A little while ago I started this series of conversations to have before you get married. This came out of my husband and I connecting while going through the marriage counseling process. This was something that I honestly didn’t want to do but it was one of the best decisions that we made prior to getting married. There were a lot of topics that we were on the same page for but other conversations we didn’t even think to have. After going through that whole process I sat down and wrote a list for us which turned into this series. I do believe that if you’re going to have a successful marriage, these are conversations that you need to have. You don’t have to agree with them but it’s important to talk them through and see what your partner may value.
The list ended up so long that it needs to be in multiple parts and you’ll see them listed below. Breaking it into parts is probably a better way to go about having this conversation with your partner because there is a lot to talk about and hopefully some of these will encourage a deeper conversation. I will say again that some of the questions could be triggering because of content (mental disorders, abuse, sex, etc). Although there are some really tough topics, I do think it’s important to share what you can and be on the same page together. Grab some coffee, sit down in a comfy spot and start slowly working through the questions. Some are heavy so be prepared to really talk things through. If you would like to see the first list in the series click here.
Here’s what to expect.
Past relationships, physical and mental health history, work, & finances
Home, everyday life, meals, communication, gender roles, & Parenthood
Education, appearance, & sex
Extended family, holidays, friends, pets & fur babies, community, & charity
Religion, politics, race & ethnicities, legal history, & military
Media, leisure & free time, travel, & vacations
So let’s begin!
- If you could live anywhere in the world (money not an issue), where would you want to live?
- Where do you want to live ultimately and realistically, in a rural, urban, or suburban community?
- Do you prefer to rent or do you ever plan or wish to purchase a home?Do you view your home as your sanctuary?
- When you’re home do you like the house quiet or are you happy to have music playing or noise? Does this depend on the day or time?
- Is it important to you to have a space in your home that is entirely yours. (An office, library)
- What is your décor style and are you able to compromise on it at all?
- With no restrictions, limits or money concerns, what does your ideal home look like?
- How important is it to you that the home is clean? What does clean look like for you?
- Do you clean your home or do you typically hire someone/would like to hire someone?
- What are your feelings about having a television in the bedroom? As well as other electronics?
- When you go to bed, do you sleep in complete darkness, do you need complete quiet or do you need a light/television or some kind of white noise?
- If something needs maintenance or to be fixed, will you hire someone or do you prefer one of us to do it? Even if we haven’t fixed something like that before?
- What is your favorite season of the year and why?
- Do you have a preference for how long and what type of decorations there are for big holidays?
- Do you find it important to host parties or events at home for certain holidays?
- What is your idea of a fair division of labor in your household?
- Are you a night owl or a morning bird?
- Does it matter to you if we don’t have the same sleep schedule?
- How much sleep do you need every night?
- Every day do you prefer to be clean showered and wearing clean clothes before the start of the day?
- How about weekends? If this a preference for only adults or also children? How about on vacations?
- How physically affectionate do you think you are as a partner?
- What does the perfect day for relaxation look like to you?
- Do you consider yourself spontaneous or do you need to plan everything out?
- How do you feel about surprise or spontaneous plans?
- When something wonderful happens or an achievement, how do you like to celebrate it? Who do you like to celebrate with?
- When something tragic or sad happens how do you handle the situations and mourning? What expectations do you have?
- What do you believe is a roadblock or obstacle in building a loving, passionate, caring, and strong marriage?
- What do you need to do to overcome those?
- What is your pet peeve or something that makes you angry? How do you handle these emotions and feelings?
- If we were to disagree, would you fight or withdraw from the situation? Is there another way you react?
- What are your views on fighting and how the conflict should be handled?
- What are your opinions on communication styles?
- Are you someone who needs to go to bed angry and start new the next day or do you need to sort things out as they come to light?
- How do you prefer to be communicated and spoken to?
- What brings you joy and how do you react or what do you do?
- What can take away your joy or happiness?
- What do you believe is your greatest limitations and your greatest strengths in life? Why do you think this?What are some of your fears?
- Do you have any securities in relationships, or with yourself? How do you act when you feel insecure? How do you make yourself feel secure again, what can your partner do to make you feel secure?
- Are you someone who needs words of affirmation in your relationship?
- What is something that always brightens your day and makes your heart light and smile?
- What makes you feel alive and grateful for the day?
Food and Meals
- How do you feel about meals and food?
- When you were a child, did your family value mealtimes? Was this a point in the day where everyone came together?
- Were mealtimes optional as a child?
- How do you like to eat your meals? Sitting at the table, sitting in front of the television, while doing work, etc?
- Do you enjoy baking and cooking?
