You were in the dating scene for a while and finally found someone you think you can spend the rest of your life with. When you think about the future you see him in it — with your three children, dog and white picket fence. But before you say “I do,” you should ask the right questions to see if there's more to your relationship that love.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is a noticeable decline in the numbers of marriages. In 2000, there was an average of 2.3 million new marriages but in 2010, there was an average of 2 million. It's hard to say why this is; perhaps the hard economic times forced couples to hold off on their dream wedding. Or maybe couples started asking real questions, leading them to realize that although love is there, they are two completely different people in terms of faith, future, work ethics and finances.
So, before you marry your Mr. Perfect, know why they want to get married and ask the tough questions first. Here's a great list of topics and questions you should ask before getting married:
One of the topics couples fight on the most is the subject of money. Before you get married, here's what to ask about finances and money:
- Do you want a joint account?
- Do you believe in establishing a family budget?
- What is your annual income?
- Do you have significant debt?
- Who will take care of the home finances and bills?
- How often do you use credit cards?
- What are your feelings on saving money?
Romance and Sex
Men and women have different issues when it comes to sex. Ed Young, mega-church pastor, has been married to his wife Lisa for 27 years, wrote “The 10 Commandments of Marriage,” a book of 10 commandments that every marriage should follow including: Thou Shalt Flee Sexually Temptation — Online and Otherwise. To make sure you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to sex, here's what you need to ask:
- Do you feel comfortable initiating sex?
- What do you need in order to be in the mood?
- How often do you need or expect sex?
- Are you willing to be abstinent from sex until marriage?
- Is sexual fidelity an absolute necessity for a good marriage?
- If physical attraction was eliminated from our relationship, what would be left?
- If I put on weight, will it affect our sexual relationship?
- What turns you off sexually?
- Do you agree that infidelity is a means for divorce?
- Do you think being in love means: (1) Never having to say you're sorry, (2) Always having to say you're sorry, (3) Knowing when to say you're sorry, or (4) Being the first to say I'm sorry? (This info is from Love The Grows)
A must-talk about before marriage is family. Asking if children is an option and a time frame on when to start building a family are key.
- Do you want children? If so, how many?
- Would you be willing to adopt?
- What would we do if we couldn't have children?
- How long should we wait before having children?
- What types of discipline would you implement to correct a child's behavior?
- How important is it to you that your children are raised near your extended family?
- Should boys be treated the same way as girls?
- Do you think children should be raised with some religious foundation?
Home life will be very different if you're married to a doctor or lawyer than a school teacher or CEO. So before you move in together and get married, ask some hard-hitting work questions.
- How many hours do you work in a week?
- Are you working in your chosen field?
- What is your retirement plan?
- What does your job entail? Do you travel frequently for business?
- Has your work ever been a factor in a breakup?
- Have you ever quit a job suddenly?
- Do you change jobs a lot?
- Are you a workaholic?
- Do you take medication?
- How would you describe your current state of health?
- Have you ever had a sexually transmitted disease?
- Do you smoke?
- Do you drink?
- Do you have any medical problems?
- Have you suffered from an eating disorder?
- Have you ever been in a serious accident?
- Have you had surgery?
- Do you have health insurance?
- Does cancer run in your family?
Apart from these subcategories, you should make sure you're on the same page in regards to pets, where you rank your priorities (work, school, family, religion, friends, spouse), how you feel about guns in the home, and what quirky or annoying habits you each have that annoy one another. Marriage is a full-time job, one that requires daily forgiveness of both parties.
As Pastor Young stated, “A Marriage is not so much the union of two great lovers, but two great forgivers.”
Jamie is an advice columnist for men who struggle in relationships. He specializes in guiding men to resources that make them better lovers.