YOU’RE ENGAGED! Congrats! This next season of life is the most exciting but also can be one of the most stressful. But, like every other bride before you, they get through the chaos and make it to the wedding day in one piece (unless you’re like me, the bride who falls in her wedding dress an hour before the wedding and can’t walk down the aisle…).
I’m sure you already know this, but getting married is a huge deal and shouldn’t be taken lightly. It is a covenant between two people; a “coming together”. It’s a commitment to work things out through thick and thin, no matter what may come.
When I made that promise on our wedding day, I knew in my heart that I meant it, but I didn’t realize what it meant until we ran into our first big argument as a married couple. We, unfortunately, didn’t do premarital counseling because of our long distance engagement, instead, we made a conscious effort to ask the “tough” questions and find topics we could talk about to “prepare” for marriage. Though it helped us out some, I urge you to seek some sort of premarital counseling. Usually, the pastor that you ask to marry you will do it or there are premarital/marital courses hosted by churches in the area. These will help out greatly as you start your new journey into marriage. Even though we thought we had covered them all, we missed some very important questions!
So, here are my top 7 questions to ask before you say: “I do!” I’ll throw out a broad question and some specifics underneath.
1. What are your financial habits?
It’s important to know their financial stances, of course. You need to have a number in your head for the wedding and be able to budget accordingly. It’s one thing to know their monthly take-home and another to know their spending habits. Are they a spender or saver? Are they frugal on purchasing items or do they like to buy quality, name brand things? Do they pay their bills on time? Are they strict with a budget? Do they have past discrepancies on their credit? ***stop here for one moment. If I had thought and asked for a credit report from my future hubby, I would have had an easier time with processing how his financial habits are. If your future hubs has delinquencies in paying student loans, for instance, you can work through it, but know at tax time you may end up having your return garnished for his lack of payment.*** How will you handle bills? Will you have a joint account?
Some of these questions may be difficult to answer completely because there is definitely some trial and error when you first start out.
2. How important is going to church on Sunday to you?
This may sound like an odd question, but this was one of the first arguments in our marriage! Hubs works at a church, so obviously he needs to be there every Sunday, every service. I had a Sunday off from leading worship, so I planned to sleep in and catch the live stream later. Granted, I was being lazy and could have easily got up and attended service but if we had had the conversation about our expectations for attending church, this wouldn’t have been an argument.
What if there’s a big football game on that week? What if you’re out of town? Now that we’ve had this conversation, I know the expectations we have set in place for attending and not attending church (in person) on Sunday. Also, small side note to mention: if you go to separate churches, whose church are going to go to? Are you going to find a new church altogether?
Now that we’ve had this conversation, I know the expectations we have set in place for attending and not attending church (in person) on Sunday. Also, small side note to mention: if you go to separate churches, whose church are going to go to? Are you going to find a new church altogether?
3. What are your expectations for sex? How often?
First, let me make a disclaimer here: having a third party involved while talking about sex is awkward but extremely beneficial. In the beginning, you’ll probably be fumbling to find holes and humping like bunnies… good for you. But, once you get into a routine and the dust starts to settle, what kind of expectations do you have? Are you open to trying new things? What kind of things are off limits (more to come on these topics!)?
4. Who will do household tasks?
This one is one we talked about a lot. Hubs is a great talker but sometimes needs some encouragement to be a do-er. I’m a do-er on days that I don’t work. We both agreed that he would cook and the rest of the household chores would be split between the two of us. Every now and then I will hire a house cleaner to tidy things up when our schedules get too busy. Also, if you have pets, will someone be in charge of cleaning up after them or taking them out for walks?
5. Do you want children?
I think it’s okay to say “not now” or “I’m not sure” for this answer, but I definitely would give pause to an absolute “no, never” answer, unless that is what you want as well! Would you consider foster care adoption? Would you consider fertility treatments if you struggled with getting pregnant? What about having a surrogate? What is your ideal timeline to start trying to get pregnant? (right now? 5 years from now?) These answers, for the most part, are hypothetical and dependent on the situation at hand, but it doesn’t hurt to see where your future hubs stands.
6. What is something I do that drives you insane?
This one, for us at least, was hilarious. I have this horrible habit of humming words when I’m tired or don’t want to have a conversation. Hubs always knows I’m ready for bed when I stop using words. HUBS,on the other hand, has a booger problem. We have a subscription to boogie wipes because of this. In his sleep, he will wipe them on whatever surface is closest to his grubby finger. They’ve been found on walls, tables, our headboard, me, the cat…poor thing… Ask this question! it’s important to know if future hubs has some reservations about living together. Maybe you don’t mind clutter and he prefers a clean house. You both have habits you don’t realize you have until you get married!
7. Lastly, How will we spend holidays? With family? Together? With friends?
Holidays are tough for hubs and me. We live 1,000 mi+ from our parents and because he works at a church, holiday weekends are usually out of the question to visit home. Because we have lived far from family for about 5 years now, we have our own little traditions as a couple and with friends. We’ve agreed that we will visit family when we can, even though we realize it will rarely be for holidays.
Phew. There’s so much more I could write about this topic and there are so many more questions I can think of. But this is a good start.
Let me finish here with one last thought. If you come to a crossroads in these conversations, GOOD! That means you are two different people coming together to learn how to make a marriage work. If you find some red flags, don’t think that it’s an automatic end all. You can talk through these red flags in premarital counseling, ask for guidance from a mentor, ask for God’s wisdom! If you feel like you want to step back or slow down, do it- no one is going to be mad at your for wanting to be certain about your decision. Marriage is a big deal and you do not want to go into something this big without some certainty in your decision. Inevitably, you will feel some kind of “OHNOWHATDIDIGETMYSELFINTO” and that’s okay. God’s got you. It is His will, when you say “I do,” to see this marriage succeed.
Have fun pinning your dream wedding and we’ll chat soon…