7 Marriage Questions Every Engaged Couple Should Ask to Avoid Divorce
Before tying the knot, couples should make sure they have the same expectations going into marriage. When couples communicate their wants, needs, and expectancies, they’re far less likely to find themselves having major disagreements about big life decisions that could eventually result in divorce.
Even if certain topics don’t seem relevant now, they are almost certain to become so later down the line. When couples have different views on major issues, such as the desire to have children or other future goals, they might not be able to reconcile their differences in a way that leaves both individuals happy and fulfilled. For this reason, many divorces might be avoided if couples communicated these needs before they head to the altar.
For a lasting marriage, be proactive about protecting the relationship and discussing crucial questions about the future together:
1. How will we handle our finances after the wedding?
Once you’re married, you and your spouse will share in all things, including your finances. Before you find yourselves arguing about how to handle your bills, savings accounts, and so on, you and your spouse should discuss the full details of your individual finances and your intentions for the future. How do you each feel about money? How important is it? How do you each currently handle money? Will you combine your accounts? How much savings and/or debt does each person have? Who will manage your household finances, or will you do it together? Consider how you want to split expenses, how to invest, save, plan for retirement, which bank to use, how you will decide as a couple on spending and making big purchases, and so on.
2. Do you want children?
The decision to have children is a major one, and if you and your spouse don’t agree on this key point, it could spell trouble. Discuss your plans for a family, whether you wish to adopt, have children naturally, or not have any at all. If you both wish to have children, discuss when you both want to have them and how big of a family you’d like to have.
3. What is your parenting style?
If you do want children, talk about how you’d like to parent them, how you will share parenting responsibilities, your thoughts on schooling, and so on. Will both of you return to the workforce after you have children? Or, will one of you stay home with the children while they’re young? What are your thoughts on raising a happy family? Going through the details of these matters before they’re at hand can help prevent arguments and make each of your expectations clear.
4. What are your timelines for your life goals?
Share your visions for the future with each other. Where do you want to live? What do you see five and ten years into the future? Talk about if and when you want to buy a house, if and when you’d like to have children, travel, start your business, or take any other major steps towards your life goals. If, for example, one of you wishes to buy a house within the year, and the other wants to travel and wait to buy a house until a few years down the line, discuss your reasons and find an agreeable compromise.
5. What are your expectations when it comes to privacy?
People often have different comfort levels when it comes to privacy. It can quickly become problematic if one person begins to feel that the other is too private, or if one person feels that the other isn’t respecting his or her privacy. Try to agree to some guidelines that will build trust with each other. For instance, do you always want your spouse to let you know where they are and when they’re going to be home?
You also need to discuss privacy issues in regard to social media and digital communications. For instance, are you comfortable allowing your spouse to use your computer or look at your texts on your phone? Read more on the effects of social media use (and misuse) on marriage and relationships.
6. How will we divvy up household chores?
Household chores, such as laundry, vacuuming, dishes, grocery shopping, etc., are one of the most common causes of marital arguments – especially once children are in the picture. Before these little disagreements can drive a wedge between you and your significant other, discuss how you’d like to share the burden once you marry. Note that research has found that when one spouse has a disproportionate level of responsibility for household chores, you are at a greater risk of divorce.
7. How will we handle major challenges?
Obstacles will come your way—such things are inevitable. Marriages and families are not always easy. While not all challenges can be completely anticipated, you can discuss how you’d like to handle problems as a couple when they come your way. These challenges could include illness (physical and mental), intimacy issues, dealing with each other’s families, addiction, unemployment, taking care of an elderly family member, etc. Letting each other know how you feel about these issues and how you would want to handle them can make them a little easier to deal with in the future.
Communication is Key
While these kinds of discussions can be uncomfortable – or even shake the foundation of your relationship a bit, they are essential to making sure that you both understand what you are signing up for when you sign that marriage certificate. Divorce is one of the most difficult things that many people go through in life, so it is worth it to have these serious conversations about your marriage and future.