Questions Every Couple Should Ask Before Marriage
A recent poll of our Duo Life Community showed that 50% of couples didn’t go through a marriage prep course before the wedding day. For us, we had a lot of marriage advice from loved ones before our wedding, but we also learned a large amount during our marriage preparation classes. When, a number of less obvious questions to ask before marriage surfaced.
No matter if you’re dating, newly-married, or have already celebrated dozens of anniversaries, read on. Here are questions that every couple should talk about before marriage.
questions every couple should ask before marriage
1. Is there any debt?
Finances are so important to talk about before marriage. Once at a wedding, the jubilant bride joked, “He’s got me – and all my student debt!” With nearly two-thirds of Americans graduating with student debt over $30,000, it’s a big issue to talk about. But, there are ways to tactfully review your finances as a couple.
The biggest thing is to be honest and discuss all finances in addition to debt – assets, salary earnings, retirement, etc. Lay it all out on the table because nothing seems more dishonest than hiding money.
Next, you can make a game plan on how you want to move forward with money (such as moving towards a joint account or keeping separate bank accounts) and which debt to tackle first. It’s best to have this all documented which we think explains the rise of the millennial prenup.
2. How much money can I spend before consulting the other person?
When you ask your fiancé this question, you should both write down the number privately before sharing it with the other. Then share and open the discussion to spending habits. Are you two penny-pinchers? Two spenders? Ryan and I are one of each. This is a critical question to ask before marriage along with the follow-up discussion on individual spending habits.
Once you’ve talked about spending habits, discuss a household budget and where you expect the other to put their money. For example, what percent should go into their retirement fund versus your joint account? Most couples don’t earn the same salary so we prefer to discuss money allocations in terms of percentages so each person is contributing the same normalized amount.
With money problems as the main contributor to divorce, this topic may be awkward but it’s one of the most important to talk about before the wedding.
Read more: Our Couple’s Finance Guide.
3. How to handle infertility?
Our wedding preparation questionnaire included multiple questions on this topic, some of which we had discussed and some which we hadn’t.
- How much money would you spend on infertility treatment before stopping?
- How much time would you invest in infertility treatment before stopping?
- What is your stance on adoption?
Are these questions you have asked your fiancé? According to the CDC, 9% of men and 11% of women experience issues with infertility. While Ryan and I had discussions about family size and adoption, we had never set a dollar or time investment amount if we experienced infertility.
It’s tough to think about but a reality many couples face. So, why not be prepared for success in your first year of marriage by asking these questions.
4. How much time is acceptable to spend away from each other?
A great question to ask before marriage, right? We thought so. Especially because Ryan has many established “guy weekends” as well as seasonal hobbies which take up hours of time. Time spent away from each other is, of course, healthy and normal, but it should feel fair and mutual.
This question can also morph into a discussion of who that time away is spent with. For example, having close friends of the opposite gender is normal and healthy, but if anything feels uncomfortable, it is a good time to talk about it before the wedding.
5. What are your stances on pornography?
This is a question that is likely overlooked by many couples, and it’s so important to talk about before marriage. In a 2002 study, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reported that internet porn played a role in 60% of divorces.
While there may be more underlying problems than just pornography, the stats are sobering. No matter your thoughts on pornography, it’s best to ask your fiancé the question and respect their wishes. Be bold, because this is a question every couple should ask before marriage!
6. Do you know each other’s Love Language?
The popular book, The 5 Love Languages, by Gary Chapman, discusses that each person prioritizes love in different ways. Perhaps instead of receiving a gift from your husband, you would rather him do the laundry without you asking?
We were given this quiz during our marriage preparation and it showed us how we could optimize showing love in one of five ways: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, or physical touch. You need to answer this question before marriage with a strong yes!
Here are two great reasons to take the love languages seriously:
1. After Ryan took the quiz and learned that my love language was acts of service, he started making the bed every morning. I had been asking him to do this for years, but, now it was important because it was a way for him to show me love. Or, as they say in the book, to “fill up my love tank.”
2. Speaking of the book, you should absolutely read it and talk about it before the wedding. Our biggest takeaway was that there are two phases of love in marriage.
The obsessional love phase (honeymoon phase) and the conscious love phase. The first phase of the romantic relationship, the obsessional phase, is when the love is fresh and most overlook any unfriendly qualities and choose to “forgive and forget.” This is when love doesn’t take a lot of effort. The length of this stage varies, but most psychologists seem to agree that it falls somewhere from the first 6-24 months of a relationship.
The next stage has been coined many names, but we prefer to call it “Conscious Love.” That’s when love is a choice because the passion must be fed and nurtured. In this stage, you will really need to commit to working on strengthening your marriage together.
So, did we miss any less obvious questions that every couple needs to ask before marriage? If so, we want to know about it. Please share in the comments below.
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Hey we're Ryan and Alex
The creators of Ryan and Alex Duo Life. We are a husband-wife duo and “happiness engineers.” After eight years working as corporates engineers internationally, we left our high-powered jobs to tackle our true passion — leading couples to engineer their best lives. The synergy of our engineering minds and ten years of health coaching experience produced Ryan and Alex Duo Life. Our mission is to help you transform your bodies, minds, and relationship, as a couple.