Before you get married there are obviously some things that you should know about your spouse. Even so most people do not sit down with a pre-defined list of premarital questions and effectively screen their spouse to be before saying I do. Most people rush to the alter in a state of frenzied excitement wearing rose colored glasses that depict a perfect life free of in-laws or argument and say “I do” when what they really should be saying is “I don’t .”
If you asked any married couple you would realize that almost every single one of them found something out about their spouse after they got married that threatened to rock the marriage at its foundation. Finding out your husband has a 12 year old son in another state or that he was locked up for a while in his early twenties is not a pleasant experience and one that can be avoided if you are prepared to ask some questions.
So why don’t we know these things? So many couples live together before marriage that you would think marriage is more a public display of commitment than something between two people. But marriage undoubtedly changes things! Much of this has to do with the fact that until the point of marriage many couples are still in that mode of thinking that they don’t have the responsibility to tell their partner certain things about their life. A silent line and boundary exists between couples who are dating and living together that quickly disappears once marriage happens. Suddenly, they can be themselves, be honest, and loosen their belt a little because they already got what they want.
Another reason is that there are a broad range of certain expectations people carry around in their minds when it comes to marriage. Some of this is generational while other thoughts on marriage are learned. Once you become the wife or the husband; expectations change! Many men and women expect a husband or wife to act differently than a girl or boyfriend. No matter how well you know someone; you never know everything about them and no matter how long you have been dating – every person feels that a spouse, life partner, husband or wife means something different and more than just a person you are dating. Perhaps the biggest reason that we don’t ask certain premarital questions is because at the time we don’t really care. We honestly believe that love, passion, chemistry, great sex and the excitement of marriage will get us through everything.
Important premarital questions don’t come up also because we have no idea what changes marriage will bring and really don’t know what to ask at the time. The truth is that you can never be too thorough and asking certain questions about your partner before marriage is a delicate combination of observing behaviors, posing hypothetical situations and listening to their responses in many instances. You don’t have to sit down at a table with a spiral notebook recording every little thing they say in response and even paying attention to the sighs or pauses they make that may or may not mean they are hiding something. It’s about knowing what YOU want, what YOU can live with and what YOU expect from marriage!
Just to get you started here are a few of the obvious conversations you should have. You need to know about previous marriages, children that might be lingering in the wood work, sexually transmitted diseases and things about their family. You need to know if they were abandoned by their parents or if they were adopted. You need to know about any serious illnesses or surgeries that they have had in life. You need to be aware of their money situation – including who they owe, what their credit score is and whether or not they have tax liens, student loans in default or any other monetary circumstances that become yours once you say I do.
Discussing Previous Partners
It isn’t a bad idea to know how many people they have slept with in their life and who their ex’s are. When you realize that you have moved right next door to your new husband’s high school sweetheart things could go array quickly.
Subjects like religion should be discussed and how these feelings will or might change if you have kids. Speaking of kids, it is important to know where your partner stands on having children. If they have been telling you for 3 years they don’t want kids; don’t think marriage will just change their mind! Premarital questions should involve things about both of your families and how you feel holidays should be spent. For many married people this is a sore spot that redevelops year after year! Questions about how the two of you think children should be raised, should a parent stay home and other issues like discipline (spanking) should be brought up as well. Don’t forget the in laws because they certainly don’t go away when a marriage happens! Talk about how each of you feels about the others family and what role the two of you feel they should have in your life. If you are dating a mama’s boy; it only gets worse when you are married!
Other things to ask about are things like pets and the friends in each other’s lives. Find out how much time your new husband plans to spend with that obnoxious boozing coworker of his once he is no longer a bachelor. Include in your list of premarital questions what your partner thinks a “perfect wife/husband” means and what they want to see change once you are eternally committed. Many men and women alike have preset gender roles stuck in their mindset when it comes to marriage and lots of couples fight and argue over who does the dishes and whose job it is to mow the grass!
The truth is that no matter how many premarital questions you have lined up to ask the perfect spouse to be; you will never truly know everything! But the more you do know ahead of time, the less resentful you will become as you find out the deep down nitty gritty details of the person you have decided to do more than just play house with! The person you are setting up house and home with will never be a perfect match; but they should at least be prescreened in order to avoid a tumultuous life and love.