If you are in a serious relationship that might soon lead to marriage, here are a few questions you will want to ask your partner before running off to city hall. While they aren’t the easiest questions, you will be thankful you asked them now rather than after marriage. For both people involved, it is often easier to say what you think your partner wants to hear to avoid arguing, but both people need to be extremely honest and open. Honesty and trust are part of the foundation of a stable marriage, and you need to have that stability before exchanging those vows.
What About Exes
If one of the partners has been in serious relationships in the past, they must have completely moved on and are fully committed to this relationship. There shouldn’t be any ongoing comparisons with previous exes nor should the other partner feel insecure or jealous that their partner has been with other people. The fact is, there have been relationships and a life before this one, but this is where you are now and as a couple, you need to learn from the past but keep moving forward.
Do You Want Kids?
You definitely need to be on the same page on this topic. If one person is strongly opposed to children while the other is strongly in favor, this should automatically be a red flag. If you both want children, how many? One might be enough for one partner while the other is hoping for a full soccer team. In general, what roles will you both play in parenting? Is it about equality where both are willing to do their equal share of the dirty work, literally, or is it more traditional with one person taking on the role as the main caregiver and the other as the breadwinner. Know your partner's expectations and see if they are lined up with yours.
How Do We Want to Raise Our Family in Terms of Religion?
This is for couples who have two different religious backgrounds where neither plan on converting to the other. While it may be easy to avoid while in the dating stage, if you want to have children, you need to discuss how you plan on raising your children religiously. What type of education will they have? Which religion will they practice? What religious holidays will they celebrate? You both need to be united in how you would like to raise your family religiously as this will only get more difficult down the road if it is swept under the carpet.
Is My Debt, Your Debt?
While not the most romantic discussion to have, talking about finances and debt is important. Are you keeping your finances separately or are you amalgamating them? Does that also translate to debt that one partner may have as well? What are you feeling about self-sufficiency? If there is one partner who makes substantially more than the other, will you need to adjust your budget accordingly?
What Are Your Spending Habits?
This is something that may not come across as important, especially in the dating stage. But when married, spending habits on either side will affect the other person. One way to quickly gauge if you are similar in financial caution and risk is by asking each other if you won $10,000 how would you spend it? Or ask how much they are willing to spend on a car. You will quickly know if you this is an area that needs to be addressed.
While the above tend to be the basic questions that most relationship counselors may ask, there are other unconventional questions that can be quite revealing. One question to ask one another is how much alone time do you need? While you may love spending time with each other, there may be one person who needs to have personal time. If the other partner doesn’t realize this, they may take offense to them not wanting to spend time together.
Another question is, what are your thoughts on supporting your parents as they age? Many people are now in the “sandwich generation” meaning, they will have both dependent children living at home and dependent parents that need to be cared for. Are you going to be financially responsible for them?
While there is room for compromise in all of these areas, don’t go against your value system. This discussion may be hard, but it is essential and will make your next step in the relationship that much easier.