Eight questions you need to ask before saying "I do"

Are you in love and perhaps discussing marriage? Maybe he or she has already proposed and you said yes. If so, you are probably excited about moving towards commitment and the new life it will bring--but how well do you really know the kind of husband/wife/father/mother/ friend and lifelong partner this person will be? Certainly you have hit bumps along the road in your relationship. How did you address these or did you smooth them over or write them off to stress, heavy workloads, a troublesome person from your partner's or your past, domineering parents--or any of the many issues we use to make excuses and rationalize away concerns because we are in love and don't want to rock our security and convenience boat? If you have chosen to ignore some issues, or haven't had any frank discussions about what a shared life will look like--address this now, and you may save yourself from a painful future and/or divorce. Begin by asking him or her the eight questions below, and try coming up with a few more of your own. By doing so you will have taken an important first step towards not becoming one of the approximately 49% who don't make it.

* How do you feel about either of us having friends of the opposite sex that we get together with and/or connect virtually with after we are married? How important is it to you that we as a couple socialize primarily with mutual friends after marriage?

* How important are our careers, saving VS spending, home ownership, and other issues related to money management and financial security to your long term goals?

* Do you think that we as a couple should make joint decisions regarding large purchases and investments?

* Do you believe that our individual earnings belong to both of us when we are married?

* Do you believe that both of us should work outside the home and share household responsibilities equally?

* How do you feel about divorce?

* Do you want kids and, if so, what are your primary philosophies regarding raising children, parenting, and the importance of education?

* Do you think practicing a religion will be important to our family life? If so, what are your expectations for what faith our kids would be raised in, and the role religion would play in our marriage and family?

From my experience, these eight questions cover the primary problem issues that couples bring into counseling. Lifestyle preferences and choices, handling of money and finances, desire for children and/or conflicting parenting styles--and the role and importance of religion can all be deal breakers that get ignored or swept under the rug until after a commitment is made. Other related issues have to do with use of leisure time, how individual friendships are handled, especially any with exes or someone of the opposite sex, and the new expectations that come with marriage and becoming a couple; which requires adjustments, renegotiation and leaving individual lifestyles behind.

Put your time and energy into having that talk now. Otherwise you can invest huge amounts of time, energy, and money into planning a lovely wedding that marks the beginning of a disappointing and doomed marriage.

Want to read other articles on this subject?

"Talking about your relationship VS relating"
List of more "Compatibility Issues" articles

"Relationship Deal Breakers"


Toni Coleman, LCSW
Phone: 703-847-1768


Copyright 2008 Antoinette Coleman. All rights reserved.

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