I'm a hopeless romantic, so I'd like to believe that love conquers all. But, in reality that's not really the case. Love takes work, time, and getting to know someone to the point where you understand them. It means knowing the answers to small, but important questions every couple should ask before marriage. These seem so inconsequential, but it's that level of familiarity that symbolizes love and a genuine interest in the other person, forming a bond that can withstand the test of time. Ok, now I'm sounding like a bit of a hopeless romantic.
When I look at the most successful unions amongst my friends and family, the couples who have been together for decades all seem to know the answers to the most specific questions, like their spouse's best friend from kindergarten (even if they are no longer a part of their lives), or their second favorite color. True, you may uncover these small mysteries about your beau in the years to come, but why not get a jump start on it all and ask them these seemingly insignificant questions before tying the knot?
Hopefully this list of questions will give you some more insight into the person that you are planning on spending the rest of your life with, or at least provide you with some entertainment while you go down memory lane. Here are TK small, but important questions every couple should ask before marriage.
1. What's Your Drink Order?
If either of you are running late to date night or at a work function, it's so convenient and sweet if you know each others' drink order. It's all about remembering the small things. The same goes for how you each take your coffee, and your go-to burrito order.
2. How Do You Two Argue?
According to an article from eHarmony by clinical psychologist Dr. Neil Clark Warren, arguing and fighting is good for your marriage and relationship. Dr. John M. Gottman told Elite Daily that fighting is the sign of a strong relationship. He goes on further to say that there are three different types of people when it comes to arguments—the person who wants to compromise, the person who wants to be heard, and the person who avoids conflict. Knowing how they handle issue and how you react to them to come to a solution will be important when it comes to agree on some of the bigger issues marriage brings. If you two can disagree, and talk it out it means you respect each other and are willing to see it through to the long haul.
3. Do I Know Of All Your Exes?
You don't have to have their little black book, but you don't want to thrown off guard if you awkwardly run into someone from their past. Elite Daily said that knowing their sexual history and who they've dated tells you about how they came to be the person they are. It's also an indicator of how open you two are in communicating.
4. Exactly How Crazy IS Your Family?
Do you like their family? Do they like you? By now you've most likely met their immediately family, but it's not a bad idea to be aware of those distant relatives too. You know, in case you run into the one member that's a little out there, you'll want to be prepared.
5. Do You Want a Joint Bank Account?
Don't assume that the answer is yes. A 2015 survey showed that money was the leading stressor in marriages and arguing about money early in a relationship can be a top predictor for divorce. Know who is going to handle a majority of the finances and if you two want to combine your accounts to pay for things you both use. Also ask how good they've been with money before, if you two are planning on any major purchases in the next year, and how you'll finance these. It's important to know how each of your singular budgets will change and impact a new joint income.
6. What Equals Cheating?
According to The Atlantic, porn is a deal breaker for some people. Know where their and your boundaries are. Would you be comfortable in an open relationship down the road? Are you OK with them going to strip clubs? Establishing boundaries in your marriage before getting there sets clear expectations for each partner. It's better to know than assume.
7. What's Your Love Language?
Understand how your partner communicates love and wants to be loved. Marriage counselor Dr. Gary Chapman established The 5 Love Languages, which breaks down how you like to receive love—touch, quality time, acts of service, gifts, or words of affirmation. That may mean they love holding your hand or they always get the door for you. Taking the test together will make you better at effectively showing how you love them.
8. What are Your #PowerCouple Goals?
Where do you two see yourselves in five years, 10 years, 50? Setting up goals early on is just the start. You probably have shared what your individual goals are, but it's also important to know what role you expect your partner to play in the context of these goals, and if they are equally demanding, if you should discuss prioritizing one before the other.
9. How Are We Under Pressure?
Whether they're pressures related to finance, health, career, or the loss of a relative, your marriage will undergo a lot of challenges, and it's possible you won't experience these hardships before you tie the knot. These challenges will either make both of you stronger as a couple or be the source of irritation and resentment. According to Psychology Today, knowing how to handle your stress and theirs will better help you navigate bigger problems in the future.
10. Can We Be Separate From Each Other?
Just because you're married doesn't mean you need to spend every waking moment together. Some couples told Today that they sleep in different bedrooms or even houses. Know when you two need a mini break from each other and what works best for your mental health, and if you can deal with having separate social lives in addition to a shared one. Celebrating your individuality and independence is just as important as finding who you are and will be as a married couple.
11. Do I Need to Shave?
Is it OK to stop sporting that Brazilian? Would you still find them attractive if they gained 30 lbs? Would they still find you attractive after gaining a couple crow's feet? There's a lot more to a successful marriage than physical attraction, but partners have different expectations of each other when it comes to health and grooming, and for some people, it's a very big priority. According to Pychology Today, physical attraction isn't the end all be all for a marriage because looks fade and wrinkles happen, but knowing where both of you expect from each other on a physical standpoint can avoid arguments in the future.
