3 Questions To Ask Your Partner About Marriage, To See If You're On The Same Page
Getting married can be a really big step in a relationship. I know that's not exactly a hot take, but the fact is that it can be a big deal. It's exciting and scary and wonderful and all of the other adjectives. Thankfully, there are ways to make it a little less intimidating, and that's by having some very real conversations beforehand to make sure that you and your future spouse are on the same page about the big things. How do you even start those kinds of talks, though? It helps to have a few questions to ask your partner about marriage that will naturally spur them, and will also help you get down to the deeper answers that really matter.
Apart from helping with some premarital jitters, Dr. Gary Brown, a prominent marriage counselor in Los Angeles, tells Elite Daily these conversations are vital. "You and your partner are getting ready to potentially spend the rest of your lives together. It certainly makes a great deal of sense to gain some deeper understanding of who you are and who they are before taking the next step — well before you are even engaged," he explains. "You also need to be prepared to realize that the person you are thinking about marriage with may actually turn out not to be a good match for you. Or you for them. In either case, it is far better to learn these things well in advance of any commitment to living together or getting engaged."
Here is what Dr. Brown recommends asking your partner to help get the two of you on the same page pre-marriage.
1. How do you feel about marriage?
First things first, Dr. Brown says it's important to know how your partner feels about marriage in general. Is it something they want? Are they excited at the prospect? “You want to know if they are enthusiastic about the idea of marriage to begin with. If they are currently lukewarm, at best, to the idea then it is probably not a good idea to move forward. If the idea of marriage is something that clearly appeals to them, the two of you may be on the right track,” he explains.
2. How do you feel about having a family?
It’s also essential to have an idea of what life after marriage with your partner will include, specifically if you are both on the same page about having a family. Also, since we all come from a set of lived life experiences, how our history and baggage may play into those decisions is something Dr. Brown says is essential to know. “It would be good to know how they feel about the idea of family in general, and what baggage of unfinished business they may be carrying that could impact any marriage that they might enter,” says Dr. Brown. “On the flip side, you also want to know what psychological strengths and positive associations they have about marriage so that the two of you can build on that,” he adds.
3. What are your “must haves” in a marriage?
There is one last big question Dr. Brown says you need to ask, and that's what your partner considers to be an essential part of marriage. In other words, what it is that they need in order to be happy and fulfilled by the relationship. “You want to know their bottom line on issues that are important to them. You don't want to enter a marriage, only for one or both of you to realize that your most basic and fundamental must haves are not going to be met,” he explains.
Obviously, these questions are just the beginning of conversations, and likely will lead you to a lot of interesting and more nuanced places, but they're still a great place to start. However, if you begin to find that there are some disconnects about what the two of you want and expect, don’t panic. Dr. Brown offers one last piece of advice. “In this day and age, many couples are choosing to enter premarital counseling to help them understand what it is they're both wanting and needing,” he says. “If your partner is open to couples counseling, that can be a very good sign if your general life values are basically in alignment. Knowing specific skills about how to resolve conflict is absolutely crucial.”
Communication is a cornerstone for a happy and healthy relationship, and it starts long before you head down the aisle. The key takeaway here is to not be afraid to ask the big questions, and give you partner the room to feel safe answering them. You may not always like or agree with what they have to say, but it's a great way to start, not to mention a chance to understand and resolve your issues as early on as possible. This can only help build a great foundation for a marriage, if that's what you decide you ultimately want.