During “Love Letters to Kellie” this week, one young woman wrote in with a big problem. She got a new job that will have her moving to a yet-to-be-determined city next year but her boyfriend of four years isn’t willing to move with her. Another woman wrote that she’s been engaged for three years but her fiancé won’t let her set a wedding date because her finances are a mess.
These two letters reminded me of a list of questions created by a counselor for couples who are considering marriage. I actually printed them out and brought them to a dinner date with my then boyfriend when we started to talk seriously about it!
Some of the questions are very uncomfortable. Some of them are based on scenarios you will probably never have to face. These may lead to other questions that the counselor didn’t even consider. But these are real issues that could come up and it’s better to put it all on the table before you say “I do.”
- Have we discussed whether or not to have children, and if the answer is yes, who is going to be the primary care giver?
- Do we have a clear idea of each other’s financial obligations and goals, and do our ideas about spending and saving mesh?
- Have we discussed our expectations for how the household will be maintained, and are we in agreement on who will manage the chores?
- Have we fully disclosed our health histories, both physical and mental?
- Is my partner affectionate to the degree I expect?
- Can we comfortably and openly discuss our sexual needs, preferences and fears?
- Will there be a television in the bedroom?
- Do we truly listen to each other and fairly consider one another’s ideas and complaints?
- Have we reached a clear understanding of each other’s spiritual beliefs and needs, and have we discussed when and how our children will be exposed to religious/moral education?
- Do we like and respect each other’s friends
- Do we value and respect each other’s parents, and is either of us concerned about whether the parents will interfere with the relationship?
- What does my family do that annoys you?
- Are there some things that you and I are NOT prepared to give up in the marriage?
- If one of us were to be offered a career opportunity in a location far from the other’s family, are we prepared to move?
- Does each of us feel fully confident in the other’s commitment to the marriage and believe that the bond can survive whatever challenges we may face?