Very few couples know the right questions to ask before marriage. They falsely believe they are going to go through marriage together as husband and wife, just as harmoniously as they navigated their relationship in the beginning.
Even if it seems like common sense to set clear expectations with your fiancé before getting married and starting a life together, it’s surprising how many engaged couples think that being in love equals having the same set of values.
But marriage brings new obstacles and hurdles to relationships that can pop up after a happy engagement.
Knowing all the right questions to ask before marriage can help a couple navigate those obstacles.
So, before you tie the knot and get married, it’s important to sit down with your fiancé and ask each other deep questions about your past, present and future as a couple. You’ll be glad you did.
You can make a fun evening of it and go through the entire list of questions below all at once, or take your time visiting the questions section by section over the course of a few days or weeks.
Questions About Having Children and Starting a Family
Starting a family is one of the most important topics to have covered before you get married.
If the two of you aren’t on the same page about whether or not to have kids, how to raise them if you want to, and how you feel about things like medical treatment, education and mental health, years down the line you could find yourselves facing deeply serious dilemmas.
1. Do you want to have children?
The point of asking this question is to figure out if you and your partner have similar goals in life. You don’t want to be married for one year, only to find out that your partner doesn’t want kids and you do.
It’s not any easy compromise to make, so make sure you both are on the same page. Dive deeper into the conversation, by asking some follow-up questions.
For example, are they financially and emotionally prepared for the difficulties of having a child? Don’t just ask your partner if they want to have kids. Make sure they’re prepared to do so.
2. How many?
This question is also a game-changer. Sometimes couples are on the same page about how children, but not on how many.
The point of asking this is to figure out how big of a family they want. Does your partner want a family of ten kids or just one?
The challenges of raising an only child are much different than raising a family of siblings.
To dive deep into the conversation, weigh the pros and cons of each together.
3. When do you want to start trying?
Maybe you and your partner want both kids, but the matter of when is crucial. The point of asking this question is to see if you and your partner are on similar timelines.
Just because your partner hopes to build a family with you doesn’t mean they want to have a kid within the next year. Dive deep into the conversation by setting a realistic timeline.
Some follow-up questions to ask would be, “when is a realistic time to start trying” and “when is too soon of a time?”
4. What are you willing to do if we can’t have children naturally (IVF treatments, surrogate, egg donation, sperm donation, adoption)?
It’s harder to make babies than you would think. Sometimes couples try really hard to have a baby, but cannot.
You need to make sure that you and your partner are committed to each other, even if having a baby is difficult.
Some people are opposed to adopting or surrogate parents. A question to follow up would be, “in the event that we couldn’t have a baby, would you be willing to explore other options?”
5. What if we agree either not to have or to have kids, and I change my mind?
6. What are the three most important values you are planning to teach our children?
7. What kind of parenting approach are you planning to implement?
8. What kind of punishment is appropriate or not appropriate?
9. When we start having children, how do you envision your share of responsibilities?
10. What is your perspective on having one of us being a stay-at-home parent?
11. If you or I have children from a previous relationship, how do you envision our blended family?
12. If you have kids from a previous relationship, what role are you willing to take or would like me to take with the step-children?
13. How do you feel about my family?
14. Who is your favorite and least favorite family member on my side and on your side, and why?
15. How often are we going to visit or receive visits from our families?
16. How do you expect to spend the holidays?
17. Do you plan to live near your parents or move near them as they get older?
Questions About Intimacy
While a fulfilling sex life is essential to a healthy relationship, intimacy extends beyond sex.
Being in sync when it comes to physical pleasure, as well as understanding what each of you needs to have your emotional needs met, will bring you both closer, whereas a lack of communication in this area is sure to tear you apart.
18. What are your expectations regarding sex?
The point of this asking this question is to help you understand your partner’s needs.
To dive deeper, ask the following questions “what are your turn-ons and turn-offs?”
19. How open are you to telling me if you are not satisfied sexually?
It’s crucial to get a sense of how communicative your partner is.
Sometimes people feel bad expressing that they’d like to shake things up.
To dive deeper, let your partner know you are committed to giving them the love and attention they want.
And that you’re always ready to receive feedback. A good follow-up question is, “how open are you to receiving feedback?”
20. What do you enjoy most about sex?
This is a crucial question to ask because it helps you understand how to satisfy your partner in the bedroom.
A good follow-up question would be, “do you have any kinks?”
21. Do you consume pornography and, if so, how do you feel about it?
This is an important topic to be on the same page about.
If you like to watch porn and your partner doesn’t, it’s best to cover that topic in the beginning.
You don’t want to wait until post-marriage to realize your partner is uncomfortable with this.
22. What turns you on most about me?
You want to know exactly what your partner finds attractive about you.
The point of answering this is to help you boost your self-esteem.
