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15 Questions to Ask Before Marriage


Questions Couples Should Ask (Or Wish They Had) Before Marrying. — New York Times, 20061217su

Relationship experts report that too many couples fail to ask each other critical questions before marrying. Here are a few key ones that couples should consider asking:

  • Have we discussed whether or not to have children, and if the answer is yes, who is going to be the primary care giver?
  • Do we have a clear idea of each other’s financial obligations and goals, and do our ideas about spending and saving mesh?
  • Have we discussed our expectations for how the household will be maintained, and are we in agreement on who will manage the chores?
  • Have we fully disclosed our health histories, both physical and mental?
  • Is my partner affectionate to the degree that I expect?
  • Can we comfortably and openly discuss our sexual needs, preferences and fears?
  • Will there be a television in the bedroom?
  • Do we truly listen to each other and fairly consider one another’s ideas and complaints?
  • Have we reached a clear understanding of each other’s spiritual beliefs and needs, and have we discussed when and how our children will be exposed to religious/moral education?
  • Do we like and respect each other’s friends?
  • Do we value and respect each other’s parents, and is either of us concerned about whether the parents will interfere with the relationship?
  • What does my family do that annoys you?
  • Are there some things that you and I are NOT prepared to give up in the marriage?
  • If one of us were to be offered a career opportunity in a location far from the other’s family, are we prepared to move?
  • Does each of us feel fully confident in the other’s commitment to the marriage and believe that the bond can survive whatever challenges we may face?

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26 Sep 2023 — Commentary

People feel driven to rationalize, justify, and defend big life decisions such as the purchase of a certain home, the purchase of a specific car, having children, or marriage. These decisions and choices often come down to an emotional choice not based on scientific facts or rational data.

We can have a practical list for buying a car, but still end up getting the small red convertible or buying a vehicle that’s way too big and not fuel efficient.

The last question in the list above about surviving challenges is possibly the most important. Many of the other questions in the above list are almost misleading in their simplicity and short-term relevance. They may be helpful talking points, but it’s important to realize that things change.

What the questions really need to be asking about is your level of resilience to change — change of others, and your own changes. Perhaps you were someone who didn’t want a TV in the bedroom, then you decide you do want a TV in the bedroom.

When you have a pair of glasses, you don’t spend the day looking at them. You look through them. A relationship isn’t something we look at. It’s something we look at the world through and from. You job may change. Your home may change. New friends may come and old friends go.

Don’t ask, “As long as every little detail of our lives stays the same, can I continue loving this person?” You’re setting yourselves up for a failure. We should think about who we want in our lives not just during smooth sailing, but storms and difficult times.

Document History

This post was created on 27 Feb 2008 to share the NYT article excerpt from 17 Dec 2006. On 26 Sep 2023, the layout was updated with the WordPress Block layout, and a commentary was added.

By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson is a freelance writer and tech consultant in Iowa City. He is also the founder and Director of the ResourcesForLife.com website. Learn more at AboutGregJohnson.com