11 Questions To Ask Your Partner Before You Get Married

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My husband and I were in a long-distance relationship for almost a full year before we got married. Skype was both a blessing and a curse, offering the illusion of the one you love sitting across from you. You can see, you can hear, but you’re still too far away for a hug. It was tough, I won’t lie. There were many days when I just wanted to hold his hand or sit next to him and do nothing else at all.

Now almost two years into marriage, I can see the ways that long-distance season grew and impacted us. Specifically, it taught us how to talk to each other. There are the big things you should always discuss prior to marriage: whether you want kids and how many if so, your core values and beliefs, and the goals you have for the future. These should align or at least complement each other because you can’t have half a kid or pursue conflicting dreams. This list brings something a bit different to the table. These are questions that will help you determine each other’s character and how everyday life will occur between the two of you.


1. How important are pets to you?

Before we got married, my now-husband and I discussed whether we should get a dog. Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, to me dogs were pets that slept inside, sat on the couch with you and had costumes on for Halloween. But for my husband, who grew up in rural Missouri, animals weren’t viewed the same way. They slept outside and worked as hunting dogs or catching mice in the barns.

We decided together that having a dog would be a source of contention in our marriage because we had such different opinions about how to care for it, and since having a dog wasn’t all that important to me, we agreed that we wouldn’t. You and your potential spouse should sit down and have the same discussion because you might learn something you never considered before.

2. How were household chores decided on when you grew up?

I had a bit of a passive-aggressive phase when we first got married. Growing up, my mom cooked, and my dad cleaned the dishes afterward. So, when I cooked and my new husband didn’t immediately move to do the dishes, I became frustrated – even though I never told him I expected that of him.

A lot of expectations for marriage build on how you were raised. Chores worked a certain way when you were growing up, and you may expect them to happen in the same fashion as you step into married life. The two of you should sit down and discuss how household chores were divided when you were children. You can use those ideas as foundations for the unified method you come up with for your relationship.

3. How much money do you spend on yourself?

The things you are willing to spend money on when you’ve had a rough day or need to de-stress can say a lot about your financial health. I enjoy a great iced latte from a local coffee shop a few times a month and a bath a least once a week. These were concepts my husband, who is frugal and excellent at saving money, and I had to discuss early on in the marriage. This also serves as a starting point to discuss your financial behaviors. Is there something your future spouse spends money on that you don’t like? Are you financially compatible, or do you have a system for how big purchases should be handled? What defines a “big purchase?” These are all important discussions to have.

4. What do you want in life?

You want to know what your potential spouse is willing to sacrifice everything for. Are they on track to join the Army? Do they envision running a small business from home? Everyone has dreams and goals, and you want to ensure yours align. Compromise is something you will encounter daily in marriage, so you need to know where you are willing to draw a line. The things my husband and I want out of life are very similar, so the decisions we make have those in mind, and we often agree.

5. Where do you want to live?

“As long as you love each other, you can make anything work.” I’ve heard this said before, and I’m sure you have, too. While love is foundational, there are things you should have in common or you may come to resent each other down the line. Before we got married, my husband and I agreed that we’d like to live overseas. Traveling is a large part of our life and something we enjoy doing together, but that isn’t for everyone. Even the difference between country and city living can be too difficult for some people. Really consider the answer to this question and be honest with each other.


6. How much time do you want to spend together?

Does this one seem odd? If you’re an extrovert, maybe – but perhaps not if you are an introvert. If you need time for yourself, let your future spouse know that. This is your opportunity to set expectations and let them know whether you will need time to be by yourself, so they aren’t unexpectedly hurt a few weeks into marriage.

7. What does your relationship with your family look like?

Hopefully, at this point in your relationship, you’ve had the chance to meet each other’s families. Family is significant because they will always be there. You don’t have to be best friends with every member of your potential spouse’s family, but you do need to honestly consider what relationships with them would look like. My husband and I both have good relationships with our families, and with each other’s, so this one was quite simple for us.

8. How do you react when you’re stuck in traffic?

Nothing brings the stress out in someone like travel. My husband and I, before we got engaged, took a trip to Europe. Flight delays and unexpected twists happen all the time, no matter how well you’ve planned it out. It was on this trip that I really paid attention and saw how calm my now-husband is under stressors like that.

If you’ve taken a road trip or faced a difficult health situation together, you have likely witnessed how your potential spouse responds under stress. Understanding stressors and how to help each other through them is something you should begin now, even though it may take a while to get it down. This is also an opportunity for you to look for any red flags in the way he or she behaves when stressed. 

9. Consider the first disagreement you had. How did you handle it?

You may have had several disagreements since you first started dating, but it’s valuable to consider the first one – or at least the first one you can remember. Reflect on what happened and what you’ve done to improve how you communicate since then. This offers an opportunity for you to see how you’ve grown while establishing a chance for you to set more goals moving forward.

10. How important is your job to you? Would you be willing to leave it?

When we got married, we were both unemployed with vague ideas of what we wanted to do. Since then, we’ve been in many part-time and full-time positions. Employment changes happen, sometimes more suddenly than you may expect. Where does your current job land on the priority list? Would you be willing to relocate for it? Would your potential spouse be willing to do that for you? These may all be very hypothetical now, but they should be answered as honestly as possible.

11. Is there anything you’re hoping will change about me when we get married?

This might be the most difficult question to ask, but that’s why it is the most important. Marriage is not a cure-all to the quirks or qualities of your future spouse. It’s a magnifying glass. Those qualities will become even more pronounced. There are flaws each of you has because people cannot be perfect. By asking this of each other out of love, you establish the things you know you need to work on and help each other through.

Marriage is big and beautiful and one of the most life-altering decisions you can make. There are no perfect people, but there are people who are good for each other, and I hope these questions can help you and your potential spouse prepare for life together.

Written by Jillian Hedges

7 comments

  1. “You should get help!” sounds like the right thing to say. But when you’re depressed, a lot of your energy and thoughts are consumed.
    You may not have the energy to get help or you may talk yourself out of needing help.
    When you want your friend to “get help” take the time to do your research and possibly recommend resources.
    If you can do some of the heavy lifting, like calling a therapist and making an appointment or even driving your friend there,
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