So you want to get married. You’re ready to cue the romantic music, drop those pricey rose petals, and propose, but wait! Don’t get down on one knee just yet. Instead, grab your significant other, pull up a comfy chair, and get ready for a heart-to-heart talk. Below you will find a list of questions to ask before you get married.
Questions to Ask Before Marriage
No matter how well you know one another, there are bound to be topics you’ve never discussed. Now is the time to focus on those hard questions that will help you envision your future life together.
After asking these questions, be patient, open, and understanding. Marriages thrive when both partners feel free to share their ideas and beliefs.
What Are Your Future Life Goals?
What are the most critical questions to ask before getting married? Picture your life five, ten, fifteen, and thirty years from now. What do you see? What are your short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals? How do you see your partner involved in those goals?
Do you want to become an entrepreneur, raise a family, travel, or retire early? Which of these life goals do you share?
Why are these questions important? The answers say a lot about who you are and what you value. Here are some follow-up questions to help you discuss these ideas in detail.
These are the most important questions to ask before getting married:
1 – How Do You Measure Success?
How do you measure success? Do you both view material possessions and money in the same way?
Why does it matter? Rich is a relative term. Some people value themselves based on how much money they have accrued. Others base their value on their relationships, helping others, and feeling joyful.
If you want the same things in life, it’s easy to support your partner. If you have different values, it can be tough to encourage one another.
Sometimes one partner wants a simple life without stuff, while the other craves possessions. How do you feel about supporting your partner’s desires? What if you want to live a simple life without a lot of money, but your partner desires a swankier lifestyle?
How will you feel about a spouse who puts the majority of time and energy into her work? What would you think about a spouse who earns less, but spends more time with your family?
In a perfect world, we can balance our desires. In reality, we are pulled in one direction or another. This tug-of-war can impact a marriage.
A partner who values family may coach little league games, attend recitals, and come home for dinner every evening. A partner who values career success may spend hours at work, miss family events, and focus on growing a company.
Resentment can grow when values don’t align between partners. These aren’t deal-breakers, but they are essential questions to ask before getting married.
2 – Where Do You Want to Live?
Do you want to live in a large house with a white picket fence out in the suburbs or would you prefer a small loft in the city near bars, night-life, and restaurants?
When you are young, it isn’t easy to picture your future life. As a twenty-five-old, you might be content living in a small place in the city. As a thirty-five-year-old, you might dream of living in the country with more space of your own.
Right now, you may be content, but where do you want to be in the future? Does your partner’s dream house look the same?
Do you want to live close to your parents or family? Would you need to move to make that happen? Are you okay with changing locations or leaving one family behind to live closer to another?
I know friends who have divorced over the desire to move. The suburban lifestyle is very different from city life. Living in the U.S. is very different from living overseas.
A former coworker of mine lived in an apartment in Washington, D.C., not far from our office. Her partner wanted to move to the midwest, where housing and life in general, is less expensive.
She didn’t want to move and he didn’t want to stay any longer. After two years, they divorced. He packed up his bags and headed out west.
When asking this question, think about where you want to live now and in the future. Picture your ideal home. Where is it and what does it look like?
3 – What Is Your Ideal Vacation?
I often joke about two guys I knew in college. The first, loved camping, rock climbing, and eating over an open fire. The second enjoyed five-star restaurants and oceanfront hotels.
My life could have taken different paths, depending on which partner I chose.
Couples often say they grow apart over time, but in reality, many of them had very different goals from the start. Your partner might not mind camping when you are young and broke, but will they want to continue as your income increases.
Some people are happy camping in the woods while others want room service. There is nothing wrong with either of these options, but it helps to know how your ideas line up with your partner’s.
You don’t have to marry someone with the same desires, but it helps to know how similar or different you feel. There is a big difference between caviar and hot dogs.
4 – What Is Your Vision for Retirement?
What is your vision for retirement? Do you want to travel the world, live in a tiny home by the beach, or stay where you are and bike, hike, and garden?
Right now, you both work, but what will happen when you aren’t bogged down by a nine-to-five? Do you want to volunteer your time for the same organizations, visit exotic locations, or sit on the back porch reading and drawing?
You don’t have to want the same things, but it’s nice to know that you have common interests and retirement goals. Don’t just think about today. Picture spending the rest of your lives together.
Financial Questions to Ask Before Marriage
Couples can have very different ways and styles of managing money. When you are single, you can handle your finances however you choose. When you get married, you have to figure out how to work together.
Money is a leading cause of marital conflicts, so it’s important to ask financial questions before getting married.
Which financial questions should you ask before marriage? In general, you want to know how you and your partner manage your money.
Start by asking about your money mindset. Are you a born saver, a born spender, or do you fall somewhere in between? Do you prefer to use a budget to manage your bills, or do you hate budgeting?
Here are some other vital financial questions to ask before you get married:
1 – How Do You Feel About Debt?
How do you feel about debt? Some people don’t mind large credit card bills and mortgages; others are debt-averse.
Do you strive to live within your means, or do you have a YOLO mentality? How often do you have money left over after you pay your bills? Is saving a priority for you? Do you save for purchases or put them on credit cards?
Can you look ahead to the future and wait to achieve your goals, or do you need instant gratification? Life is long; how do you prepare for the future? How will your partner?
Why does this matter? Couples often fight about financial risk tolerance. One partner may feel comfortable going into debt while the other does not.
Some people don’t worry when their bank balance drops to $5; others may have a panic attack if the numbers fall too low.
It’s important to understand your partner’s comfort levels. How can you compromise in a way that keeps both partners feeling safe and happy?
Before you get married, discuss your debts and credit card use in detail. Debt and credit scores impact your ability to get a mortgage or car loan together.
