Marriage is a big step in a relationship. It requires just as much emotional preparation as it does physical preparation (moving, wedding plans, etc.). Whether you’re already engaged or thinking of making that next move, you need to make sure you and your partner are on the same page. Here are seven important questions to ask before marriage.
Do You Want to Have Children?
The desire to have children can be a make or break moment in a relationship. If one person wants children and the other doesn’t, this can create a lifetime of conflict. The person who wants children may resent the other person for not creating a family. The person who does not want children may resent the pressure to have them. Your values and opinions may change over time, but you need to be prepared in case they do not. Do you have the same family plans, or will that become an issue later in your marriage?
How Important Is Your Family to You?
Is your partner close to his family? Are you close to yours? If you both have strong ties to your families, how will you split your time for holidays? Is it important for you to get along with your partner’s parents, and vice versa? This string of questions may come about once you begin discussing family bonds, and all of this information will help you make plans for marriage.
How Important Are Your Religious Beliefs to You?
If you have different religions, you need to know how to balance your time and faith. Will you be comfortable going to different places of worship? Will one of you convert? If you share the same religion, does one person feel more strongly about it than the other? Can you find compromise in your beliefs? Once again, these are fundamental elements that will dictate the nature of your marriage.
How Will We Handle Bills and Debts?
Some couples split all bills 50/50. Others create a balance that is proportional to their incomes. The same can be said about debts. Will you agree to pay your separate debts going into the marriage, or will you take responsibility for each other’s debts? Financial disagreements are some of the leading causes of conflict in marriages, and one of the biggest reasons for divorce. Having a financial plan now will prevent struggles in the future.
Where Do You See Us Living in 5 Years? 10 Years? Forever?
If you want to stay in your home town but your husband wants to live abroad, you’re going to have conflicts in the future. There is no true way to predict where you will be in the future, but you need to get a general idea of your plans. If an opportunity comes up to move, will you take it? And if so, what will the cost of that decision be?
What Did You Like and Dislike about Your Former Relationships?
You need to know what ended your partner’s former relationships, and what made them last as long as they did. This question is not meant to make you feel jealous or competitive. Rather, it is meant to give you a guideline for your relationship. Avoid mistakes from the past and make improvements as needed.
What Is Your Love Language? (And Do You Know Mine?)
Everyone expresses and receives love in a different way. This is known as your “love language.” You need to understand your spouse’s love language so you can communicate your feelings effectively. Your spouse must do the same for you. Here is a brief example of each love language:
- Receiving Gifts: Expressing affection through physical gifts.
- Words of Affirmation: Expressing affection through spoken word. (I love you, I appreciate you, I value you, etc.)
- Acts of Service: Expressing affection through thoughtful actions
- Quality Time: Expressing affection with undivided attention.
- Physical Touch: Expressing affection through physical touch.
Discuss the way you perceive love and how your spouse receives love in return. This will give you a firm foundation to build communication on.
If you are interested in premarital counseling in Michigan, call Heron Ridge Associates at (734) 454-3560. We will put you in touch with an experienced couples counselor near you.