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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 (like these 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.
48 Important Questions to Ask Before Marriage
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.
Read Next: 7 Things People in Happy Relationships Don’t Do
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.
Read this next: 11 Things to Talk About Before Having Kids
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.
Read Next: What a Wife Needs from Her Husband
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?
How often would you want to see your extended family? Mine?
Get specific with your married questions: will your mother-in-law be over your house constantly? Will having your own mother over frequently become a point of contention for your spouse?
Do you want pets?
Definitely not a make-or-break item, it’s still helpful in understanding your potential spouse’s vision for their future.
Do you have a belief in any religion?
Beliefs and faith are a hugely important topic to discuss with your fiancé. What role will spirituality play in your life together, if any?
Do you intend to raise your kids with a particular religion?
Will you seek out a church community? What values and beliefs would you hope to instill in your children?
Do you think problems in the marriage or family should be discussed with other relatives?
A family member or best friend can be helpful for weighing in on concerns, but many people like to keep others out of their personal affairs. Discussing these boundaries together can be a great idea.
Questions to Ask About Goals and Dreams
Before you tie the knot, get to know what it is your partner really wants out of life. After all, you will be one another’s biggest support. It’s good to know what each of you hopes for.
How do you tackle obstacles in your life? In a relationship?
What do you do when things get tough? This is a good window into your partner’s tenacity.
Where would you like to spend vacations, whether as a couple or as a family?
Part of a relationship is enjoying leisure time together. What type of experience does he or she most love?
Do you feel like you value experiences over things?
Your partner’s answer may reveal deeper insight into their perspective on living.
Read Next: The Ultimate List of Real Relationship Goals
How do you envision your life in five years? Ten years?
This gives you each a chance to discuss your overarching goals and dreams. This is a great window into one another’s values, too.
Do you believe in giving regularly to charity or volunteering your time?
Speaking of values, how does your potential spouse feel about giving back to the community? Is giving financially to charities something they prioritize?
What expectations and goals do you have for your career?
Talking career goals is of the utmost importance. For some of us, our jobs and career plans are one of our main priorities. Additional questions might be: What is your dream job? What would you be willing to sacrifice to obtain it?
Where do you want to live?
A basic query, but a very important one. Make sure your visions align at least a little bit.
What impact do you want to have on the world?
What would you say is your overall goal for your life? How do you want to be remembered after death? What do you want your legacy to be? These kinds of questions provide excellent insight into understanding one another’s values.
Questions to Ask About Marriage and Relationships
Some of the questions to ask before marrying someone are about the very institution of marriage itself.
What do you think marriage means?
What does it mean to be married? When you commit to a person in this way, do you believe it is forever? What is the significant of getting married?
What marriage vows are most important to you?
What promises does your partner most value.
Do you think your marriage should be the top priority in your life?
Will your relationship be your #1 priority? Should it be? What about children? These are great points to discuss.
What do you do when you’re not feeling “in love?”
Love isn’t always a feeling and after many years together, you might not feel so in love. What will you do then? How will you react?
How will you handle problems in our relationship?
What about bumps on the road of love? How do you solve conflict? Chances are you might already know this about your partner, but there’s always more room to discuss communication in a relationship.
What’s your view on divorce?
No one wants to talk about their marriage ending, but this can be something that makes sense to come to terms with.
Read Next: 6 Things to Do to Strengthen Your Marriage Every Day
Would you be open to therapy if our marriage needed it?
You want to know now that your spouse would be willing to fight for your marriage. An openness to seeing a relationship therapist can be very enlightening.
How would you handle it if one of us was diagnosed with a major illness?
Another thing that no one wants to call to mind: illness or tragedy. But those in happy marriages know that being open and honest about these issues is essential.
Do you think sex changes after marriage?
Talking about your sex life is super important in identifying your expectations, attitudes, and desires.
How do you think we could keep intimacy and romance alive?
After the wedding night is over, it can sometimes be work to keep a married sex life exciting and novel. Ask your potential husband or wife what he or she thinks about this topic.
What are your views on infidelity?
What constitutes infidelity? Are their limits or boundaries? And most importantly, how will you avoid it?
What doubts and fears do you have about marriage?
It’s normal to have fear about such a life-changing partnership. Anxiety about relationships, marriage, and more is so common. Encourage your mate to be open with you about the negative feelings they’re experiencing, too. Together, you’ll head into marriage with more deeply connected hearts.
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Amy Hartle is the author of Do You Love Me? How To Stop Seeking Reassurance in Relationships, a book on reassurance seeking and relationship anxiety. Both her book and this blog are born of personal experience; Amy shares expert relationship advice from the lessons learned during her own 10+ years with her husband, as well as couples travel tips and romantic getaway recommendations, all gleaned while traveling the world together.