Two minutes after my fiancee asked me to marry him, I told him that marriage means “for life”. It doesn’t mean “trying to be happy”, but “working on it when it doesn’t work”.
Marriage is sacred to me, and I know that many people would laugh when I say that when we get married, I don’t plan getting divorced (but then… who does?). My opinion on marriage is too strong, but I have good reasons to be so.
First of all, years and years back in the days, when marriage was considered more serious than a death sentence, people didn’t have any other choice but to make things happen and work on their happiness in marriage. Sometimes it was possible, and sometimes it wasn’t.
Fortunately for us, nowadays we are allowed to choose our partners in life. And once we hit that point, we decided our choices can change, our priorities can be modified, and our promises can be broken.
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I am in my early 30s, and I have a good amount of mistakes behind my back. And each one of them made me stronger, more opinionated and more determined that if I say Yes to a man one day, this would be the first step to marriage, we will make work.
My fiancee already has a failed marriage behind his back. And that was his strongest motive to pop the question only when he meets a woman that would be fully “in it”.
Our story and hopes aren’t unique, and I know that many couples want the same things.
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Let’s take a closer look at important things in life
Ever noticed how so many people get married and a year or two after that they divorce? Do you wonder why?
What happens after we say “I do.”?
Well, there’s one answer to that: Life kicks in.
Nothing more and nothing less.
Let’s allow life to “kick in” before the marriage. Let’s talk about all the dirty stuff that happens after we get married. Let’s see if you have a chance at being happily married.
I’ve prepared 77 questions to ask yourselves before you step into the sacred union called marriage.
Money questions to ask before marriage
According to a Citibank Survey, 57% of the divorces happen because of money issues!
You don’t want to end as part of that statistic, do you?
Talking about money is harder than talking about intimacy! And that’s a fact!
But not for you two, right?
Having regular discussions about finances, family budgeting, spending routines and habits is a crucial point for you and your partner.
So, what should you ask your partner then?
1. Do you feel free to talk about money with your future spouse?
2. How often do you talk about money and how to spend them? Daily? Weekly? Monthly?
3. How much does your partner earn every month?
4. Do you have any debts? What is your partner’s attitude towards them?
5. Do you agree to accept your partner’s debts as yours?
6. Will you join your money or you’ll keep separate accounts?
7. How much of your income do you need for yourself monthly? Is your partner alright with that?
8. Are you happy with your partner’s spending habits?
9. Do you have a plan to cover your debts (if you have any)?
10. Does your partner know about this plan and does he/she support it?
11. Does your partner want to be included in this plan and to help you?
12. What would you do if one of you suddenly loses their job? Will you be able to react promptly in this situation?
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13. Have you talked about saving plan?
14. When you talk about money, do you receive clear answers to your questions?
15. Do you have any hobby that requires money monthly?
16. Is your partner aware of that? How does he/she feel about it?
17. Does your partner has a hobby/passion that requires money every month? How do you feel about it?
18. Are you willing to settle a budget for these hobbies?
19. Who will pay what bill in the house?
20. Will you be part of a charity payment?
21. Be honest and write down how much money you need monthly to cover your expenses. What is the difference between both of your current incomes? List 5 ways to improve it.
In case you have money issues and often argue about finances, I recommend “First Comes Love, Then Comes Money” by Scott and Bethany Palmer, an absolute bestseller and must-read for couples with money issues. I especially liked their approach that couples don’t have money problems; they have relationship problems. Couldn’t agree more than that.
Describe your dream home
Another part of the test about your relationship compatibility requires you to talk over your dreams. That’s one of the first conversations that usually happen.
However, are you serious about it?
We work hard while we are young so we could make our dreams come true. You better be deadly serious about your dreams or your everyday work is worth nothing.
So, your dreams…
22. Are they still the same as when you met?
23. How often do you talk over them? How much of your dream lives match?
24. Where do you want to live? A city or a small town?
25. Is it closer to the sea or the mountains?
26. Describe your dream-home – a house or a flat? Small or big? Are pets allowed?
27. How would your perfect day look like? Describe your routine from the moment you open your eyes to the moment you go to sleep in the evening.
Creating new lives
Family planning is indeed a topic you’ve talked over.
Or, have you?
