Why do people get married? With up to 50% of marriages ending in divorce, one tends to wonder, “What is the point of it all?” Ask anyone who believes in marriage, and they will probably inundate you with a myriad of reasons why tying the knot is so important.
Reasons range from the practical, “We have different passports and getting married will simplify visa issues,” to the eye-roll-inducing, “Marriage will give our relationship more substance.” Everyone on the marriage bandwagon will give you a good reason for wanting to get hitched.
The institution of marriage may not be as practical today as it was a hundred years ago, but the whole notion of it still maintains a romantic charm. Sure, many people don’t need a piece of paper to bind them to their lover, but it sure is nice finding that special someone who’s willing to stand up in front of the law and wholeheartedly declare you as their chosen one.
No matter how strongly you believe that your marriage will last forever, there’s a 50% chance that it will end in absolute failure. So what do you do to protect yourself? Along with a pre-nup, you need to be absolutely certain that the person you’re with is the one you should be marrying.
20 questions you need to ask each other before getting married
One good way to determine this is to start an ongoing dialogue with your partner and trade questions and answers. I’m sure you already have a series of questions to ask your betrothed, but just in case, here are 20 things to add to your list.
#1 Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Depending on how old you both are, whether you already have kids, a career, and all that other stuff, you could have drastically different—or similar—ideas of what the next 5 years are going to look like. In any case, it’ll get you both looking in the same direction.
#2 Where do you see yourself in 10 years? What’s just as important as figuring out your partner’s immediate goals? Long-term ones, of course. Future plans are subjective, so whatever they are, be sure that they’re aligned with yours.
#3 Will you move in with me? It is common sense that you should live with your partner before getting married, so if you haven’t already done it, what in the world are you waiting for? [Read: 15 really important things to know before moving in together]
#4 Are you proud of me? Anything other than a “yes” needs further examination. If your partner isn’t pleased with all that you’ve accomplished thus far, you should rethink tying the knot right now. Although they say that you should never bow down to anyone’s demands, there’s no denying that it’s important for your partner to be happy with you before taking the next step.
#5 How much money do we have? Each individual should share how much they earn and spend every month. Once that’s done, combine the figures and sort out your newly-projected household income. It’s easier to figure out a life plan once you know how much you have to spend.
#6 Can we handle the finances? Next, you have to figure out what percentage of your combined incomes will go towards expenses, a mortgage, entertainment, and savings. Both of you need to be on the same page for this to work, so be prepared for a long night in front of your calculator. [Read: 17 brilliant but simple ways to save money as a couple]
#7 Where do we want to end up? Somewhere in the city? The country? The suburbs? Do we want to live in a condo? Townhouse? Trailer? Should we move to Morocco? Biarritz? Chicago? There are numerous questions related to the topic of where you want to end up, so be sure to cover all your bases.
#8 Do you want kids? Most people get married assuming that their spouse wants kids, too. Surprise, surprise. It’s well into the 21st century, and many young couples are opting not to take that conventional step. This is something that you should’ve discussed ages ago, but in case you haven’t, now’s the time. [Read: 11 ways to know if both of you want a baby]
#9 Are you open to other ways to start or add on to our family? When it comes to starting or adding on to a family, more people are opting for unconventional methods. Whether it’s adoption or surrogacy, be sure to discuss the many possibilities with your partner, because you never know what could or couldn’t happen.
#10 What happens when we’re done having kids? There are many options available for couples who do not intend to have any more children—or any children at all. Examples include getting a vasectomy, tubal ligation, or going down the old-fashioned route of using contraception. It may be a little early to figure these things out, but there’s no harm in getting the conversation started.
#11 Should we broaden or lessen our social life? If you’re a social butterfly, while your spouse is a homebody, this may pose some problems in your marriage. You two need to come to some form of agreement on what sort of social life you want to have as a couple.
#12 How often do we visit family? My partner’s family is in France, whereas mine is in Malaysia. We live in Taiwan, by the way, so it comes as no surprise that we have argued multiple times on where to spend the holidays. As of right now, we have agreed that we will spend Christmas with his family, Chinese New Year with mine, and swap every couple of years.
#13 Can we have fun together for the rest of our lives? Marriage isn’t all romance, rainbows, and unicorns. It takes hard work and, more often than not, successful marriages are based on strong friendships. You need to be sure that you can both have fun together for the rest of your lives. If you don’t share the same interests, this could be a problem, so be sure to address this before proceeding. [Read: 25 must follow rules of a successful long term relationship]
#14 How often should boys’/girls’ nights happen? Marriage should be about the two of you, but it’s foolish to believe that that’s all you need. You both need time off from each other to maintain relationships with those closest to you. It is important to have your own friends, so discuss how often you each get time off for your friendships.
#15 Are our differing beliefs a problem? You’re Jewish and she’s Catholic. He’s Muslim and you’re an atheist. Your religious beliefs may not matter now, when it’s all fun and games, but they may once you tie the knot and decide to start a family.
#16 What are your thoughts on infidelity? This is a loaded question, and one that has to be carefully thought through before being brought up. Of course, no one goes into a marriage with the intention to cheat, but it is definitely worth a discussion. Plus, it’s nice hearing your partner repeat multiple times how they will never do something like that to you.
#17 How often should we go on vacation? Many couples assume that going on vacation is a given, but once you’re married and saddled with a host of bills, spending money on a holiday may be the last thing on your minds. However, it is always important to take a break together, so figure out how often this will happen. [Read: 50 relationship questions to test your compatibility immediately]
#18 What’s your medical history? If you’ve talked about getting married, you probably already know everything there is to know about your partner’s medical history. From her genital warts problem in college, to his sporadic asthma attacks, knowing about each other’s medical past is very important; as dramatic as it may sound, it could save your partner’s life.
#19 What’s your stand on letting ourselves go? Do we grow old and fat together, or should we constantly motivate one another to stay fit and healthy? Of course, everyone’s going to opt for the latter, because no one wants to be straddled with a spouse who is 40 pounds overweight. Jokes aside, this is a very serious question that both of you should follow through on.
#20 Are you ready for forever with me? As cheesy and cliché as this question may be, it is an important one to ask. You want to hear from your partner’s own mouth that they are ready to spend forever with you.