So you’ve met ‘the one’? Or are you dating and are now dreaming of marriage? Well, while you’ve yet to tie the knot, how well do you think you know your spouse to be?
Just because you’re in a serious relationship, that doesn’t necessarily mean you know (or love each other) well enough to get married.
However, some serious relationships do lead into marriage – a life long commitment. And everyone wants a successful marriage right? And perhaps depending on your faith and values, you might have different ideas of what a successful marriage looks like.
Most of us might say being ‘happily married’ = success? Or, ‘staying married for a lifetime’ is success. I agree, in part. Being happily married, why wouldn’t two people stay together? But then, there are lots of married couples who stay together, they never get divorced, but there’s no love, tenderness or ‘fire’ in their relationship.
So then, what’s a successful marriage – what does that look like? To me, a successful marriage is a couple who chose to love each other through the struggles and heartbreaks (cos it’s hard to love in those times), who stay committed to the marriage, and as a result, they grow in their character and relationship which flows down to their children.
There’s no easy way to ‘achieve a successful marriage’. Because during those emotionally (and perhaps relationally and financially) difficult times, there’s always the temptation to blame, to get bitter, to run away, or to avoid facing the issues and hurdles.
Life in general, if we want to make the most out of it, really boils down to this: be intentional in who you are and all you do.
So, by intention, I believe you can be better equipped for marriage if you can have deeper conversations pre marriage rather than post marriage. How? By asking questions that you’d never think to ask. Questions that can reveal, uncover, or lead to deeper conversations, that help you know yourself or the other person more.
These kind of questions, while they aren’t prescriptive or exhaustive, will help facilitate enriching conversations and perhaps open up some ‘deeper’ stuff in your life or in his/her life, and they may help you see if you or they are right for marriage.
Go and get more understanding and revelations of your future spouse now, as you each honestly and truthfully answer these questions. I hope they help you to dig deeper, and guide your relationship into a hopefully long term one or not!
Let’s look at 5 important pre marriage areas:
- Core values
Let’s get right into it:
Don’t tell me you’re marrying this person cos they’re gorgeous or rich! Maybe initially you were attracted to them for their looks, but as you get to know them, you fell in love with them for who they are – their inner qualities that resound with yours.
- How do I handle conflict?
- How do I handle criticism?
- How do I handle emotionally difficult feelings? Give examples.
- Am I comfortable sharing my true feelings or opinions with you?
- What do you think of me?
- Do I have integrity?
- Am I dependable?
- Am I responsible?
- Do I keep my word?
- Am I thoughtful of you or only to myself?
- Am I patient or impatient?
- Have I broken any promises?
- How do I show love to others?
- What’s my love language (https://www.5lovelanguages.com/)
- What can I improve on?
- What do I struggle with the most?
- Am I a disciplined person?
- Am I more rational than emotional or vice versa?
This is huge! Are you compatible? Yes, opposites attract, but extremes repel! Talk about these areas more in depth, you may just learn a few new things about you and your other.
- How much does my faith/relationship to God mean to me?
- Is your faith the same as mine?
- What differences would our different faith levels/faith make to our relationship?
- Do you accept my faith as an important part of my life?
- Do I accept your faith/beliefs?
- What are your expectations on how I live out my faith?
- What’s my personality type? https://www.personalityperfect.com/16-personality-types/
- Do I expect to change?
- Do you expect me to change?
- How are we compatible with our personalities?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of my personality?
- Do I accept you as you are?
- Describe my personality?
- What do you like about my personality?
- What don’t you like about my personality?
- What is my family like?
- What was my upbringing like?
- Identify some good family habits?
- Identify some bad family habits?
- In what ways do I resemble my mother? father? sibling?
- How close or distant am I from my parents, siblings, and why?
- How did my parents communicate to each other? To the family?
- What in my family’s history would affect me in this relationship?
- Who do I see as head of the house?
- Do I expect you to lead me?
- How well do I know you?
- Are we good friends or best friends?
- Do we get on well?
- How well do we understand each other?
- What are my gifts and talents?
- What would I love to do, even if I weren’t paid to do it?
- What are my dreams and aspirations?
- What’s my vision for life?
- What’s my direction in life?
- How much does our ethnic culture affect our relationship?
- Are you ok with my cultural upbringing and habits?
- Which parts of my culture do you like the least? The most?
- Would it bother you that I don’t speak your parents language?
- Would it bother your parents that I’m of a different culture?
- What do I do for work?
- Am I happy where I’m at?
- Where do I see myself in my career?
- What would I ideally love to do if money or time wasn’t a consideration?
- Is work my identity or just what I do?
These are inner values that drive our decision making and the way we see others. Are your core values compatible or contrasting? You might run into a lot of conflict if your core values aren’t similar/the same.
- What do I hold near and dear to me?
- What would I never compromise?
- What are my strongest convictions?
- What are my deepest held beliefs?
- Who or what is the most important thing in my life right now?
- What’s the most important thing in our relationship?
- How do I see finances?
- Am I good with money?
- Do I have debt? How much?
- What’s my money personality (see page)
- What’s my plan for finances if we were to marry?
- What’s my view on joint or separate bank accounts once married?
- Do I currently have any health issues? In the past?
- How does my health affect our relationship?
- How do I feel about my physical appearance?
- Do I like to exercise?
- How do I see sex in marriage?
- What’s my belief/stand on sex before marriage?
- How many previous partners have I had (been sexually and non sexually involved with?)
- Am I struggling with any addictive sexual habits right now?
- What am I doing about these harmful habits?
- Do I find you sexually attractive?
- How do I view church?
- How do I see God, the Bible?
- Is my faith genuine or just a habit?
- What do I believe that I live out?
- What won’t I compromise because of my faith?
- Am I emotionally healthy?
- Do I enjoy sharing my feelings?
- Am I an affectionate person or not?
- What do I struggle with emotionally?
- What do I fear the most?
- What am I most passionate about?
In any relationship, learning how to listen, respond, and understand – communicating your feelings and thoughts is a skill that must be developed. None of us were born with this, but this is so key to the success or failure of our relationships
- How am I with sharing my feelings?
- How can I improve on how I listen/talk/respond?
- Do I let feelings get in the way of my words?
- Do I feel free to share my thoughts with you?
- Do I understand how you feel?
- Do I understand what you’ve talked about?
- Am I patient with you when you talk?
- What’s my strength with communication?
- What’s my weakness with communication?
- Is there anything I’m hesitant to share with you? Why?
Marriage is for the long term, it’s not a try-it-and-see kind of thing, so are you prepared to live with and be faithful to your future spouse for the rest of your life? That’s what I’m talking about!
- Do I see myself with you for the rest of my life?
- What is commitment to me?
- How do I feel about children?
- How many children would I be happy with?
- Will you be faithful to me in the marriage?
- What does commitment look like to me?
So, now, you’ve got 100 plus more questions and things to talk about with your potential spouse to be! Take the time to go through them, each one taking a turn. And truely listen to what’s being said/expressed.
Which questions would you find hard to talk about? And why? Do any of these questions bother you?