9 Critical Questions To Ask Before Getting Married That Will Make Or Break Your Relationship
Long-lasting love doesn’t just happen because the two of you are hot for each other and get along well. You want to be on the same page when it comes to the essential things in life. But how do you know you’re on the same page? What are the questions to ask before getting married that can help the two of you navigate life together?
If your current relationship is moving towards a nuptial, it’s imperative to discover if the two of you can stand the test of time and grow together rather than apart.
Life will inevitably throw you curveballs, and you’ll always have unexpected challenges that come your way whether you’re coupled up or not. How the two of you navigate difficulties will determine whether your relationship can survive stormy seas.
Chemistry and shared interests are what bring the two of you together initially, but these are not enough when things really go south, like when your in-laws are getting in between the two of you. Or when the bills pile up unexpectedly and you disagree on how to handle them. Or when one of you has different needs sexually and you can’t communicate about it.
A few deep, meaningful conversations about what’s important won’t protect you from every situation you may face once married, however, you’ll have a framework to make better decisions together if you are an ideal match for the long term.
So, what are the questions to ask before getting married? Looking at the most important areas with potential problems can give you a structure to get started.
9 Critical Questions To Ask Before Getting Married That Will Make Or Break Your Relationship
When pondering these questions there are a few things to consider. Discussing hypothetical situations will not reveal what someone values. Instead, focus on sharing why something is important to you. You can always negotiate how you handle a situation when it arises, but if your why’s are in conflict you can end up in a power struggle.
The key to a lasting marriage is to have the majority of the same values. You will have different strategies for handling stress, or for accomplishing specific tasks. If you share the same values you can always find your way back to being on the same page.
When your different strategies bump up against each other defer to one another’s strengths to avoid a power struggle and a fight cycle. A healthy marriage is based on respecting each other’s differences and giving your partner the space to shine in their genius and talents.
Here are the essential questions to ask before getting married that can help the two of you plan for and navigate a life together.
How Do You Feel About Children?
Do you both want children? How will you handle raising them? Will the children be raised with a particular religion? Will you both work, or will one of you be the breadwinner and the other a stay-at-home parent? How will you handle fertility challenges? If you have children of your own from a previous relationship, how much do you want your partner involved in raising them? How important are education and college?
Many marriages have conflicts due to differing beliefs and values about how to raise children. Share with each other how you were raised and what is most important to you about how you would like your children to be raised. If one of you is more comfortable being the disciplinarian, then defer to them when children misbehave. These are questions to ask before getting married, so you can co-parent together and have assigned roles. With clear parental roles, you won’t undermine each other, or teach your children to manipulate you to get their way.
How Do You Handle Money?
Will you have shared bank accounts, or will you keep them separate? What about a prenup? Are you a saver or a spender? What are your desires for retirement? Do you each have debt and how would you like to handle those debts?
Money can be a difficult subject to discuss openly. Full disclosure before getting married will give the two of you a head start to create financial plans and have harmony instead of discord. These are questions to ask before getting married so there are no surprises after the fact.
How Important Is Sex?
Do you expect sex several times a week or even daily? What are your fantasies and desires about your sex life? Do you have any kinks you’d like to explore? Are you interested in opening up your relationship or is non-monogamy a deal breaker?
A healthy sex life with open communication will keep the spice alive between the two of you for decades. But if sex becomes less of a priority to one of you, or you find your interest straying, or if issues with performance arise, having some agreements gives you a foundation for handling these sticky situations. Having these discussions before getting married will allow you to rekindle the spark between you when the desire for physical intimacy ebbs and you can get in the flow again. Taking the time to create a safe space to share how you feel and ask for what you want will pay off down the road.
What Is Your Relationship With Your Family?
What did you like and dislike about how your parents raised you? How will you spend your holidays? How did your family deal with disagreements? Will in-laws have any input toward how you live your life together?
When you marry someone, you are marrying into their family and their traditions. Understanding each other’s expectations about family gatherings, holidays, grandchildren, birthdays, etc. will help you negotiate any differing dynamics and expectations. There is no guarantee you will get along with your in-laws but having a clear picture of what is expected of you will help.
