- Before marrying someone, there are some topics you might want to discuss.
- Some important questions to ask your partner are in regards to how much debt they have and whether or not they want to have children.
- It’s also important to ask about your partner’s previous encounters with the law and their sex drive.
Whether you’re dreaming of getting engaged or have already picked out the floral arrangements for your wedding, the prospect of marriage can leave many people in a happy daze. But, regardless of how long you’ve been with your partner, there could be a few things worth discussing before you exchange vows.
Here are a few questions you may want to ask your partner before marrying them.
What kind of debt do you have?
It may not be romantic, but getting a clear picture of your partner’s financial situation can help you to avoid some money-related surprises down the road.
Does your partner have a lot of student loan debt? Do they have dozens of unpaid credit card bills? How far along are they in paying off their mortgage or car loan?
Even if they seem to have their finances together, debt is fairly common and is worth discussing. Recent data from Experian revealed that the average American has over $US6,000 in credit card debt.
In most cases, you are not liable for debt your partner has accrued before your marriage. But as Yahoo! Finance pointed out, any debt you create on joint accounts after your tie the knot will be both partners’ legal responsibility.
If you and your partner are looking to make any major purchases or investments as a married couple, pre-existing debt could limit your financial flexibility.
Who do you think should be responsible for keeping the house clean?
You might not mind picking up after your partner now, but one Pew Research poll revealed that 62% of all US adults surveyed considered sharing household chores as very important for the survival of a marriage.
Before getting married, ask your partner about their attitude about divvying up work around the house – you’ll probably want to discuss how you’d both like share basic household responsibilities.
Do you want kids? If so, when?
Knowing whether or not your partner wants to have children is important when thinking about the future. Whether or not to reproduce can be a potentially relationship-ending issue, so consider having a discussion before planning a wedding.
“Most things in relationships you can make a compromise around, but this isn’t one of them,” relationship export Jenny Douglas told HuffPost Australia. “If you are firmly in the position that you don’t want to have children or don’t see yourself as being a parent, that’s something that can be irreconcilable.”
If you’ve established that you both want to have kids, it’s also important to figure out your partner’s timeline for making that happen. If you want to put off procreation for another decade but your partner is already buying baby clothes, that could be an issue.
How do you solve problems?
By the time you’re considering settling down with someone, you probably know how good they are at solving the kinds of problems you might face as a couple. But, it could be worth having a candid conversation about how your problem-solving abilities work together.
Peter Pearson, couples therapist and co-founder of the Couples Institute told Business Insider that knowing how your partner deals with life’s hurdles is important.
Pearson suggested asking yourself and your partner, “Does each person think the other is bright? Are you good at solving problems together?”
Does your partner tackle problems head-on? Or do they rely on others to solve their problems for them? You may want to figure out your partner’s style of problem-solving before committing to a lifetime together.
How much would you be willing to spend on big-ticket items like a mattress or a car?
If you’re not yet married, you and your partner might make most of your own money decisions. Depending on your post-financial nuptial arrangements, however, it may be important to know how much cash your partner is willing to drop on big-ticket items.
If you think spending $US60,000 on a car is reasonable but your partner wouldn’t consider parting with more than $US10,000, you may have misaligned visions for your future lifestyles.
According to a Utah State University study, financial disagreements, especially about large purchases, are more problematic for couples than other types of arguments.
Can you stick to a budget or do you oftentimes spend more than you intended to?
It’s important to be on the same page when it comes to things like budgeting, spending, and saving money. Otherwise, your relationship might suffer.
“When couples have difficulty with money, it can lead to financial infidelity – out-of-control spending, lying, and hiding finances – which can destroy the relationship,” psychotherapist Dr. Tessina told Bustle.
Keep an eye on your partner’s behaviour around money and how compatible it is with your own. If their struggle to stick to a budget is difficult for you to handle now, it could lead to trouble down the road.
How important is sex to you?
According to relationship counseling site Relate, plenty of couples will experience a situation where one partner has a higher or lower sex drive than the other. Although this is totally normal, it’s a good idea to talk about your partner’s feelings about sex before the wedding.
What kind of frequency would your partner prefer when it comes to sex? How would both of you cope with a situation where sex was temporarily or permanently impossible? Most importantly, is your partner comfortable discussing your sex life candidly and openly?
Have you ever been arrested or faced any legal trouble?
Even if you know your partner well, it is possible that they have had past legal problems that you may not be aware of.
Your partner’s former custody disputes, shoplifting charges, tax evasion, lawsuits, and DUIs are all situations that could have an impact on your joint ability to do a variety of things, from taking out a loan to applying for residency in a gated community.
On the bright side, research shows that getting married might help people stay on the right side of the law. One study from the British Journal of Criminology found that men with a criminal past are less likely to offend again after they marry. Interestingly, this effect was strongest when the men married a woman who also had a criminal past.
How do you feel about divorce?
According to a recent analysis by University of Maryland sociology professor Philip Cohen, the divorce rate in the US has actually fallen 18% since 2008. However, divorce is still a reality that some couples may eventually face.
It’s important to know how your partner feels when it comes to the sensitive and difficult topic of ending a marriage. Do they have religious beliefs that inform their opinion of divorce? Did your partner’s parents have a rock-solid marriage or a nasty split? Are they prepared to discuss the possibility of a prenuptial agreement?
It’s a good idea to check in with your partner’s feelings about divorce before getting married, even if it’s not the most romantic pre-wedding discussion.
How much alone time do you need to be happy?
Some people thrive on constant contact with their spouse and others need a bit more freedom to pursue independent hobbies or time with friends. Understanding each other’s needs for solo and couple time can help avoid arguments after the honeymoon.
“This is about expectations, needs, and visions about how you both spend your time,” explained couples and family therapist Robert Taibbi in Psychology Today.
You may want to have an honest conversation about how you each value alone time and couple time before tying the knot.
Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.