You will be surprised how many couples I know that “talked about kids” before the marriage, and then it turned out – one of them wasn’t listening at all…
Here are the most critical questions you should match your opinion on:
28. Do you plan to have children? How many? When? (Please be specific with the time frame)
29. Who is going to stay at home to look after the children and who will bring the primary income in the house?
30. If you are the partner that will stay at home – Are you alright with postponing or giving up the career you have right now?
31. Have you talked about sending your children to college and the saving options for that? (It’s never too early!)
32. Does one of you support homeschooling or you prefer to send your children to a public/private school?
33. Please list the most important values you would like to teach your children. (Be as specific as possible)
34. If you two share different religions, what would be your children’s religion? Is the other partner alright with that? How about his parents?
Imagine your life with children. Although you could never plan these things so early, make a list of ways to find time for you and your spouse. (It might come handy very soon)
Relationship compatibility and values
The list below would highlight the most important benefits you are looking for in your partner.
35. Do you trust your partner completely with important decisions?
36. Does your partner keep their promises? If not – how often does that happen and are you willing to accept that fully?
37. Do you share the same beliefs? The same religion? If not, is that a problem for you or them?
38. What is your love language? If you are not aware of your love language, I recommend reading Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages. It’s life-changing material and will give a completely different perspective on your relationship and yourself too.
39. Please skip the next few questions, if you’re not sure what love language is and how to speak it.
40. What is your partner’s love language?
41. Please list five ways you show love to your partner according to his love language, not yours.
After that, list five ways you’d like your partner to show his love for you according to your language.
There is only one way to create a successful marriage and relationship: clear and honest communication.
Note, that every word is important here.
Clear communication is expressing yourself in an easy to understand way. You need to share your thoughts and ideas in a way your partner will understand you completely. You must have a clear vision of your idea when talking about it.
Honest communication means you will be open to your partner – you don’t hide or change anything, but stay honest when you don’t like something. The idea is to find a solution where both of you will feel happy, not one of you. Never ignore your feelings when something doesn’t give you a “good vibe”. Never ignore your partner’s feelings, even if you believe your decision is “the best possible decision ever”.
42. How would you rate your freedom of communication with your partner from 1 to 10?
One is if you feel like there’s no clear and honest communication between the two of you. Ten is when your communication is transparent, honest, open, and you feel like you could share every dirty little secret you have and still be completely understood. It’s normal not to feel like ten most of the time. Actually, ten could barely exist. However, it is a goal every couple should have.
43. Do you feel like you need to talk more or less is better?
44. Do you feel your partner listens and tries to understand you every time? What is his/her general feedback to you after an important conversation?
45. Do you listen to your partner when he talks?
46. When talking to your partner, do you feel pressured to always agree with them?
47. Do you think you have any toxic habit when communicating with your partner? (Such us: interrupting, raising your voice, doing something else during crucial conversation). That would be a question your partner answers for you and vice versa.
Friends, Family and Lifestyle
You know the truth… You don’t marry the person, but his all family.
Are you 100% sure your partner like the family/friends routine you already have?
Let me tell you about me and my partner’s social life.
I am almost an antisocial person. And I am not afraid to admit it. I love books, writing, staying home covered with a soft blanket, watching movies, etc.; I’m an introvert who loves being home. Too much social life gives me anxiety and ruins my inner peace. On the scale from 1 to 10 on “How social you are”, I am a firm 4 (occasionally I initiate going out).
My partner likes to be home too. However, his needs for social life are bigger than mine. He likes meeting new people, spending the Saturday and Sunday afternoons with friends and family. On the scale from 1 to 10, he is 8.
Can you see the problem?
If I were to listen to my desires, I would hardly go out on the weekend with someone else than him. I would rarely attend a barbecue, and most certainly won’t host such in our garden.
If he were making plans by himself, he would visit friends and family at least 4 times a week. He would enjoy a barbecue in our garden every sunny Sunday and never feel overwhelmed by it.
We’ve found our balance in the situation. I consider myself lucky as his family is full of amazing big-hearted people who enjoy intelligent conversations and never have chit-chats (for the sake of speaking, no matter what).
Occasionally I won’t feel people-friendly (don’t laugh, we all fight our demons) and we would either skip the meetup or we’ll keep it shorter. When I feel overwhelmed, I would always share it and will meet understanding. We would always get to a compromise that suits us both (not just me, as you might think 🙂 )
This is what I mean when I ask you the questions about your social life.