23. Have you ever have doubts about your sexuality?
24. Do you think I am physically affectionate enough in our relationship?
25. Do you think you can trust me enough to discuss our sexual differences, concerns or fantasies?
26. Is there anything that is off-limits sexually?
27. Do you agree to bring up any attraction you are feeling outside of our relationship before something significant develops?
Questions About Dealing with Conflict
Marriage is full of ups and downs, and married couples will no doubt get into arguments throughout the course of the relationship. It’s how you deal with this conflict that will determine if your relationship has the strength to get through the tough times.
28. What is your conflict style — avoidant, accommodating, compromising, or something else?
Asking this question will help you understand how to navigate conflict together. If your partner is avoidant and you are accomodating, it means you handle conflict differently.
Dive deeper by asking questions like “after a fight, do you need personal space or do you like to talk it out?”
29. How did your family deal with conflict growing up?
Getting a clear sense of how your partner was raised can reveal a lot of information about them.
Not everyone had a healthy childhood, and sometimes it takes years of therapy to figure that out. If your partner was yelled at a lot growing up, it could mean that they don’t respond well to being yelled at — or that that’s their way of articulating themselves.
30. How do you usually express anger?
This will prepare you for your next conflict, which is inevitable in each argument. Dive deeper, by asking your partner what makes them calm down after a fight?
31. How comfortable are you with having arguments or disagreements?
32. What do you think our perpetual conflicts are (those based on personality or lifestyle differences)?
33. What part of me is most annoying to you?
34. What would be an example of a resolvable conflict in our relationship?
35. Can you think of an example of a conflict we had that you felt we dealt with successfully?
36. What would be unacceptable to you in a disagreement?
Questions About Relationships and Commitment
Marriage is obviously a long-term commitment, so questions about this topic ensure both partners are comfortable and feel safe in their relationship. Every partner has certain expectations, and depending on the situation, these questions can help you both better understand the needs of the other.
37. What was a time when you felt most connected and loved in our relationship?
Asking this question will help you understand what helped your partner feel loved. By understanding what makes your partner feel loved, you can continue to embrace those practices.
Dive deeper by asking your partner if you’re still maintaining this behavior and if not, what you can do to adjust.
38. How can we make a conscious decision to tell each other if we feel we’re being taken for granted?
It’s difficult to confront people when you’re feeling upset. Setting up a game plan to talk things out can create trust in a relationship.
A good follow-up question is “how do you feel about being confronted when I’m upset.”
39. What does our commitment mean to you?
Commitment means different things to different people. If you don’t agree on a mutual definition, you could end up getting hurt.
Dive deeper by asking questions like “am I allowed to spin the bottle with friends” or “if someone hits on me while I’m out, should I tell you?”
40. What is the most romantic thing we have done together, and why?
The point of asking this is to hear your partner out. Checking in will give you clarity on the strengths of your relationship.
Dive deeper by asking, “what romantic date night would you like me to plan next?”
41. Why do you want to be married, and why do you want to be married to me?
42. What are the three things you most appreciate about me?
43. What are the three things you most admire about me?
44. What first attracted you to me?
45. How do you envision your life in five years? In 10? In 20?
46. What is your definition of infidelity?
47. What do you love about me that you hope never changes?
48. What do you think you will have to give up when we get married or move in together?
49. Is there anything you would like me to change or give up after we get married?
50. What kind of partner do you aspire to be?
51. Do you need to have some time alone and, if so, how often?
52. Are you willing to schedule one evening a week to regularly sit down with each other and catch up about deep stuff?
53. What support do you expect from me in hard times (illness, death, unemployment), and what does that support look like?
Questions About Finances and Money
Financial issues are one of the leading causes of divorce. This topic can be uncomfortable and stressful, but making sure you have a similar financial plan will save you time and conflict. Answering these difficult questions honestly will give you more clarity about your expectations.
54. How much money do you make?
If you get married, you’ll likely link your bank accounts. The point of asking this is to know how much the two of you will be able to afford, once you combine your income.
Dive deeper by asking, if your partner is a big spender or frugal.
55. How much debt do you have (student loans, credit card, mortgage) if any?
Do not let debt come as a surprise as a partner. Asking this question will clarify if you, too, are getting yourself into debt.
If the answer is yes, dive deeper by creating a payment plan that works for both of you.
A follow-up question to ask is, “would you feel comfortable or uncomfortable if I helped you pay off your debt?”
56. How comfortable are you borrowing money?
The point of asking this is to see if your partner is too comfortable borrowing money.
Dive deeper by getting a sense of how comfortable your partner feels asking you to keep covering the tabs.
57. What was your family’s attitude towards money, and how do they resemble to yours?
The point of asking this will reveal your partner’s relationship to money.
Dive deeper by asking your partner if their parents made a lot of money growing up.