- Do you expect to have homemade food everyday?
- How often do you like to eat out and how often do you like to have fast food?
- How do you prefer food to be cooked and handled for holidays?
- Are there any traditional meals that your partner needs to learn how to make
- Do you have any dietary restrictions, allergies, or preferences that limits the food you can and cannot eat?
- Do you expect others in your family to follow these dietary preferences and restrictions?Specifically are you vegan or vegetarian? Is it okay to have animal product in the same refrigerator or cupboards?
- Do you plan to use food as a bribe for children (ie. We’ll get ice cream if you do xyz)?
- Do you use food as an expression of love in your family?
- Do you have a healthy relationship with food? What are your worries or concerns?
- Has mealtimes or food ever been a strain on a relationship?
- Do you prefer a tough love communication style or a softer approach?
- Is it ever appropriate to yell at each other?
- If there is a disagreement, do you prefer to talk it out, leave it be, or blow off some steam and then revisit?
- Are there any words that are off limits?
- How do you feel about cursing? In front of children?
- How do you communicate love? (Gifts, acts of kindness, telling your partner)?
- How do you want your partner to communicate with you?
- Do you want your partner to keep what you say private or can you discuss conversations with others?
- Are you a private person or an open book? If you are a private person, do questions help you open up more?
- Do you prefer texting, messaging, or phone calls to communicate throughout the day?
- How do you feel about your partner contacting you while you’re at work? With friends?
- How much time do you spend on your smartphone/ipad/computer a day?
- Do you always have your phone with you?
- While together should phones be away? (Dinner, out on date, in bed, etc)
- Do you chat on online message boards or chatrooms?
- Do you have any apps that help you meet others? (Tinder, etc)
- Do you feel it is appropriate to talk to other men/women online?
- Has your social media or phone caused tension in your relationships?
- Do you have a snapchat or other private messaging accounts?
Gender Roles & Gender Equality
- How were you brought up to view gender roles as a child?
- Does gender roles spill over into work? (Are only men supposed to be working)
- How would you feel if your partner made more money than you?
- Are the household chores responsible for only one gender?
- Who should be responsible for cooking and baking?
- How important is gender equality and what does this mean to you?
- How do you feel about stay at home moms/dads?
- Do you believe in “traditional” family values and what does this mean to you?
- What kinds of values will you teach your children about gender roles?
- How will you teach children about sexuality and how sexuality is presented in the media and how this impacts different genders?
- Has gender roles ever played a role in relationship complications?
- How important is having children to you?
- How many children would you want and when do you want children?
- If there are fertility problems, are you interested in pursuing fertility treatments, surrogacy, adoption, fostering, etc?
- Would the decision of sterilization be made together if desired (vasectomy or having tubes tied)?
- What are your views on birth control and whose responsibility is it?
- What are your views on unplanned pregnancies?
- How do you feel about abortion and a woman’s choice?
- Should your partner have a say in any decision relating to an unplanned pregnancy?
- How would you handle learning early on in the pregnancy that there may be a disability or defect that will impact the quality of life of the child?
- Do you have children with another person? Have you ever given children up for adoption?
- How do you view home births vs hospital births vs c- section?
- What are your views on a medicated birth?
- What are your views on breastfeeding and formula feeding? Is it appropriate to breastfeed in public?
- Should a mother stay home full time with baby? When can she return to work?
- Do you believe in male circumcision?
- Do you believe in vaccinations?
- Will children be homeschooled?
- What kind of discipline do you believe is acceptable?
- Do you believe in teaching children about consent young? (Not forcing a child to hug a relative or friend, explaining that if a friend doesn’t want to hug them it’s okay, etc)
- How do you want to approach teaching children about sex and about body anatomy?
- Do you plan on having the same rules and expectations for boys and girls?
- How would you handle it if you knew your child’s friend has a household that has guns?
- How will you handle approaching your child when you know their friends are a negative influence?
- How do you plan on talking to your child about drugs and alcohol?
- If you’re taking trips out of the US (where drinking could be as early as 16) is it okay for your teenager to drink?
- How will you handle the discussion when you find out that your teen is sexually active?
- If you have a daughter will you be open to discussing birth control early on?
- Is it acceptable for her to be on it for things like acne?
- When do you plan on letting your kids start chores?
- Will you give an allowance for chores?
- When do you think it’s appropriate for a teen to get a job if at all?
- Will you be open to having your child get a driving license?
- How religious would you like to raise your children?
- Is it important for them to make decisions and commitments including communion, confirmation, bat/bar mitzvah?
- How will you handle if a parent or in-law disagrees with your parenting style?