If you’re considering marriage or already planning your wedding, you might think you know everything about your partner. You love the idea of being together forever and might even already live together. But there are some important questions to ask before marriage that you might not have considered.
You already know that you’re compatible in a lot of ways: you’re both close with your families, you both prefer to stay in on Saturday nights, and both of you love Thai food. But it’s important to consider your compatibility on more serious topics, too. Are you saving money for retirement? If you have children, are you going to share diaper duty? And if your parents fell ill, would you take them into your home?
It might sound like a lot to discuss, but if this is the person you’re planning to spend the rest of your life with, these are important questions to ask before getting married that you need to consider.
1. Why do you want to get married?
Start with an easy one. If your partner struggles to come up with an answer to this question, it’s probably a sign that you don’t need to ask the rest of them.
2. What are your thoughts on having children?
Don’t let your partner leave it at “yes, I want to have children” or “no, I don’t want to have children.” How many children do they want to have? When do they want to have them? Are they prepared for the possibilities of infertility problems? What type of parents do they want to be?
3. Do you have any issues with my family?
And what role do you see them playing in our lives? You don’t have to be best friends with your in-laws, but you do have to be able to tolerate them being part of your life. If either of you has any issues with them now, it’s best to acknowledge them ASAP.
4. How will we handle conflict and rough patches?
Ideally, you already have a game plan for how to handle conflict now. But make sure it’s solid and that you’ll both stick to it for years to come.
5. What role does religion play in your life?
And what role do you want (or not want) it to play at your wedding ceremony?
6. Are you in any debt?
Do you have good credit? What’s your salary? What’s our budget? It’s important that you know where each other’s finances stand before you merge households. It’s also important that your spending habits are compatible. If one of you is frugal and the other is more reckless with your money, it might not be a big deal over brunch, but it will be when it’s time to make big financial decisions.
7. How open about our relationship are we with others?
Set ground rules about privacy. If there are some things you’d rather your partner not share with their friends, family, or co-workers, make it known now, and make sure you’re on the same page.
8. How will we divide household chores?
If you already live together, you’ve gotten a taste of what married life will be like. But when you get married, if you have children, there will be more household chores to handle. It’s important to set expectations now.
9. Are you truly prepared for “for better or for worse”?
Marriage isn’t easy, and there will be difficult days, weeks, months, or even years. You should be absolutely certain that the person you’re marrying is prepared to go through the worst with you. It’s grim to think about, but together, you’ll face your share of sadness, illness, and death.
10. What’s your love language?
Your love language is like your zodiac sign or Myers-Briggs personality type. There are five love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. Knowing your love language can explain a lot about how you prefer to receive love. And knowing your partner’s love language can help you better connect with them and understand them.
11. What do you see in our future?
They don’t have to map your entire future together right this minute. But ideally, your partner sees you in their future and has goals for where your relationship will go.
12. Are you prepared to put our relationship first?
It’s you against the world, and you have to know that your partner has your back. Even if you’re up against close friends or loved ones.
13. Is there anything you’re afraid to talk to me about?
Secrets can ruin a marriage. Honesty is always the best policy.
14. Do you have any hesitations?
You should discuss your hesitations before you get engaged or married. If there’s any reason you shouldn’t say “I do,” you want to know about it before you actually say the words and sign the paper.
15. Do you want this to last forever?
If they don’t, you probably shouldn’t be getting married.
These questions can lead to difficult conversations, but they’re the most important ones to have. If you make it through this list without any major surprises or compatibility issues, congratulations: You’re ready to say “I do.”