Even if it seems like common sense to set clear expectations with your fiancé before getting married and starting a life together, it’s surprising how many engaged couples think that being in love equals having the same set of values.
Very few couples know the right questions to ask before marriage. They falsely believe they are going to go through marriage together as husband and wife, just as harmoniously as they navigated their relationship in the beginning.
But marriage brings new obstacles and hurdles to relationships that can pop up after a happy engagement.
So, before you tie the knot and get married, it’s important to sit down with your fiancé and ask each other deep questions about your past, present and future as a couple. You’ll be glad you did.
How should you go about asking your future spouse these questions, and how should you respond to their questions for you?
Find a time when the two of you can sit together alone relaxed and without distractions or pressing concerns. You can make a fun evening of it and go through the entire list of questions below all at once, or take your time visiting the questions section by section over the course of a few days or weeks.
The purpose of these tough questions is to make sure you and your partner are on the same page, so the most important thing is to keep an open mind and approach both your own answers and those your partner gives from a place of authentic curiosity, honesty and trust.
Whether you’ve been together for years or perhaps not as long, you’ve probably never thought about discussing at least some of these topics together. These questions are meant to help you go deeper in your relationship, discover what you have in common (or don’t), and if you really are a good fit for one another.
If you’re already engaged, now is a great time to ask each other these questions, but it’s even better if you and your partner have a serious relationship, want to have the talk about marriage, and are considering taking the next step.
Be sure to keep an open mind, an open heart, and be willing to get to know your partner on another level.
Here are 100 questions to ask before marriage that will affect your future together as husband and wife.
Questions About Having Children and Starting a Family
Starting a family is one of the most important topics to have covered before you get married.
If the two of you aren’t on the same page about whether or not to have kids, how to raise them if you want to, and how you feel about things like medical treatment, education and mental health, years down the line you could find yourselves facing deeply serious dilemmas.
1. Do you want to have children?
2. How many?
3. When do you want to start trying?
4. What are you willing to do if we can’t have children naturally (IVF treatments, surrogate, egg donation, sperm donation, adoption)?
5. What if we agree either not to have or to have kids, and I change my mind?
6. What are the three most important values you are planning to teach our children?
7. What kind of parenting approach are you planning to implement?
8. What kind of punishment is appropriate or not appropriate?
9. When we start having children, how do you envision your share of responsibilities?
10. What is your perspective on having one of us being a stay-at-home parent?
11. If you or I have children from a previous relationship, how do you envision our blended family?
12. If you have kids from a previous relationships, what role are you willing to take or would like me to take with the step-children?
13. How do you feel about my family?
14. Who is your favorite and least favorite family member on my side and on your side, and why?
15. How often are we going to visit or receive visits from our families?
16. How do you expect to spend the holidays?
17. Do you plan to live near your parents or move near them as they get older?
Questions About Intimacy
While a fulfilling sex life is essential to a healthy relationship, intimacy extends beyond sex.
Being in sync when it comes to physical pleasure, as well as understanding what each of you needs to have your emotional needs met, will bring you both closer, whereas a lack of communication in this area is sure to tear you apart.
18. What are your expectations regarding sex?
19. How open are you to telling me if you are not satisfied sexually?
20. What do you enjoy most about sex?
21. Do you consume pornography and, if so, how do you feel about it?
22. What turns you on most about me?
23. Have you ever have doubts about your sexuality?
24. Do you think I am physically affectionate enough in our relationship?
25. Do you think you can trust me enough to discuss our sexual differences, concerns or fantasies?
26. Is there anything that is off limits sexually?
27. Do you agree to bring up any attraction you are feeling outside of our relationship before something significant develops?
Questions About Dealing with Conflict
Marriage is full of ups and downs, and married couples will no doubt get into arguments throughout the course of the relationship.
It’s how you deal with this conflict that will determine if your relationship has the strength to get through the tough times.
28. What is your conflict style — avoidant, accommodating, compromising, or something else?
29. How did your family deal with conflict growing up?
30. How do you usually express anger?
31. How comfortable are you with having arguments or disagreements?
32. What do you think our perpetual conflicts are (those based in personality or lifestyle differences)?
33. What part of me is most annoying to you?
34. What would be an example of a resolvable conflict in our relationship?
35. Can you think of an example of a conflict we had that you felt we dealt with successfully?
36. What would be unacceptable to you in a disagreement?
Questions About Relationships and Commitment
Marriage is obviously a long-term commitment, so questions about this topic ensure both partners are comfortable and feel safe in their relationship.
Every partner has certain expectations, and depending on the situation, these questions can help you both better understand the needs of the other.
