Questions to Ask Before You Say "I Do"
Questions to Ask Before You Say "I Do"
"Once we get married, everything will get better."
That's a lie.
Marriage doesn't inherently make things better — it just makes them more. Marriage is fertilizer; whatever is already there will likely increase. What's good becomes great, and what's bad becomes terrible. The annoying habits will become unbearable. The comfort becomes true peace. The pesky vices become debilitating hurdles, and the subtle virtues become resounding strengths. Selfishness becomes self-absorption (or worse), and affection becomes commitment, joy, respect, trust, and honor.
Due to the amplifying (or exacerbating) effects of marriage, it's utterly important that you attempt to understand what's at play and what you're working with before you get married. Below are a handful of questions that I think everyone should find answers to before they enter into the lifelong marital commitment.
Some of these questions and conversations will be easier than others, but they're all important. And, yes, some of them are deeply personal. But you're not bound by HIPAA or a confidentiality agreement, and you owe it to your collective future to find the unvarnished truth. Marriage is one of the most impactful decisions you will ever make. Don't let the fear of an awkward conversation keep you from fully vetting someone you're considering marrying. If you love your prospective spouse, you should do everything you can to ensure that they don't enter into what could become a disastrous marriage — even if it's with you.
Pre-Marital Worldview & Values Questions
- Do you share the same theological/religious beliefs?
- What are your religious values and practices?
- What do you use to define morality and "truth?"
- What are your political views?
- What laws do you consider to be unjust?
- How do you spend your free time?
- If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
- What are your highest priorities in life?
Pre-Marital Health & Lifestyle Questions
- Is there a history of addiction, abuse, or crime?
- Do you use alcohol, tobacco, or illegal substances?
- What's the mental health history for you and your families?
- How's your physical health?
- Are you currently taking prescription medication?
- What's your sexual history?
- Do you have STIs/STDs?
- Are your sexual expectations/interests aligned?
- If sex were not physically possible, would you still be interested in marriage?
- What about pornography?
- What about masturbation?
- What about marijuana?
Pre-Marital Social Questions
- How do you handle conflict?
- Who provides accountability for your lives, aside from either of you?
- Do you communicate well?
- Are you capable of establishing healthy boundaries with friends, family, coworkers, etc.?
- How do you celebrate holidays?
- What type(s) of people do you try to avoid?
Pre-Marital Financial & Vocational Questions
- What's your financial history?
- What financial debts/obligations do you have?
- What are your educational goals?
- What are your career goals?
- If money were no object, how would you spend your time?
- Where does your discretionary income go?
- If personal aid and/or provision were not possible, would you still be interested in marriage?
- Are you diligent?
- What's your work history?
- Do you intend to have a prenuptial agreement?
Pre-Marital Family Questions
- How are your relationships with your families?
- What are your reproductive hopes?
- If you intend to have kids, how do you hope they will be raised, educated, trained, etc.?
- What if infertility occurs?
- What about contraception?
- When should a married person pursue divorce?
- Is your ideal homelife structured or "free-spirited"?
- Where do you intend to live for the foreseeable future?
- Are you open to moving somewhere else?
Pre-Marital Character Questions
- Is there a history of demonstrative generosity and sacrificial altruism?
- What does "love" mean to you?
- What does "happiness" mean to you?
- What's the greatest hurt you've ever experienced and how did/does it impact you?
- What's your greatest fear/insecurity?
- Do you exercise self-control?
- What are your strengths, gifts, and weaknesses?
- What drives you?
- Are you honest?
Life is endlessly complex. Many of these questions don't have finite answers. Simply use these questions as a guide to compare and contrast your lives, better understand one another, and forecast longterm compatibility. Formal pre-marital counseling can be a great way to dive even further. And, if you're looking for a pre-marital book to read together to see if your marital principles align, I've got one for you.
Lastly, this is not a comprehensive list. I'm curious to know what additional questions you may find helpful. If you have suggestions, please leave them in the comments below. I may choose to incorporate some of them in the article above.