You’ve popped the question and celebrated the engagement. Now, it’s time to plan the wedding. During the dating season, you’ve learned about what this person loves, fears and dreams about. You are looking toward the future with hope and excitement.
But before you say “I do” there are some premarital counseling questions you should and your partner should work through.
Premarital counseling offers a way to talk about serious life decisions and important beliefs. You can find yourselves on the same page on issues or you might realize you are on two dramatically different pages altogether. Either way, it’s helpful to work through certain topics.
Here are the who, what, where, when, and why to consider before you walk down the aisle and make a lifelong commitment to each other.
Who am I marrying?
No, this isn’t meant to be a trick question. This is digging below the surface to ask yourself some questions. What do you like about them? What are their quirks? What are their vices? Is there anything you are secretly hoping will change? As you ask yourself these questions, securities and insecurities will arise. An example of a security might be your partner’s level of patience or his ability to remain level-headed in stressful situations.
On the other hand, insecurities are those little red flags you’ve noticed in the relationship. For some couples, past sexual relationships are a big insecurity and are often not discussed as they should be. Another insecurity might be that your partner isn’t equipped to manage finances. Most couples feel uncomfortable talking about these subjects and need help approaching the different topics with grace.
Faith and values are other areas to consider when understanding who you are marrying. Is spirituality an important part of their life? Do you share the same beliefs on issues? Where do you stand when it comes to faith? Most couples assume these concerns will simply work themselves out, but assumptions can cause major conflicts in relationships.
Finally, take the time and answer these questions yourself. Reflect on what is important to you and who you are as a person. You should be fully known and truly loved in marriage.
What does marriage mean to me?
Marriage means different things to different people. For example, in some cultures having multiple wives is acceptable. In other cultures, divorce is forbidden. What are your personal beliefs about marriage? Is it a lifelong commitment to one person for you? Nobody enjoys asking these questions before marriage, but it will help position you for a fruitful marriage.
How do you envision your roles in marriage? Will holidays be divided between families? How will you merge your individual routines and styles when living together? Once you have an idea of what marriage means to you, do you see any obstacles that will prevent you from achieving your vision of marriage? Bring up any obstacles you might see entering into marriage. Your partner might have some solutions to the obstacles you are pondering.
Where do you see your marriage in 5 to 50 years?
It’s one thing to decide to get married. It’s another thing to decide what the next years will look like as husband and wife. It’s always good to discuss tentative future plans. Do you want to have kids? If so, by what means? Foster? Adoption? Natural birth? What are your vocational goals? Do you want to travel or stay put?
If Christian, how do you want to be involved in your church? Proverbs 29:18 tells us, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Goals and desires change as life progresses. One season of life you might want to travel around the world, but in the next season, you find yourself wanting to settle down and start a family.
Are there things you enjoy doing together now? How will you continue to do these things as life gets hectic and throws everything off balance? Are you each willing to sacrifice to help the other achieve specific goals? The point is to have a loose vision for yourself and your marriage.
Thinking about the future helps to manage expectations and strengthen the relationship.
When are we getting married?
Maybe you are finishing up your law degree or you are heading overseas to work as an expatriate for one year. It’s important to know what season of life you are planning to get married in. Are finances impeding you from getting married? It might be time to discuss other cost-effective options so not to delay marriage.
Maybe you prefer a short engagement, but your partner plans on staying engaged for at least two years. It’s important to be honest with your partner about your desires and work on a mutually satisfying solution. The engagement timeline should be agreed upon by both people.
Why are we getting married?
Sometimes this question is easy to overlook, but you need to ask yourself, “Why am I getting married?” A lot of couples are ditching the marriage vows and deciding to be life partners instead. This decision normally stems from seeing broken marriages during their childhood.
Many couples are simply saying marriage isn’t worth it. More than merging two lives, marriage is a merging of two families. Are you prepared to take on your future spouse’s family stress too?
It’s normal to become defensive when someone asks you, “Why are you getting married?” Try not to see it as an accusation, but as an opportunity to explain confidently why you are choosing marriage.
The goal of premarital counseling is to create more security and confidence in your future relationship. Don’t feel bad if it’s hard to answer some of the questions. Premarital counseling offers you a safe place to navigate some of these complex questions.
Take your next steps today
Now that you’ve walked through some of these questions, the next step is to involve a premarital counselor in the process. A premarital counselor will help you both to dive deep into serious questions and concerns. Working through premarital counseling questions is a way you can solidify your relationship, unite together, and walk down the aisle with more assurance than ever before.
“In love,” Courtesy of Chelseashell, pixabay.com, CC0 License; “To Do List”, Courtesy of Breakingpic, Pexels.com, CC0 License; “Stand by Me,” courtesy of Alysa Bajenaru, unsplash.com, Public Domain License; “With this ring I thee wed,” courtesy of Pete, flickr.com, Public Domain