We’re doing a series on dating and relationships. Join the conversation! Are there any specific topics you’d like us to write about? (This article was originally written in December of 2015 for Project Inspired, a website that encourages Christian teenage girls all over the world. Thank you for reading!)
So you’ve found the one you want to spend the rest of your life with. You have similar interests, you both love the Lord and you’re head over heels for your guy. What more do you need to know before you walk down the aisle?
A lot, actually. Just like a job interview, an employer would want to know that his or her prospective employee is properly qualified to fill the position.
Yes, it can be awkward to ask things you don’t really feel you have the right to know, but if you’re truly going to spend the rest of your lives together, there are some things you should inquire about in order to start off on the right foot. Premarital counseling will help with some of these, but not every couple goes though an intensive session that uncovers possible conflict-causing topics. You can ask these over dinner, during a walk at your favorite park or over the phone if that seems to cause less pressure and anxiety.
Here are some great questions to ask that should get you started.
- How do you handle finances? There are spenders, savers, those who have a financial plan in place and those who go with the flow. None of these types of people are inherently good or bad, but it’s important to know which of you is the better one to be trusted with handling money so that you can make sure your bills are paid on time, get a plan together to knock out student loans and set realistic budgets for groceries, date nights, new clothes, etc.
- How do you handle conflict? I don’t think my first year of marriage would be the best example of how to fight fair. My husband and I had completely opposite ways of dealing with arguments, and I admit I wasn’t the best at communicating my feelings. I would just shut down. You might have had a couple’s squabble here and there, but living together brings out another side of you. Make it clear to one another what your expectations are, and you might find that you need to take a course on communication strategies.
- Do you want children? Most couples headed to the altar have had a talk about wanting or not wanting children. There is so much more that actually goes into starting a family, though. Ask him about timing. Does he want kids right out of the gate, or would he rather spend the first few years with you all to himself? It’s also good to discuss all forms of parenting. Is he open to adoption? Fostering? Or does he want biological children only?
Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him. (Psalm 127:3)
- What can I do to make you feel loved? Have you noticed that he’s not as excited about getting gifts as you are? Maybe he’s always helping you with things, but you wish you could spend more quality time together. Knowing each other’s love language can help you to avoid dissatisfaction because your love tanks are constantly being filled. These will change over the course of your marriage, so be sure to check them again every once in a while. You can find a helpful online quiz here.
- Are you okay with having close friends of the opposite sex? This is a touchy subject for many couples. You may think it’s okay to still have Gary as your best friend while your future husband decides it’s best to let go of his female friends altogether. You would think that friends of the opposite sex will always respect your marriage and not cross the line, but I know personally that this isn’t the case. Make clear boundaries from the start so that you can honor each other’s wishes.
- How much input will our parents have in our decision-making as a couple? You’ve heard it time and time again: the dreaded in-laws. However, you can have a wonderful relationship with them. Most of the issues I see when it comes to rifts in the marriage due to in-laws is when the husband and wife aren’t on the same page. If you’re both okay with taking certain decisions to your parents first so they can help you make the right choices, that can be very helpful. If he’d rather make decisions exclusively with you, take that into consideration.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)
- How often do you expect to be intimate? Kids, cover your ears. Just kidding. I have many married friends, and honestly there is no formula for the perfect love life. Some are intimate multiple times a day, and others maybe a few times a month. It’s important to set realistic expectations and to be comfortable talking about this. It’s a topic you’ll have to revisit often, as throughout the years your needs will change.
- What responsibilities would you want to have around the house? A messy partner and a neat freak can actually live happily together, but it’s only possible if you’re both clear on the terms. If he’d rather not do laundry…like…ever, it’s good to know that before you argue about the piles of clothes everywhere and have to remind him daily to remove his socks from the bathroom floor.
- What will our lives look like in five years? Only God knows the true course of your life, but by asking this, you will find out the things that are close to his heart. If he talks about the travels you’ll take together, this may be news to you. If he mentions having a house with an amazing backyard, it can also relate to any financial principles you need to put in place so that you can realize those dreams. It may be important to you that he takes your career seriously as you hope to start your own business from the ground up and have it up and running in five years’ time.
Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. (Proverbs 16:3)
If you are wedding-dress shopping and planning to change your last name soon, congratulations! I hope this will be helpful to you. If you’re dreaming of the right guy, but are currently single, please keep these in mind when he finds you.
I’d love to hear what you think about these questions as well as others that would be helpful!