12. What Would Happen If We Stopped Having Sex?
You might be in a position where you can't imagine not wanting to jump each others' bones 24/7, but it can happen to anyone. And if it does, what will happen to the relationship? A study from psychologist Jim Pfaus showed that love and lust come from the same part of the brain, but they are different. Establishing an emotional connection beyond lust contributes to a long-lasting marriage. It's important to know that love comes in all forms and evolves over time, and that there is a love that exists without sex. Recognizing that and finding that can strengthen your relationship.
13. What Happens When We're 90?
Visualizing a future with your partner sets the tone of where you see them in the relationship and the roles you'll play in the future. Can you look past the furrowed brows, the sun spots, the grey hair, and the crow's feet? Do you imagine holding their hand in rocking chairs on the porch? Will you still love their laugh? Ask your partner to visualize this and see how it compares to your version.
14. What's Your Favorite Childhood Memory?
Or their most embarrassing moment in their first 10 years? According to researchers from Pennsylvania State University and Duke University, more than 700 children in the U.S. between kindergarten–25 had a significant correlation between their childhoods and their social skills. That means that our childhoods influence who we become as adults, and knowing the best of your partner's memories can help you foster those positive feelings in the marriage. It's also a great story to tell new friends or colleagues.
15. What Are Your Bad Habits?
More importantly, can you live with their bad habits? If it's really a problem, see if you can address it and talk about it freely before it digs under your skin and becomes a serious problem after you've walked down the aisle.
16. How Would Your Exes Describe You?
Though people grow after each relationship, knowing how past flames would describe your partner is a good precursor in seeing how they'll be in the future of your relationship. You can also see how they've grown and will continue to grow with you.
17. What's in Your Background Check?
You've probably tried to check this off your list on the first or second date, but knowing if you're OK with their past before saying I Do clears any suspicion or doubt you two have in each other. It's also an exercise in trust and openness.
18. Do You Like How I Smell?
You have pheromones that influence how you smell to others. This body chemistry, according to Elite Daily, determines genetic compatibility. If you think your fiancé smells of rotting fish, and it's not their cologne, it might be a clash of the pheromones.
19. Is The Silence Awkward?
If you two can sit in the same room or in the car in silence, and it feels calm and familiar instead of feeling like you need to say something or turn on some tunes, it may be a signal that you two are past worrying about filling gaps. Your relationship is deeper than small talk, and you both know that the silence between you two isn't a major void, but a deeper understanding of each other.
20. Will You Share Your Food?
Sharing is caring, right? You probably picked up on if they'd be willing to split a meal with you by the third date, but Bloomberg claims that not knowing food sharing habits can be the end of a marriage. So figure out whether you guys are willing to go halfsies now, before you find yourself yelling at each other at the restaurant.
21. Do You Think I'm Smart?
Intellectual capability can be one of the more essential needs a couple has, according to WBUR. It's often equated with drive and success. Finding your intellectual equal means that you'll be able to understand each other and have stimulating conversations. That doesn't mean an artist can't be with an aerospace engineer, but having a similar understanding for each other equates to a compatibility that goes beyond decades.
22. What's Your Favorite Joke To Tell?
Do they make you laugh? Do you make them laugh uncontrollably? What's their go-to joke? You'll be hearing it a lot so be prepared to laugh uncontrollably at it for the millionth time. According to Psychology Today, correctly using humor can help defuse uncomfortable situations, which can make a difference in your relationship. Understanding and appreciating their sense of humor will mean you'll have many laughs to come.
23. Who Will Cook?
This also applies to household chores and who will be the grill master or who will clean the gutter. Knowing your roles in a marriage sets up expectations of each other and how it will play out in the future. Also it will avoid so many fights in the future.
24. Where Do You Refuse To Shop?
According to Huffington Post, you vote with your dollar. If you're vehemently opposed to shopping at a certain place because of the the ethics and values that it has, but your fiancé doesn't mind, it's time to have a serious discussion.
25. What's Your Credit Score?
You don't have to ask them to file a credit report, but knowing this number is huge when thinking of buying a house, planning your honeymoon, or thinking of that second car.
26. Do You Recycle?
Developing household practices is another way of establishing rituals and rules in your marriage. Recycling is one of those that leads more into how environmentally forward you'd want to be, where you two want to shop for groceries, and what values you want to establish as spouses.
27. How Do You Like Your Eggs?
This will come in handy for birthday breakfasts in bed. How you and your partner like their eggs says a lot about your personality. According to a 2012 study, omelette eaters tend to be extremely tidy.
In reality, knowing how they like their eggs (or their preferred breakfast protein) is a tell on how well you know your partner and how much you have left to learn. Same goes for knowing their go-to lunch or the foods they hate.
28. Can You Handle Their Farts?
Everyone does it. It can be stinky, and sometimes it's loud. Being comfortable with bodily functions like this is a sign that you're comfortable enough to be your complete self, gas and all.
29. What's Your Favorite Family Tradition?
It's something you two can continue to practice or evolve once you start your own family. Sharing moments and rituals together is important because it's a part of their culture and values, says The Smithsonian. According to The University of Illinois, research shows that routine and traditions are part of healthy families, so be respectful of your partner's traditions and be open to making them your own.
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