimate with for the rest of your life.
Finances are another topic that can be explosive. How you plan to manage the finances is critical to being debt-free and making ends meet. Some people are extremely sensitive to the talk of finances, while others could care less.
The good news is that no one is born financially literate. You can find resources and courses online if you want to learn more about budgeting, buying a home, paying off debt, or investing.
Questions to ask:
- How do you think we should set up our accounts?
- Do you want joint accounts or to keep everything separate? Why?
- Who will have the responsibility of actually making the bill payments?
- Do you have debt?
- After we are married, will I be responsible for your debt?
- How much is your total income, gross and net?
- Do you have life insurance?
- Who will cover health insurance?
- Do we have plans to buy a home?
- How should we save for vacations and Christmas?
- Do we need multiple income sources?
- How much do you have in your accounts?
- How much should we put into savings?
Your finances are also tied to your dreams for the future. For example, if you plan to return to school, how will you finance the expense?
Deciding on the role of in-laws and extended family before marriage.You must set boundaries when it comes to in-laws and extended family. Your parents may be fine with dropping by unannounced at any time, day or night. While your future spouse grew up in a home where you called first before visiting, and you never called past dinnertime.
Another boundary related to finances that need to be discussed is loaning money to family. When is that okay, or is it a practice you do not want to get started? If your in-laws live close by, unannounced visits and borrowing may occur more often.
Questions to ask:
- What type of boundaries should we set with our families?
- Should we set a time when we do not appreciate visitors?
- Should we have a curfew where we ignore our phones after a specific time?
- Will you stand up to your family regarding me if needed?
- Will you take my side in a disagreement with your family?
- Will we loan money to the family?
- If we loan money, should we have a limit on the amount and number of times?
- Do you have any issues with your family that I should know about?
Most people understand when a newly married couple sets boundaries for people outside of the marriage. If your in-laws or parents buck these guidelines, be assertive and explain that peace in your marriage is a priority and this is how you would like to manage your marriage and ask them to respect your decision.
Past relationships and current issues can cause problems in your marriage. Taking these questions to ask your significant other, you are expressing your desire for the direction of the marriage and setting your boundaries in the process.
As you ask questions, give your loved one your answer to the questions so that they know where you stand. There is no reason for either one of you to be surprised or caught off guard after the wedding when you discussed these topics thoroughly before the big day.
Questions to ask:
- Do you have an ex I should be concerned about?
- Are you still friends with your exes?
- Why did your last relationship end?
- If we argue, whom do you plan to confide in?
- Do you believe it is okay to confide in members of the opposite sex about your marriage?
- How should we handle this blended family if you share children with an ex?
- How do you feel about infidelity?
- What do you consider cheating?
- Would you be willing to try marriage counseling?
It may seem ridiculous to ask your future spouse about infidelity, but some people do not consider acts like kissing as cheating. Other people think flirting is cheating. Make sure you understand where your significant other stands and clarify your beliefs.
Are you ready to walk down the aisle?
Do you know your significant other? Are you ready for the wedding day, or do you have some doubts? If you are wondering if you are making the best decision, please know that this is not uncommon. Getting married is a huge life-changing event.
After reading through the questions to ask your significant other before marriage, you may want to speak to a counselor specializing in relationship issues and premarital counseling. A counselor can help you decipher between minor disagreements and topics that can cause severe problems in your marriage.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment with a counselor in person or virtually.
“Bride and Groom”, Courtesy of Nathan Dumlao, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Mr. and Mrs.”, Courtesy of Photos by Lanty, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Wedding Bands”, Courtesy of Sandy Millar, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “White Blossoms”, Courtesy of Tijana Drndarski, Unsplash.com, CC0 License
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