You’re in love. The mere thought of your partner brings a smile to your face. The relationship has been going well. You both love the same singers, you both prefer to stay in rather than go out, and even your parents get along with your partner. You’re both on the same page when it comes to what you want for your future – or so you think.
If you and your beloved are thinking of taking the next step and getting married, naturally there is a lot to consider: where will you live, will you have children, should you get a dog?
Although these are important questions, there are dozens more that need to be given some consideration. We’ve put together a list of questions that will give you both some food for thought. Marriage is a commitment that includes emotional, financial, and legal implications. It’s necessary to have these conversations out in the open together. Don’t assume or expect that your partner knows how you feel about a certain subject – chances are they don’t know.
Give these questions time to be discussed. Being on the same page and working as a team on these topics will give you a good foundation for your future. Good luck!
- How are you and your partner’s attitudes and habits similar? How are they different?
- How do you plan to effectively negotiate and manage differences? Do you tend to avoid conflict or confront it and why?
- What are your attitudes regarding your responsibility toward your immediate and extended family? How much time do you plan on spending with extended family? What boundaries will you set to preserve your relationship? How will you maintain those boundaries? How much will you involve extended family in your decision-making?
- How will you make your feelings known without engaging in personal attacks? (complain instead of criticize)
- How will you avoid using contempt (e.g., insults, name-calling, threats of divorce, rolling the eyes) as a conflict tactic?
- What will you do to take responsibility for problems and avoid counter-complaining? (avoid defensiveness)
- What will you do to calm down and soothe yourself during conflict?
- What will you do to help your partner calm down during conflict?
- How will you show appreciation for each other and express this appreciation both verbally and through positive body language when communicating?
- What will you do to avoid the silent treatment, such as using the skill of calling “time-out” to avoid saying and doing things that will be hurtful to the relationship?
- How will you make-up when arguments occur? Who will take responsibility for saying “sorry” first?
Read more: 9 Important Communication Skills for Every Relationship
- Do you plan to raise children together? If so, how many?
- If your partner already has children, what role will you play in their lives?
- What similar or different ideas do you have about parenting?
- How will parenting responsibilities be shared?
- Will one person be expected to put parenting first and a job or career second? Will there be a stay-at-home parent?
- Have you discussed the impact children will have on your finances? Time? Emotions?
Download the full research-backed article with even more questions to consider
- Do you and your partner have similar or different attitudes towards money?
- Do you have some common financial goals?
- What level of debt is each partner bringing to the relationship?
- Are any of these debts past due debts?
- How will these debts be paid once you are married?
- What financial assets will each partner bring to the relationship and how will these assets be shared?
- How will accounts be handled? Will you have joint or separate accounts? Will you have a household account?
- If both partners earn income, have you discussed which expenses each person will be responsible for paying? Will expenses be split 50/50? Will each partner contribute in proportion to their income? Will specific expenses be designated to each partner?
- Once married, will there need to be joint discussion before purchases over a certain dollar amount are made?
- Have you developed a budget plan that includes spending, saving, and investing?
- Will finance chores such as record-keeping, bill paying, account tracking be shared or will one person handle them? If only one person handles the financial chores, how will you plan to keep the other partner informed?
Learn more: Tips for Healthy Financial Management
- Do you both have similar or different attitudes towards family involvement in your life?
- What family financial obligations does each partner have?
- Does either partner help a parent or sibling with their finances?
- Do one or both partners have child support obligations?
- What are your individual career goals and how will they affect your daily life and long-term future together?
- If needed, would you or your partner be prepared to relocate to fulfill career goals?
Learn the secrets of a long and happy marriage from the “experts”
- Have you looked realistically at your physical and mental health and how your health status will affect your life together?
- Have you discussed health care directives?
- How will you foster positive mental health traits such as positive self-concept, good self-esteem, commitment, and social opportunities that can contribute to a successful marriage?
- What will you do to overcome negative mental health traits such as impulsiveness, uncontrolled anger, compulsiveness, anxiety, and depression that could lead to potential marital problems?
- What kind of exercise routine will you begin or maintain? How will you support each other in being able to exercise regularly?
- What will you do to eat healthy and maintain healthy eating habits? Who will be responsible for cooking, buying groceries, etc.
- What are some of your social and emotional needs? What kinds of things will you do to make sure you are socially and emotionally healthy? How often will you go on a date? How often will you spend time with friends? What will you do to express your social and emotional needs so you and your partner feel safe in expressing them? What will you do to make sure you are spending time with family and friends who are socially and emotionally supportive of your relationship? What will you do to successfully manage relationships that aren’t supportive of your relationship?
- What are some of your spiritual needs? What will you do to take responsibility for meeting your spiritual needs? How can you help support each other in meeting these needs individually and together as a couple?
If you’re considering marriage but want to make sure you are as prepared as you can be, especially when it comes to tricky topics like communication, resolving conflict, and finances, one great option is premarital preparation classes. Not only are these classes fun, useful, and empowering, but in the state of Florida they may entitle you to a discount on your marriage license (in designated counties)! The SMART Couples project is offering Before You Tie the Knot, a FREE, research-based premarital preparation class taught by trained instructors in Florida counties across the state. Sign up today!
By Liz Kelly, Social Media Specialist, SMART Couples, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, University of Florida Sources
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