37. What was a time when you felt most connected and loved in our relationship?
38. How can we make a conscious decision to tell each other if we feel we’re being taken for granted?
39. What does our commitment mean to you?
40. What is the most romantic thing we have done together, and why?
41. Why do you want to be married, and why do you want to be married to me?
42. What are the three things you most appreciate about me?
43. What are the three things you most admire about me?
44. What first attracted you to me?
45. How do you envision your life in five years? In 10? In 20?
46. What is your definition of infidelity?
47. What do you love about me that you hope never changes?
48. What do you think you will have to give up when we get married or move in together?
49. Is there anything you would like me to change or give up after we get married?
50. What kind of partner do you aspire to be?
51. Do you need to have some time alone and, if so, how often?
52. Are you willing to schedule one evening a week to regularly sit down with each other and catch up about deep stuff?
53. What support do you expect from me in hard times (illness, death, unemployment), and what does that support look like?
Questions About Finances and Money
Financial issues are one of the leading causes of divorce. This topic can be uncomfortable and stressful, but making sure you have a similar financial plan will save you time and conflict.
Answering these difficult questions honestly will give you more clarity about your expectations.
54. How much money do you make?
55. How much debt do you have (student loans, credit card, mortgage), if any?
56. How comfortable are you borrowing money?
57. What was your family’s attitude towards money, and how do they resemble to yours?
58. Are you more a saver or a spender?
59. Are we going to make it a priority to save money together?
60. Do we sign a prenuptial agreement before we get married?
61. Do you agree to consult with me any significant expense ahead of time, even if you are planning to use your own money?
62. Are you comfortable creating a budget for our married life together?
63. How are we going to share the expenses after we get married?
64. Are we going to have a joint bank account?
65. If you have an ex or children from previous marriages, what are your financial obligations to them?
66. Do you have any other financial obligations to another person, whether for legal or moral reasons, that I should know about?
67. What is important to you financially — owning a house, a nice car, expensive clothing, traveling?
68. What is more important for you, the size of a house or its location?
69. Do you plan to buy or rent?
70. How important is contributing to charity to you, and which charities are your favorites?
Questions About Communication
Couples who don’t openly communicate run into problems, causing a disconnect and feelings of carelessness.
Understanding how your partner handles their emotions is a good indicator of how they approach conflict resolution.
72. How comfortable are you with me sharing my feelings, even if they are negative?
73. How do you feel when I disagree with you?
74. Would you tell me a white lie to avoid hurting my feelings?
75. Is there something in the way I say things when I’m angry that makes you feel criticized?
76. Do you think I nag too much?
77. Have I ever disappointed you or caused you pain?
78. Have we talked through those times and resolved them, or are they still affecting our relationship?
79. Is there anything about me that attracts you now but might annoy you over the years?
Questions About Work and Career
Before getting married, couples might have an idealized vision of a relationship in which there is always plenty of quality time to be spent together.
But in day-to-day life, it’s essential for spouses to support each other’s careers and professional growth as well. Whether it’s a new job or working late, couples need to find the harmonious balance that works for them.
80. If I get offered my dream job in another part of the country, would you be willing to move with me?
81. Would you be OK with me quitting my job to take care of our children?
82. What if I can’t stand my work situation, and I just need a break?
83. What are your career goals in both the near and distant future?
84. Would you be understanding if I worked long hours for extended periods of time?
Questions About Lifestyle Preferences
To deal with the minutia of daily life, partners should prioritize each other’s personal preferences and interests.
This can be as simple as making their preferred dinner, or as complicated as doing house chores.
85. What does your ideal day off look like?
86. What does your ideal vacation look like?
87. How do you feel about my single friends? Would you be OK if I partied with them once in a while?
88. What is your attitude towards drugs and drinking?
89. How do you feel about my cleanliness and neatness standards?
90. How will we divide the chores?
91. Are you OK hiring help to clean?
92. Who will do the shopping and cooking in our relationship?
93. How often do you plan to eat out? And what kind of restaurants do you enjoy most?
94. How important is for you to eat at the dinner table, with no TV or electronic distractions?
Questions About Faith and Spirituality
It could be that neither of you are religious, or one partner may be more spiritual than the other.
This is a particularly essential topic to discuss and respect is the priority here. And when your partner feels respected, it allows your relationship to grow.
95. What are your spiritual or religious beliefs?
96. How important is for you to keep a spiritual or religious practice?
97. How involved are you in your spiritual or religious community?
98. How much do you expect me to be involved in your spiritual or religious activities?
99. Do you expect our children to be raised with a certain spiritual or religious faith and, if so, what would that look like?
100. Do you expect our children to go through certain religious rituals, such as a baptism, bar or bat mitzvah, or first communion?
Miriam Torres Brinkmann, PhD is a family and marriage therapist based in San Diego, CA, who helps men and women build healthy relationship habits that lead to lasting love, marriages, and successful families.