You’ve finally met the woman of your dreams and now you’re ready to settle down. Now that you’ve met your soul mate, it’s time to start making plans. But do you know all there is to know about her? Take the time to learn as much as you can before you head out to buy that engagement ring. Here are 10 important questions you need to answer before heading down the aisle.
1. How does she manage money?
How an individual handles personal finances can make or break a relationship. Her poor money choices could put you both in a bind, especially if you plan to purchase a home together. Find out what her spending habits are, if she has any large outstanding debts, and if there are any significant financial strikes on her credit report. For example, if you find out she recently declared bankruptcy but still continues to charge lavish vacations and shop for clothes every week, you may want to rethink your decision to marry.
2. Does she want children?
Discuss if she wants to have children. If she does, make sure you’re clear on how many children she wants. Some couples can’t seem to agree on how small or large their family should be, and this can lead to unnecessary arguments. Also, have a discussion about whether she has any health conditions that could prevent her from conceiving. This isn’t something you want to find out after the wedding.
3. What are her religious beliefs?
Your future spouse’s religious beliefs may not matter to you right now. However, her beliefs will have a significant impact on how you raise your children (if you choose to have any). When you do get a better understanding of her beliefs, decide whether this is something that could work for you and your family.
4. How does she prefer to spend the holidays?
Holidays are also another issue that can potentially cause strain in a relationship. Find out now how she imagines spending the holidays and where she plans to spend them. Will you spend one occasion with her family and the other with your family? Will you stay home and have both families visit you? Figure out an arrangement that can work for both of you.
5. What are her expectations?
You’ll both need to decide beforehand how you’d like to approach your marriage. Some couples opt for a more traditional arrangement with the wife taking care of minor household issues while the husband makes all of the major decisions like where to live or how to manage family finances. Other couples would rather have a more balanced lifestyle, where both have an equal say in major decisions and approach marriage as a partnership.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Glenn Lutjens recommends finding out as early in the relationship as possible what your partner’s expectations are. If you don’t discuss this now, it could be the central cause of many fights down the road as you engage in an endless power struggle and attempt to manage unrealistic expectations.
6. How does she want to spend free time?
Does your future wife expect that you will spend most of your free time together or does she prefer to spend most of her time alone? Perhaps she likes a combination of the two. Discuss how much time you expect to spend together.
7. How will chores be divided?
Is she OK with traditional roles or will you divide chores evenly? This is one issue that often doesn’t come up until after a couple has said “I do.” Discuss your preferences when it comes to cleanliness and decide now who will be responsible for certain household chores.
8. Where will you live?
Your partner may love where she lives now. Is she willing to move to a new home or an entirely different city? What would you do if you got a great job offer in another state? Discuss housing plans and come to an agreement on where you will live and under what circumstances you would make a big move.
9. What’s her love language?
Each person has a different way of giving and receiving love. You’ll face a lot of frustration and waste an incredible amount of energy if you don’t love her the way she needs to be loved. For example, if your way of demonstrating and receiving love is to give small gifts, but her way of demonstrating and receiving love is to be touched, neither of you will get your needs met in a way that is fully satisfying.
Author and relationship counselor Gary D. Chapman calls these actions love languages, and he says there are five. He writes:
[T]here are five emotional love languages — five ways that people speak and understand emotional love. In the field of linguistics, a language may have numerous dialects or variations. Similarly, within the five basic emotional love languages, there are many dialects. … The number of ways to express love within a love language is limited only by one’s imagination. The important thing is to speak the love language of your spouse.
10. How does she feel about pets?
Our pets are like family. They are there for us when we need them and they know just how to make us feel better after a terrible day. If you absolutely adore animals and your future spouse can’t even stand the sight of a newborn kitten, you obviously have a problem on your hands.
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