Confess all financial secrets long before you get married.
3 – Will You Merge Your Finances?
How will you combine your money to meet your financial goals? Are you comfortable letting your spouse see how you spend your money? Do you need to keep separate credit cards?
After my husband and I got married, we merged our bank accounts. Merging bank accounts has worked well for us, but I know some couples who prefer to keep their money separate.
Do what works for you, but if you keep your money separate, you may need to discuss your goals and finances more often. Keeping separate accounts might make it harder to fulfill common dreams.
4 – When Will You Discuss Your Finances?
Some couples prefer to discuss money once a month. Others are okay discussing it once a year. How often do you want or need to talk about your finances?
How will you address financial concerns? Learn how to set up family financial meetings to ensure you stay on the same page. Make sure both of you are comfortable with the frequency of your discussions.
5 – What Do You Spend Money On?
Let’s say your current partner is a huge sports fan. What happens after you get married? Do you think he’ll stop buying season football tickets?
You might think these things don’t matter to you, but over time they can destroy marriages. It’s easy to feel like everyday expenses, and goals are being put aside for selfish reasons.
Will you give up a week-long vacation with friends or football tickets for shared financial goals? It’s important to talk about how you spend money, what you value, and what you aren’t willing to give up even if circumstances change.
Are there things you aren’t willing to pay for? My husband never wants to pay someone to cut our grass or trim the lawn. I don’t mind shelling out money for this. The same goes for many other household chores. I don’t mind if he wants to do them, but I don’t enjoy them.
How will you compromise on these issues?
What do you enjoy spending money on? How does your partner feel about these expenses? What are you willing to give up for shared goals? More importantly, what aren’t you willing to give up?
Discuss these now. Don’t wait until you encounter financial distress to discuss them. This is one of the more important financial questions to resolve before marriage.
6 – How Does Your Past Impact Your Relationship with Money?
The financial transactions of our past often dictate the decisions of our future. How have financial mistakes changed your view of money? Have they made you more fearful of investing, buying property, or going into business?
How did your parents handle money when you were a kid? How has that influenced you? Do you view money as a necessary evil or a wonderous invention?
These can be difficult topics to discuss, but it helps to understand why your partner spends or saves. Listen with empathy and figure out how to move forward as a couple.
You may have completely different beliefs and backgrounds. It’s important to ask these questions before you get married, so you can both understand what drives and motivates your financial decisions.
7 – Do You Have Financial Fears?
Former financial difficulties can have a significant impact on our fears. If you grew up in a family without a lot of money, you might worry about your finances.
Talk to your partner about how much money you need to feel safe. How much can you spend without consulting one another? How low can the checking account go before you panic about it?
Does your partner recognize your fears, and are they willing to spend less or save more to help you feel secure? If not, how can you resolve these financial issues before you get married?
8 – Do You Have Family Obligations?
Do you have financial obligations to a business, your parents, or a spouse from a previous marriage? Does that cause financial strain?
Will you feel bitter when your husband’s ex-wife calls looking for money for herself or her children? How will you feel when you have to put your goals on hold due to these obligations?
Can your parents support themselves as they age? Are you expected to help them pay for things as they get older? Will you need to take them in or pay for their assisted living costs?
Are your spouses’ savings or income earmarked for other people? It’s important to be aware of these financial obligations. The answers to these questions will impact your future goals. If you need to help others, you will have less to save or spend as a couple.
Discuss the impact on your overall finances before you get married.
9 – Are You Willing to Lend or Borrow Money with Family or Friends?
Some people can lend money easily, while others would never do so. How do you feel about your partner’s generosity or their desire to borrow money from relatives?
A few years after we got married, my husband wanted to borrow money from his parents to buy a second house, but I was expressly against it. I didn’t think it was a wise decision to go into debt with them. If we couldn’t afford something, then we shouldn’t be buying it.
My husband didn’t see any harm in taking their money. After a couple of disagreements, we decided not to buy a second property until we could save for a downpayment.
This can be a sticky topic. Are there times when you would be willing to change the rules?
Do You Intend to Have Children?
Having children impacts your lifestyle, so this is a question that needs to be discussed. You should also talk about what happens if you can’t conceive.
Would you be willing to consider IUI, IVF, or adoption? Some couples are willing to spend large sums of money to give birth to a child that bears their genes.
Others will try a few treatments and say it wasn’t in the cards. Is having biological children vital to you?
If you want to be a mother or father above all else, you might be willing to undergo years of infertility treatments. Your partner may be less inclined to do so.
While it’s impossible to say how easily you’ll conceive, it is essential to understand just how much your partner wants children.
I know couples who put their life goals on hold to pay for infertility treatments. That can only happen if both partners place this goal above all others. I also know couples who have divorced after trying to conceive.
Significantly few people change their minds about children after they get married. Think carefully about marriage if you and your partner are not on the same page.
What Are You Willing To Give Up For a Successful Marriage?
Relationships succeed when both partners can compromise. Sometimes this means putting your own dreams on hold to support your partner.
Is one partner’s job more important to them or your lifestyle? Are you willing to live in a different state or country if your partner’s job takes you there? Are you willing to put your own career aspirations on hold to support them?
How do you plan to handle the holidays? Are you willing to visit your partner’s family on Christmas or give up Thanksgiving with your siblings?
Marriage is all about compromise. Sometimes you have to give up on one thing to do another. You can’t spend Christmas in two places. Similarly, you might not excel in two separate careers.
Questions to Ask Before You Get Married
It’s important to ask questions before you get married. Having different answers doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get married. It just means that you should discuss them in more detail. A healthy marriage begins with open communication and understanding.
Start by talking through these issues. When you feel good about the answers, buy that engagement ring, and propose!