Marrying your significant other is an important life milestone, and one that can be both exciting and anxiety-producing. Over the rest of your lifetime, you will make many decisions with this person, some small and insignificant, some large and life-altering.
Before you take the leap, there are some important questions to ask your partner that will ensure you are making a decision that will enhance and enrich your life.
What Was Your Parents’ Marriage Like?
A child’s parents are his first model for adult life, and how they were raised will often affect their expectations for their spouse. Do you or your significant other have married role models or are either of your parents divorced? If your girlfriend’s mother was a stay at home mom, will she expect to also be a stay at home mom? If your boyfriend’s father worked often and was rarely home, will he also adopt those work habits?
While some people vow to never be like their parents and do the exact opposite of what they saw at home, most people take their cues from their parents, so it helps to analyze their relationship and think about how your relationship will mirror theirs.
What Are Your Money Attitudes?
This is a challenging question because most of what we believe about money is subconscious. A person would have to be extremely self-aware to truly understand their money attitudes. Nonetheless, it is important to ask about a person’s money attitudes before you marry them. Most divorces are triggered by disputes over money, so it pays to talk about this sensitive topic early and often.
How much do you both make or expect to make? Household income can affect divorce rates (source: https://farzadlaw.com/divorce-statistics
). Are you spenders or savers? Do you want to invest? Set aside money for kids’ college? Buy large toys like boats, RVs or ATVs? Are you frugal, budgeting every penny and tracking your spending? Or do you spend money freely, letting the chips fall where they may? Will you share expenses or continue to keep separate bank accounts?
It is important to talk to your partner about these issues, making sure to pay attention to their spending and money management habits.
What Do You Expect From Your Spouse and Your Marriage?
Most people have an idea of what their ideal spouse will be like. Will your spouse travel the world with you full time? Will they manage the money? How many children will you plan to have? Will you two live as a childfree couple? While these questions may seem obvious, many couples never discuss these issues and find themselves at odds with each other when their expectations don’t match reality.
Another hot button issue in marriage is the division of household labor. Arguments over chores can destroy a relationship, so it helps to work out who will handle what chores after your walk down the aisle.
Who will take out the trash? Do the majority of the cooking? Care for the pets? Handle yard maintenance? Will one spouse be in charge of the household management and delegate tasks to the other? Will home management be a joint effort? When one spouse feels that they are doing more than their fair share of the housework, resentment can build and tear apart even the strongest couples.
What Is Your Financial Report Card?
Money is a challenging subject for most people, and unfortunately, some couples don’t understand their spouse’s financial situation until after they’re married. Ask how much debt they have, how much they earn annually, how much they have in investments, assets and savings.
Ask if they own property, what their credit score is, how many credit cards they have, how much they’re contributing to their 401k at work and whether they have ever filed for bankruptcy. You will need to know if they have ever had a home foreclosed, a car repossessed or been sued and lost. These are not facts you want to find out only after you’re denied joint credit or you can’t buy your dream home.
Being in love and preparing for marriage is an exciting rush of emotion. It is important, however, in this heightened state of love, to ask the right questions to ensure that you will enjoy a healthy and fulfilling marriage with your partner.