58. Are you more of a saver or a spender?
59. Are we going to make it a priority to save money together?
60. Do we sign a prenuptial agreement before we get married?
61. Do you agree to consult with me about any significant expense ahead of time, even if you are planning to use your own money?
62. Are you comfortable creating a budget for our married life together?
63. How are we going to share the expenses after we get married?
64. Are we going to have a joint bank account?
65. If you have an ex or children from previous marriages, what are your financial obligations to them?
66. Do you have any other financial obligations to another person, whether for legal or moral reasons, that I should know about?
67. What is important to you financially — owning a house, a nice car, expensive clothing, traveling?
68. What is more important for you, the size of a house or its location?
69. Do you plan to buy or rent?
70. How important is contributing to charity to you, and which charities are your favorites?
71. Who is going to pay the bills?
Questions About Communication
Couples who don’t openly communicate run into problems, causing a disconnect and feelings of carelessness. Understanding how your partner handles their emotions is a good indicator of how they approach conflict resolution.
72. How comfortable are you with me sharing my feelings, even if they are negative?
Red flag if your partner doesn’t want to hear about your feelings.
Dive deeper by asking your partner if they consider themselves to be emotionally intelligent.
73. How do you feel when I disagree with you?
You need to know if your partner is receptive to change and different opinions.
To dive deeper, ask your partner what their political beliefs are.
74. Would you tell me a white lie to avoid hurting my feelings?
If a white lie bothers you, now is your time to speak up.
This can help you avoid hurting one another. Dive deeper by talking about your experience with white lies.
Ask them what’s the worst white lie anyone has told them.
75. Is there something in the way I say things when I’m angry that makes you feel criticized?
Clarity is a godsend. The more open and transparent you are about your feelings, the more harmonious your marriage will be.
To dive deeper, ask what would be their preferred method of communication during a conflict.
76. Do you think I nag too much?
77. Have I ever disappointed you or caused you pain?
78. Have we talked through those times and resolved them, or are they still affecting our relationship?
79. Is there anything about me that attracts you now but might annoy you over the years?
Questions About Work and Career
Before getting married, couples might have an idealized vision of a relationship in which there is always plenty of quality time to be spent together.
But in day-to-day life, it’s essential for spouses to support each other’s careers and professional growth as well. Whether it’s a new job or working late, couples need to find the harmonious balance that works for them.
80. If I get offered my dream job in another part of the country, would you be willing to move with me?
81. Would you be OK with me quitting my job to take care of our children?
82. What if I can’t stand my work situation, and I just need a break?
83. What are your career goals in both the near and distant future?
84. Would you be understanding if I worked long hours for extended periods of time?
Questions About Lifestyle Preferences
To deal with the minutia of daily life, partners should prioritize each other’s personal preferences and interests. This can be as simple as making their preferred dinner, or as complicated as doing house chores.
85. What does your ideal day off look like?
86. What does your ideal vacation look like?
87. How do you feel about my single friends? Would it be OK if I partied with them once in a while?
88. What is your attitude towards drugs and drinking?
89. How do you feel about my cleanliness and neatness standards?
90. How will we divide the chores?
91. Are you OK hiring help to clean?
92. Who will do the shopping and cooking in our relationship?
93. How often do you plan to eat out? And what kind of restaurants do you enjoy most?
94. How important is it for you to eat at the dinner table, with no TV or electronic distractions?
Questions About Faith and Spirituality
It could be that neither of you is religious, or one partner may be more spiritual than the other. This is a particularly essential topic to discuss and respect is the priority here. And when your partner feels respected, it allows your relationship to grow.
95. What are your spiritual or religious beliefs?
The point of asking this is to make your partner feel seen and heard.
You don’t have to practice the same religion to get along, but it is crucial to take an interest in your partner’s life.
A good question to ask to dive deep is: when did you start practicing your religion?
96. How important is it for you to keep a spiritual or religious practice?
If you’re going to be living together, you’ll like to be adjacent to their spiritual practice.
Dive deep by asking what your partner’s expectations are in terms of practicing spirituality.
Do they expect you to pray with them every night?
97. How involved are you in your spiritual or religious community?
Getting a sense of what’s important to your partner can help you understand their day-to-day.
If they’re active in a religious community, you’ll likely meet people in that community.
Ask what events you’re expected to tag along to, if you want to dive deep, that is.
98. How much do you expect me to be involved in your spiritual or religious activities?
This will tell you what you’re signing up for.
To dive deep, ask “what happens if I don’t feel comfortable participating.”
99. Do you expect our children to be raised with a certain spiritual or religious faith and, if so, what would that look like?
100. Do you expect our children to go through certain religious rituals, such as a baptism, bar or bat mitzvah, or first communion?
Miriam Torres Brinkmann, PhD is a family and marriage therapist based in San Diego, CA, who helps men and women build healthy relationship habits that lead to lasting love, marriages, and successful families.