So, you’re thinking of getting engaged. Chances are, you already know your intended spouse pretty well, but have the two of you talked about everything? I’m talking those really meaningful, deep life questions. Do you know your partner’s opinions, values, and thoughts, especially on important issues? There are a lot of questions to ask before getting married.
First of all, marriage is a huge and exciting step. (Congratulations by the way!) So before diving into a lifetime commitment, it makes sense, then, that the two of you should stop and discuss the most essential issues. Being on the same page from the start of your marriage will not only help put you on the path to a happy life together, but it will also help you to avoid potential conflict and marriage mistakes in the future.
Why else to talk about these things before you get married? You want to make sure that you’re picking the right person to marry and that the two of you share similar goals and values. These questions can help you determine if you two are truly aligned, and it could mean the difference between a difficult relationship or a marriage that’s (mostly) smooth sailing.
While you might know nearly all there is to know about your partner, the following topics are those that may matter most in a marriage. Addressing 4 major areas: finances, family, goals, and relationships, these questions will allow the two of you to dig deeper into these issues.
Note, these are great questions to ask a potential spouse, but I recommend reserving them for a serious, long-term relationship. You don’t want to be whipping out some of these questions on a second date!
This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of questions about marriage, family, and life, but it is a thorough starting point. Feel free to let these questions drive your discussions and spark further conversation.
Questions to Ask About Finances
Are you and your partner on the same page about money? This is one thing you will definitely want to have a conversation about, as it may prevent disagreements down the road. Experts show that money is one of the main issues that can cause tension and discord in a marriage. Here are some questions to ask in this arena:
Do you have debt?
You need to have a good grasp of your future spouse’s financial situation before joining them in marriage. This ensures you don’t become saddled with surprise debt should something happen to your spouse.
How do you plan to handle any current or future debt?
If your spouse has debt, that’s okay! What you want to talk about with them is their attitude toward debt? Are they nonchalant about it? Do they have a solid plan of action for getting out of the money pit?
Do you think married couples should share a bank account?
Do you plan to combine finances with your spouse? Whether or not you share bank accounts, it is inevitable that money will be something that you deal with as a couple. Keeping money completely separate may not be practical for most couples.
Do you keep a budget? How would you plan to manage one as a couple?
It’s never too early to talk about budgeting as a couple, particularly if you’ll be dealing with debts.
Do you use credit cards?
Will the two of you be a cash-only couple? This question might seem unimportant, but it can be a window into your potential husband or wife’s spending habits. You can also see if these are in agreement with your own habits.
Do you think couples should have a conversation before making any major purchases?
Do you need to confirm with your spouse before booking a family vacation or getting a new car? What amount constitutes a major purchase?
Are material possessions important to you?
Encourage your future spouse to be honest. If he or she just loves collecting clothing or spending lavishly on hobbies and entertainment, this is something that is very good to know. Conversely, if he or she is a miser who refuses to spend a dime on anything fun or luxurious, you need to know that as well.
How are your savings and spending habits?
This question goes deeper on the previous one, but also shows if this person has awareness of their own habits, and can indicate if they are able to admit any flaws.
Do you have money set aside for retirement?
Again, this question will give you an understanding of their financial situation.
How do bills get paid?
How do they get their bills paid now? Are they consistently on time? Who’s responsibility do they feel this should be in a marriage?
Are both spouses equally responsible for financial decisions?
Does one partner have the final say when it comes to making decisions? Or is this a shared responsibility?
Would you ever borrow money from friends or family if necessary?
How does your partner feel about borrowing from a family member? What about a close friend? This is a touchy subject for some, so it’s a great idea to discuss a future situation now.
Questions to Ask About Family and Children
Without a doubt, some of the most important questions to ask before marriage are those involving children. These questions will allow you to learn more about this person’s expectations when it comes to families, kids, and more. There are even more topics you could cover, including health, community, friendship, and more, so let the conversation flow.
Do you want kids? If yes, how many children would be ideal in our family?
Are their differences between you with the answer to this? This is one place in which you should make sure you’re in alignment.
How would you handle it if we have difficulty conceiving?
It is not always easy to get pregnant or to do so naturally. What does your future spouse think about this? How would they handle this situation? Follow-up questions : Are you open to alternative means of achieving pregnancy such as IVF? What are your feelings on adoption?
What style of discipline do you plan to take with your kids?
Many of us aren’t really sure how we plan to raise our children. If we haven’t had them yet, how do we know what’s best? If your partner has no idea about this topic, you could chat about their own childhood. What did they like about it? What did they dislike? What would they do differently?
Do you think children should be made to do household chores?
This can start off some conversations about household rules and expectations.
Do both the husband and wife share equal care for a baby? What about as a child grows older?
Here’s another very important topic. When that baby comes, who’s in charge? Communication about this can be vital, particularly in helping the two of you manage the future stress that is inevitably going to arise when the two of you become new parents.
What kind of education would you like your children to have?
Time to chat school, college, and more. What type of educational foundation do they desire for their child? Are they opposed to home-schooling? Private or public school?
Who manages the household? Do you believe in traditional gender roles?
Are partners 100% equal? Does your partner expect the wife to stay at home and the husband to head out to work? For many, this is one of the most important marriage questions to get out of the way.
What will your relationship be with your extended family members and in-laws?
How close is your partner with his parents? His extended family? This is a major part of life, and unfortunately, can lead to significant disagreement between spouses. That’s why you’re talking about your preferences now!
What is your preferred way to spend holidays?
For most of us, holidays are a time to spend with those we love and cherish. But each of us has ways we like to celebrate. Ask your partner what those are. Once you’re married, will they change? Are big family holidays important to them?