What Are Your Spiritual and Political Beliefs?
Do you believe in God? Do you follow a specific religion or spiritual path? What are your political beliefs? What are your beliefs about what it means to be a human in the world? How do you think society should function? Do you require that your partner has the same beliefs in these areas as you, or are you okay with differing views? Are you able to respect any differing beliefs?
You don’t have to be on the same page about God, politics, or life in general, but you do have to be able to respect any difference. If it is important that you’re both in the same political party, vote the same way, or attend a particular church, temple, or spiritual center, then these expectations must be shared before you say, “I do.” These are questions to ask before getting married so you can avoid fighting with your partner about core beliefs.
What Is Your Relationship History?
Is this your first serious relationship or have you experienced a lot of heartbreak? How many people have you been intimate with (and does it matter to your partner)? Who usually ends your relationships? What are your biggest frustrations with past partners?
Your partner had a life before they met you. And this past informs who they are now and what is important to them. Compassion begins with understanding. When you understand where your partner is coming from you can have compassion for the wounds they carry from the past (and vice versa). You don’t want the rug pulled out from under you when you suddenly discover that your partner’s “friend” on social media is actually their ex. There is no right or wrong way to have walked the path of your life, however, keeping secrets from your mate can create tension so be willing to hear with compassionate ears. Better to find out now than later after you’ve already been married.
What Are Your Wants, Needs, And Deal Breakers?
Are there things you require to feel loved and safe? Do you need your partner to have your back or to hold you when you’re upset? How do you like to be treated when you are sick or feeling down? Do you want to be left alone or do you like to be pampered? Is there a deal breaker your future spouse ought to know about?
Your partner is not a mind reader. They will have different needs and different strategies for life than you do. Instead of assuming that they know what you need or want, make a request and ask for your needs to be met. If they aren’t willing to meet your needs, then maybe it’s not a good match long-term. These are questions to ask before getting married so you can avoid years of feeling angry and resentful.
How Do You Navigate Your Personal Time?
Is it important that you share the same interests and hobbies? Is autonomy important to you? What about alone time? How do you like to recharge when you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed?
Whether you like to retreat to your cave when you need to refuel or want to be able to share all of the details of your day with your spouse, how you navigate your personal time together (or apart) determines whether love will last. You don’t have to have the same strategies, but when you understand each other you can support each other and avoid unnecessary conflicts.
What Are Your Future Goals?
Do you want to travel the world? Focus on having children right away? Are you a personal growth junkie? Or are you comfortable with things as they are? Where do you see the two of you ten years from now? What does your ideal retirement look like, and where?
For a successful marriage, you don’t have to have the same interests in life. Your partner can compete in all the triathlons they want, while you sit at home and binge your favorite TV show. However, you’ll want to be going in the same direction in life. You can’t grow apart if you share the same vision of your life together. These are questions to ask before getting married that reveal how you can build a life together, instead of growing apart.
If you don’t address these questions before you’re married, you will be forced to address them afterward. And you don’t want to discover that you are too different to work things out in the long run. Don’t assume that your future spouse has the same vision of marriage as you do. Ask questions and be curious before getting married. You can work out all the logistics and day-to-day stuff once you’ve settled into married life together.
Relationships have a natural ebb and flow to them. Knowing the progressive stages that a relationship goes through and how to navigate them gives you the confidence to know that your marriage will last. Get the details in our special report, The 5 Stages of Relationship so you’re prepared for the journey and have the kind of relationship that everyone knows will stand the test of time.
About the authors
Orna and Matthew Walters are soulmate coaches and prolific writers about love. Finding love, keeping love, healing from heartbreak, bringing in your beloved and more. They have been published on MSN, Yahoo!, YourTango, Redbook, and have been featured guest experts on BRAVO’s THE MILLIONAIRE MATCHMAKER with Patti Stanger, and as guests with Esther Perel speaking about love and intimacy.