Marriage. It’s one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in your life. But many couples miss the opportunity to ask their future spouse important questions before getting married.
And I get it. When you’re starry-eyed and in love, it’s easy to jump right into wedding planning and daydreaming about the future. But the truth is, to build a strong foundation for your marriage and enjoy a thriving life together, you’ll need to put in some intentional work on the front end.
Wherever you are in your relationship, it’s never too early to ask these questions (which, by the way, are not a substitution for good premarital counseling).
Questions to Ask Before Marriage About Money
1. How will we handle money?
Guys, money is one of the most important things to talk about before marriage because money is one of the biggest things spouses fight about, according to our State of Mental Health 2022 report. And those money fights are a big cause of divorce.
This is the time to be completely open about your money situation. No secrets. The point here is to understand each other’s attitudes about money and habits for giving, saving and spending.
The Dr. John Delony Show helps people through real-life marriage challenges. Listen now!
The best—and I mean the best—way to get on the same page with your future spouse about handling money is taking a Financial Peace University class together. You can take a class online or in person, which is what my husband, Winston, and I did when we first got married.
2. How much debt will we have to pay off?
You and your future spouse also need to talk about how much debt each of you is going to bring into the marriage. And we’re not talking about vague stuff like, “Oh yeah, I know he has some credit card debt from college.”
You need specifics. Like, “He’s got $42,321 in debt between student loans and credit card debt. He cut up the cards and started paying off student loans before we ever met, and he’s got a plan to be debt-free in 22 months.”
Those are the kinds of details you need. Don’t be afraid to get into the nitty-gritty.
3. How will we make a budget?
Notice how this one isn’t will we make a budget. It’s how will we make a budget. That’s because budgeting isn’t optional, y’all! You and your future spouse must make a budget every month. Yes, really.
I’ll be honest, I don’t like making a budget—that’s more Winston’s thing. But I do love having a budget because it gives Winston and me permission to spend. And that means no money fights, since we have a plan for our money every month.
You can read all about how to make a budget here, but my favorite place to start is downloading the EveryDollar app on your phone.
Questions to Ask Before Marriage About Your Future Spouse
4. How are our personalities different?
You guys, this is a big one. Your individual personalities will affect everything from how you handle conflict to what makes you feel truly loved.
I’m a total nerd when it comes to learning about different personality types and taking tests like the Enneagram and DISC. I find it fascinating and fun. And this kind of self-awareness has helped me in my own personal growth as well as my marriage.
Another great way to learn about each other’s personality styles is to grab some Questions for Humans Conversation Cards and spend an evening learning about your future spouse while laughing a whole lot. (I recommend the Dating deck if you really want to get to know each other.) My friend Dr. John Delony wrote some really fun questions for y’all.
5. What are our fears?
Fear is normal. But if we don’t talk about our fears, it can feel like we’re all alone and nobody else worries about the same things we do. But that’s rarely actually true! You need to talk to your future spouse about what you fear in life, and you need to ask them about their fears. Not only will it help you grow closer as a couple, but it may also help you find some peace in knowing someone else feels the same way you do.
6. What are our goals?
What must be true for you to make your dreams a reality in your marriage? That’s the lens you should look at your lives (and your money) through. If you have a dream of adopting six golden retrievers and moving to the country someday, what would it look like to save up for that goal together? Maybe retiring early and traveling around the country in a camper van is your picture-perfect future. How much do you need to invest each month to hit that goal?
Questions to Ask Before Marriage About Family
7. Are we going to have kids?
This is another one of the most important things to discuss before marriage. Dig into each other’s expectations about having kids and make sure you’re on the same page. Here are some good specific questions to ask before marriage about kids:
- How many kids do we want to have?
- How close together do we want to have them?
- What values do we want to pass on to our children?
- How should we discipline our kids?
- Who will care for the kids? Will one parent stay home?
- Do we want to pay for our kids’ college education?
8. What are our religious views?
If you share the same faith, it’ll be easier for you to stay together. When your faith is aligned, so are your value systems. This is what will help you navigate life’s ups and downs—that you share the same guiding principles.
9. What boundaries do we want to have with our in-laws?
You really need to find out what you’re getting into with your in-laws. How much do each of you want them involved in your life? Lay out your expectations up front.
I know this isn’t the easiest thing to talk about before marriage, but here’s why it’s so important: You want to honor your parents while separating from them and becoming one as a couple. If you don’t agree about what this looks like from the get-go, you may be headed for real trouble.
Questions to Ask Before Marriage About the Wedding
10. What type of wedding do we want?
The first tip I have when it comes to wedding planning is to decide what type of wedding you want. Do you want it outside? Do you want it in a church? Casual? Formal? How many people? Figuring all that out by asking the right questions will make the rest of your wedding planning process so much smoother.
11. What is our wedding budget?
In case you haven’t heard, weddings cost a lot. Like, we’re talking almost $40,000 on average.1 Woah! Your wedding doesn’t have to be nearly that expensive though. You and your future spouse can decide on a spending limit and create a wedding budget—yep, there’s that word again—just like you would for your household at the beginning of the month.
Oh, and one more thing: Don’t go into debt by using credit cards or taking out wedding loans. Don’t do it!
12. What are our wedding priorities?
As you make your budget, another before-wedding question to ask yourself is, what’s most important to you? That will help you decide how to build your wedding budget. For example, do you really want a live band or would a DJ at a lower price get the job done? Is having a professional photographer a must or do you want to go the DIY route and rely on a trusted friend with the newest iPhone? There’s no right or wrong answer to questions like these—it’s all about what you value the most.
Asking Questions Before You Get Married Will Set You Up for Success
Knowing the questions to ask before marriage gives you the opportunity to focus on the important things before ever walking down the aisle. You can turn common relationship road bumps into areas of strength and success.
And if you’re looking for another resource to learn more about yourself and others, check out my book Know Yourself, Know Your Money. It’ll help you and your significant other:
- Discover how your past influences your money habits today
- Overcome frustration and embarrassment around money so you can feel confident in your money decisions
- Learn how to make lasting change so you can make actual progress toward your dreams
You can buy it now as a hardcover, an e-book or an audiobook!