You did it. Finally, you had the conversation with your significant other. And the topic of discussion? Marriage. How exciting! There’s nothing quite like talking about spending the rest of your lives together. After all, it seems most girls have their weddings planned by the time they’re 6-and-a-half years old. However, you may not want to jump the gun too quick. Indeed, there are still some questions to ask before marriage.
There are four primary topics you need to discuss before you officially say “I do”:
- How will we manage our money?
- Do we want children?
- Do we have the same religious beliefs?
- How do we deal with our in-laws?
Now, some of you might think things will just pan out. I hate to burst your bubble, but nothing worth having just happens. It takes work and intentionality. And marriage is no different! Believe it or not, life doesn’t get easier after marriage. Additionally, marrying someone with different values is a recipe for conflict and strife. And no, I’m not just talking about how you load the dishwasher. I’m talking about your core convictions.
Therefore, it would be a good idea for you to take your significant other out to dinner. Look each other in the eyes and have a very real conversation. To start, I recommend these questions to ask before marriage.
1. How Will We Manage Our Money?
So, you come home from your honeymoon and you begin to imagine the marital bliss coming your way! At least, until you find out your spouse has $24,000 in credit card debt. And the $12,000 in student loans. Oh, and don’t forget that they don’t want to combine bank accounts with you. Budgeting? Forget it! Slowly, your marriage dream starts to turn into a nightmare!
Money fights and money problems are a leading cause of divorce in the United States. Therefore, it’s important that you and your soon-to-be-spouse discuss your finances before the wedding bells ring. This leads to a few additional questions to ask before marriage regarding your money:
How much debt do you have?
Now, debt is NOT a reason to not marry someone. However, it’s important to disclose any debt you might have to someone you intend to marry. After all, what happens to one of you inevitably affects the other. Therefore it’s foolish to attempt to hide any debt from your future spouse.
This is also a good time to discuss the best way to pay off your debt. Why? Because, “I have $42,000 in debt and don’t have a plan to do anything with it” sounds very different than, “I have $42,000 in debt, but I have a plan to pay it off within a couple of years.” Once you enter into matrimony, you can start to work together to pay it off quickly.
What are your financial goals and dreams?
Now, it’s okay to have some different goals and dreams. However, this is also a good time to discuss how your dreams might line up. Furthermore, you can begin to formulate some shared dreams as well!
Get together with your future spouse and have a vision meeting so you and begin to imagine a future together. Create a profound vision for what your life and your finances.
What does budgeting look like for us?
If you don’t have a budget, you set yourself up for financial failure. If you fail to budget with your spouse, you risk financial failure for your whole family. Get together with your significant other and discuss what it looks like to create a budget. And yes, disagreements will come. However, as time goes on, you can learn to overcome those disagreements.
How did our families handle money?
As the old saying goes, more is caught than taught. That’s because we learn more from our role models than we do from lectures. How we handle money is no different. If your parents handled money poorly, you’ll most likely handle finances poorly as well. Conversely, if your parent managed their money well, the pattern of good stewardship will most likely continue.
Money can be a subject of stress for some, while it can be a subject of normal conversation for others. Obviously, the latter is better. It’s time to set the pattern of open communication about finances early, which begins before marriage.
2. Do We Want Children?
Finding out that your spouse despises children is something you don’t want to find out after the honeymoon. On the contrary, that’s important information you need to know before you commit to spending the rest of your life with someone. This also brings a few more questions to ask before marriage:
How many children?
Two? Four? Maybe even twelve? In all honesty, it’s not just for one of you to decide. This is a decision you need to make together. Sure, it’s not always in your control. However, you can have a general idea of how many you’d like to have.
How will we discipline them?
Maybe this isn’t something you need to decide immediately. But it’s a good idea to keep a conversation going about discipline.
How far apart will we space them?
There’s no right or wrong answer to this question. But you need to discuss this together and have an idea of how far apart you want your kids to be.
What about childcare?
Will your spouse stay home with the kids? Will you have the financial means to do so? What about the possibility of daycare? Talk about these things early and often.
3. Do We Have the Same Religious Beliefs?
*Note: The primary audience for this website are Christians and those who have a Christian worldview. Therefore, I write with the assumption that most people who read this are Christians. However, even if you’re not a Christian, these are still good questions to ask before marriage.
Hopefully, after some time dating, you’ll easily know the answer to this question. If you and your significant other have vastly different beliefs about God and spiritual matters, it’s not likely that your marriage will work. Even within Christianity, there are some views that differ significantly. Those views can impact how you’ll raise your children, what you do with your money, and how you worship God. Here are a few questions to ask before marriage regarding spirituality:
What do you believe about, well, everything?
Talk about your theology, specific doctrinal beliefs, how you view the Bible, and anything else you can think of. Get down to the nitty-gritty of your beliefs. If your boyfriend or girlfriend doesn’t feel comfortable discussing spiritual matters, that’s an automatic red flag. Similarly, if you find their answers to be significantly different than yours, consider ending the relationship rather than melding your heart to them in marriage.
What church will we attend and how do we involve ourselves in community?
Discuss what church will look like for both of you. Moreover, decide together which church to attend and discuss why you want to go to a particular church. As a side note, church should never be a sideline activity. Rather, this is an opportunity to surround yourselves with a community that can speak into your lives.
How will we live out our faith together?
Do we have morning devotions together? What about praying together? How do we encourage one another to become more like Christ? These are all great questions to ask as you get closer to becoming one!
How will we handle conflict?
Conflict is inevitable whenever two sinners begin their lives together. You’ll find that grace and forgiveness are absolute necessities when conflict arises.
4. How Will We Handle Our In-Laws?
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” – Genesis 2:24
This is an awkward question, but it’s one of many necessary questions to ask before marriage. Even the most benign and loving in-laws can unwelcomingly insert themselves into situations. But the reality is you’re learning how to become one. Therefore, you need to learn how to honor your parents while also making your own life. This leads to a few more questions:
How often will we visit them?
Think through what it would look like to visit your in-laws. You might determine this based on where you live, where they live, and how close you are to them relationally.
How involved do we want them to be in our lives?
Some people have healthy relationships with their parents, while others don’t. Likewise, some have great parents, while others come from manipulative and abusive situations. Regardless, you’ll still want to set boundaries for how involved you want your in-laws to be in your lives. How often will you let them speak into major decisions? When do you ask for their advice? When do you ignore their advice? These are all good questions to consider.
Ask Questions Before Marriage: It’s Necessary and Healthy
Some people have problems with asking hard questions before marriage. However, it’s much better to ask the hard questions now rather than finding out the answers the hard way. True, there are things you won’t learn until after you say your wedding vows. But the things you find out shouldn’t be life-altering.
Marriage is one of the most wonderful gifts that God gives to us. Therefore, do your due diligence before you commit your life to another. Set yourself up for success rather than failure. Ask questions before marriage.
Books That Will Help You Ask Questions Before MarriageTry Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks
Do you love listening to audio books? Then I recommend signing up for Audible! Click the hyperlink and you’ll get a 30-day free trial and two free audio books!
The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller is THE BEST book on marriage I’ve ever read. This book covers a multitude of topics and ultimately highlights marriage as representative of the relationship between Christ and the Church.
Want to know what makes your spouse tick? The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman is the book for you! This will help you analyze how both you and your spouse give and receive love.
*This article contains affiliate marketing links. For more information, please read my disclaimer.