Questions to Ask Your Partner Before Marriage
Relationships have their fair share of agreements and arguments. At their start, it’s easy to be on your best behavior, showing all the highlights. However, it’s crucial to go over some high-value questions before marriage. Though they’re not the most fun topics to bring up, sitting your partner down to have these conversations could prevent a future divorce, and also has the potential to bring you closer together. Let’s dive in!
1) Will we be joining our finances? If so, how?
Finances are one of the leading causes of divorce in the United States. According to Forbes, 37% of divorces are attributed to financial problems. Asking about any current debt, spending habits, and budgets in place is a good starting point. Disclosure of accounts is a personal decision, but refraining from sharing this information can cause tension in a marriage. Are you comfortable sharing joint credit and opening a joint account, or do you prefer having separate accounts for certain reasons? Diving into these topics prevents future confusion.
2) Do we both want children in the future? If there are children already in the picture, what will parenting look like?
Though you may think this topic would have come up by this time, oftentimes it is only in a cheeky way. Partners may envision their future together differently. Before marriage, discuss starting a family and how your parenting styles may differ or align. Do you have the financial stability needed? Would your roles change in your home after having a child? If you already have children and are bringing them into the marriage, what do you expect your partner’s role in your child’s life to look like?
3) Who takes on which tasks?
As simple as it sounds, clearing up this topic from the get-go can be extremely beneficial in a marriage. Who does what? Some people have expectations that the other partner will complete certain tasks because that’s what they were used to in past relationships, or that’s how the system worked in their household growing up. This isn’t true for everyone! Be open-minded and sit down with your partner to “make the rules”. It may be easiest to make a list of every task from small household chores to larger ones. Start with claiming the tasks you each may enjoy doing or prefer to do yourself. Then go down and volunteer until the list is complete. Of course, the barter system is always helpful too. “I will do dishes tonight if I get a back rub” seems to work best. Designating who does what helps with accountability.
4) How do we best resolve conflict?
This is a tough one if the conversation has not been had before conflict arises. Each person deals with conflict in their own way. Do you anger easily? Do you need ways to cope and release tension? Do you prefer to talk it out and get it over with or calm down first and revisit later? Do you do well under stress? Do you experience anxiety with decision-making? These are all valid questions when creating a way that you both agree is helpful to resolve conflict.
5) Is there any personal history that needs to be addressed before moving forward with a healthy marriage?
Waiting until after marriage to share information about your past that might be necessary for your partner to know is not a smart move. Bring the skeletons out of the closet, deal with them if necessary, and then move on. You and your partner both deserve a communicative relationship. If there has been an issue with gambling or overspending, any sort of criminal activity, addictive tendencies, or drug/alcohol use, this should be a topic covered prior to tying the knot.
6) Would a prenuptial agreement be beneficial?
Financial experts consider a prenuptial agreement a smart strategy for many couples. Instead of the “one foot out the door” thought process of the past, we have seen clients discover that it is actually a document that both partners can find beneficial. We wrote a
blog post on this topic. Check it out here: https://www.sessumspa.com/2022/08/5- reasons-to-consider-a-prenuptial-agreement/
7) What are your expectations when it comes to alone time/privacy?
Do you thrive in social settings, but recharge with alone time? Do you need space or enjoy spending leisure time with your partner? What are limitations when it comes to spending time apart? Discuss this topic to help each other feel balanced and cared for.
8) What are your non-negotiables?
This is a wonderful question to navigate before entering a marriage. It’s very healthy to know your own non-negotiable and you might be shocked to find out your partner’s. Non-negotiable could be something like each having your own passions/hobbies, certain holidays spent with family to keep up tradition, and shared goals for the future.
They could also be very specific things tidbits mean a lot to you or them. Understanding these important core values is good to cover before marriage.