When you’re in a relationship and your partner asks you to marry most people get overwhelmed with emotions and the best they can master is a teary “yes”. What follows is month of planning the wedding. Picking venues, finding the perfect dress, deciding on the theme of the party and what catering to get. All of that is great, but it’s often gets in the way of discussing the really important things, like your core values, worldview and plans for the future and whether or not they coincide. Here’s a handy list of questions to ask your fiancé before you get married.
1. Do you want kids?
It’s a big one. Sure, at the moment you both might not want kids, but what about the future? Do both of you agree to talk about it again in 5 years? Perhaps you already know that along the line you do want kids, but what if your partner doesn’t? What if it’s a hard pass for him? You can’t just hope their opinions will change with time.
2. Are you compatible as roommates?
It’s one thing if you just stay over at each other’s places for a night or two, but once you start living together – it’s a whole another story. Who cooks? Who cleans? How do you decorate your place and who takes care of the pet? Do you even get a pet? Do your sleep and work schedules coincide? All these things might seem small right now, but in the future they might become causes for huge arguments and even a divorce, so talk it out now.
3. Where do you stand with each other’s families?
You don’t have to be best friends with their mom or dad, but being in a good relationship with each other’s families is important. You will inevitably have to see them from time to time, and during the holidays, so you now, if you can’t stand the sight of them it’ll definitely put a strain on your marriage.
4. How much alone time do both of you need?
Right now you might think that spending all your time together is a great idea. But realistically, you don’t actually spend all your time together right now. So think about it. Perhaps you need a day to yourself? Or maybe your partner considers gym his alone time and doesn’t want you joining him? Maybe it’s even something as simple as having coffee in the morning in silence, and maybe your partner just wakes up wanting to talk right away. All these things matter in the long run and you need to discuss these preferences with each other before so it doesn’t make you resent each other when one of you is at home waiting for the other, while they’re out with friends, having their weekly night out.
5. What are your plans it terms of travel?
A lot of people think of marriage as settling down. And while for some that just means settling down with one person, for other it means settling down in one place. This is something that needs to be discussed early on. What if you want to travel the world and live in every country or city for a bit, while your partner just wants to buy a house and finally have some sort of stability in their life.
6. How do you feel about keeping up appearances?
In an ideal world we’d all like to look great all the time. However, the truth is we don’t look awesome all the time. We try harder at the beginning of a relationship or marriage, but eventually we all just want to be comfortable. How do you feel about your partner spending an entire day in sweatpants, or not shaving for a while? Weight gain is a common problem, how much would it bother you? How do you discuss this without hurting their feelings? All these are better discussed in advance than in the heat of the moment.
7. What do you expect in the bedroom?
Not only is it important what your partner likes, but also what do you like and how to communicate that to your partner. You don’t want to be 5 years into your marriage and still struggle to say that you don’t actually enjoy that thing they do. Plus, having waited that long to talk about sexual preferences makes it even more awkward in the end. You need to be clear about this stuff, because, in the end, your pleasure is on the line.
8. What are each of you willing to give up?
This sounds scary but it doesn’t have to be. Imagine a scenario where your partner gets a new awesome job in a different country or just a different city. Would you be willing to drop everything and move with them? Same goes for kids, who do you expect to take care of them. Which one of you will give up their professional life for a while to raise them? Or will you have a babysitter?
9. Do you understand each other’s love language?
This might sound corny, but that book about 5 love languages rings true in most cases. We all interpret love in different way. Some of us see affection and cuddles as the best way to show their love, others prefer presents. Some of us couldn’t give a damn about flowers, but washing dishes, dusting or vacuuming and other acts of service the best way to show you really love them. We’re not saying you have to both speak the same love language, but you do have to learn and understand each other’s.
10. Is this more than just love?
You might think “what’s more than love?”. Isn’t love the most important thing? Well… for a marriage… you really do need more. You need to like each other, compliment each other in ways that will make living together not only agreeable but actually joyous. Respect is important, so if your partner has certain beliefs that you don’t quite believe yourself – you have to learn to respect and accept them, not just dismiss them. Can you actually live together? How about working together? Can you come to mutual decisions and agreements or are you not a fan of compromise? In the end, you want to enjoy your marriage, not just tolerate it.