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Check them below:
48. How do you like to spend your days off? Do you prefer to have quiet evenings with your partner or you’re always up for a party? If it’s something in the middle, which one you’d like to focus more on – one of them must hold a more significant percentage.
49. From the scale of 1 to 10, how social do you think you are? (1 is “totally unsocial”, and 10 is “all about the social life all the freaking time”)
50. Now, do the same for your partner – How social he is in your eyes? Be honest with that one as it might save you future problems.
51. Are you happy with the friends/family routine you two have developed? If not, what would you like to change? Be honest and don’t judge.
52. Have you talked about where and how to spend the holidays with your families? Are you going to gather everyone together or will travel between the houses?
53. How much time do you spend with your family? Are you happy with it and if not, how can you change it?
54. How much time do you spend with your partner’s family? Are you comfortable with it and if not, why not? Is there anything you would like to change?
55. Do you feel accepted in your future spouse’s friends’ circle?
56. Do you feel accepted in your future spouse’s family’s circle?
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Housework and chores questions to ask
Every day of your life as a family is going through boring stuff like cooking and cleaning.
If you live together, then you have already developed a routine. Briefly go through the questions; they could initiate a conversation on how happy you are with the routine. Even if you, personally, feel like everything’s perfect, show respect to your partner and ask them if that’s the case with them too.
I am not going to pretend that this section is not more women-friendly. That’s the case only if the lady in the relationship is usually the one who does most (if not all) of the house chores. However, how comfortable she is with it and is there anything she secretly would like to change.
Another story you might find helpful…
A few days ago, I heard a wife complaining about her spouse. She was fine doing everything around the house for years. However, after having their first child, she now feels like everything’s exhausting, takes all of her time, and she needs help. Her partner, though, firmly refuses to provide this help around the house with many different excuses, such as: that’s how he’s been brought up, and he cannot change; he brings the money home so his part of “the deal” is done, that’s not the way things were till now, why change, etc.
I have a different post regarding this specific situation coming up, so if it’s something you’d like to hear more about pop in your details below and let’s be friends.
With that in mind, I believe you understand why I had to list the questions to ask before marriage below. Don’t make this lady’s mistake to think that if the situation makes you happy now, it will make you happy forever. It takes years and years to know someone fully, so you, today, still don’t understand how your partner will react in 100% of the cases.
Therefore, it’s good to ask yourself and him the questions below:
57. Do you have agreement one of you to do most of the work around the house?
58. Are you going to split the duties between the two of you?
59. What is the housework you hate to do?
60. What is it that you like or certainly don’t mind to do around the house?
61. Are you willing to help your partner if he/she is the one that does the majority of work? Can you back it up with examples?
62. Are you alright with taking over the house chores for a more extended period if needed? (in case of a newborn in the family, the other’s illness or just busy life)
So, Why Do You Get Married?
63. If you eliminate the reason “I love you”, what’s left? Why do you want to marry your partner?
64. Do you have problems you hope the marriage could fix?
65. What do you believe the marriage would give you that you don’t have now?
66. Does any part of you believes that getting married is the only logical step after certain circumstances? (such as pregnancy, being together for too many years, etc.)
68. Do you feel loved more than at the beginning of your relationship?
69. Imagine the most ordinary and nothing-special day you two had so far. If your life together was built from days just like that one, would you still want to spend your life with this person?
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Final questions to ask before you get married – ALERT! Most important ones!
These final questions to ask before marriage are the most important, and I suggest you take a deep breath and think for a while before answering. All of them require only one answer and makes all of the questions above finally make sense.
70. Do you feel prepared to commit yourself to so serious, wonderful, yet difficult journey as marriage?
71. Are you ready to be 100% in, even when this 100 % is only the full 20% you feel today?
72. Are you ready to forgive mistakes? Are you ready to accept you will make mistakes?
73. Are you ready to follow when needed and lead when you must lead?
74. Are you aware that you know nothing about how to sustain a happy marriage?
75. And yet are you willing not only to “give it a go” but to “make it happen”?
76. Are you ready to not be in love but to Love … even when it’s really, really hard?
77. And as scared as you feel after realising how important marriage is, are you ready to do it anyway? Are you ready to get married?
Mentioned “Happy Marriage” resources in the article:
1. First Comes Love, Then Comes Money
2. Getting Over Getting Mad
3. The Five Love Languages