Before You Say, “I Do” Premarital Questions
I remember sitting on the kitchen counter at age 5, watching my mother finish up the dinner dishes. Suddenly, and out of nowhere, she turned to me and said, “Girl, I’m going to tell you something. You better think long and hard about who you marry, because marriage is for life.” I sat there in silence wondering who’d led her to believe I was considering marriage. After all, I was only tentatively committed to kindergarten! But the message, which was repeated many times through my childhood and adolescence, stuck with me.
Marrying the wrong person can derail your child’s future happiness like no other mistake. And while we can’t make that decision for them, we can help them with these 5 Ways to Guide Your Child to Choose the Right Kind of Spouse. Then, when your kids are nearer the brink of popping—or hearing—the question, walk them through this list of questions to ask before saying “I Do.”
- Are they a morning person or a night person?
- Do they like to stay up late and sleep late or are they an “early to bed early to rise” type?
- Do they like to fall asleep to the TV or radio or do they prefer quiet?
- Are they neat or messy? Do they pick up after themselves?
- Can they relax when there are chores to be done or do they prefer working first, then relaxing?
- How often will they want to go out socially as a couple, on their own, or with their friends?
- How much TV do they watch?
- Where will they want to spend the holidays? With their family or yours?
- How often will you spend time with each other’s family?
- Do they like to exercise? How often? Do they expect you to exercise too?
- Do they drink alcoholic beverages? How often?
- Do they have the ability to make and keep friends? Do you like and respect their friends?
- Do they want to live in the same town or are they open to relocating?
- Do they want to live in the city, the country or the suburbs?
- How many children do they want?
- How do they want to handle childcare?
- How do they want to handle discipline?
- Would they be open to adoption?
- What are their religious beliefs?
- How often do they attend worship services?
- How often do they plan on attending services once you are married?
- Do they plan on giving financially to their place of worship? If so, how much?
- What faith will you teach your children?
- What role will faith play in your day-to-day lives?
- What are their views on divorce?
- In what circumstances would they consider divorce?
- Would they attend counseling if requested to by you? At what point would they consider that an option?
- What steps will they take to “affair-proof” your marriage?
- What are their views on socializing with opposite-sex friends?
- Do they currently have a savings plan? Do they actually have money saved?
- Do they have a retirement plan?
- Do they have debt? What kind of debt? Credit card debt? Student loans? Car loans?
- Have they borrowed from family and friends? Do they still owe them?
- Do they pay their bills on time?
- Who will handle the bill paying in your marriage?
- How much will you spend on gifts for family and friends?
- Do they have a budget plan for married life?
Ethics and Character
- Do they have clear-cut ideas about right and wrong or do they subscribe to situational ethics?
- Will they lie if it makes things more convenient for them? (For example: Calling in sick to work when they’re actually well, cheating or misleading in business deals, saying they never got a request for something when actually they simply forgot to follow through.)
- How would they describe a person of good character?
- Are they willing to do hard work or do they want instant success and quick money?
- Do they accept responsibility when they’ve made a mistake or try to blame others?
- Do they have a quick temper? How do they show it? Screaming? Pouting? Walking away? Throwing or breaking things? Driving fast? Physical violence?
- Are they open to discussing sensitive subjects or do they get defensive and withdraw?
- Do they take prescription drugs for mental illness? Would they be open to taking such medication? Would they be open to counseling?
- Do they hold a grudge or are they forgiving?
- Do they complain often about people, work, or other things?
- Do they criticize others — pointing out their flaws and shortcomings?
Tell us! What do you think are the top three characteristics it’s important for a husband to have?