Counseling Before Marriage: Will This Become the New Law?

Learn how counseling can help you cope with relationship struggles and prepare for "happily ever after" together.
By: 
Sharon Naylor

While it’s a great advantage to have a professional counselor guiding you, you might find that it's easier if you just discuss all the hot topics and future plans in the comfort of your own home. Use the following questions to get the conversation started about your expectations, hopes and values.

Questions to Ask Your Future Spouse

Values:

  • How will we handle conflict?
  • What are our zero-tolerance hot buttons (e.g. financial dishonesty, infidelity, drinking too much, gambling)? What are the repercussions of those missteps?
  • What are the most important values that we’ll keep in our relationship?

groom kissing brides hand 
Photo by: JoPhoto on Lover.ly

Career:

  • What are our career goals (e.g. getting a second job or traveling more) and what will it take for us to reach them?
  • Do either of us plan to change careers, and if so, how will we adjust our lifestyle and budget to allow for a potentially lower household income? 
  • During busy times, will we be working late at night? On weekends? During vacations?

Finances:

  • What is our current financial situation, including our total debt, savings and retirement funds? 
  • How big of an emergency fund do we need to live well if one of us is out of work, or if we have an unexpected expense?
  • What is our monthly budget?
  • What can we establish as our individual "fun money" funds, and do we want to inform each other when we tap into them?
  • Who will pay for which of our household expenses and bills?

Intimacy:

  • Are we happy with our current lovemaking schedule, or do either of us want more?
  • If we’re not having as much sex as we would like, is it a matter of time or energy, and what can we do to remedy those barriers?
  • What’s the best way for each of us to express that we’d like more sex?
  • Do either of us want more romance? If so, what exactly are our most wished-for romantic gestures? More kissing? More hugs? Romantic dinners?

Kids:

  • When do we want to have kids?
  • How many kids do we plan to have?
  • If for some reason, we can’t have children, will we pursue adoption?
  • Will one of us stop working after we have children, and how will that affect our lifestyle and finances?
  • What do we want our children to learn from our relationship?
  • Will we raise our kids with religious beliefs and traditions?

Religion:

  • What are our independently-held or shared religious beliefs?
  • Would we like to re-connect to a religious or spiritual community?
  • What are our spiritual beliefs and practices, and how will we include them in our life?
  • If we each have different religious beliefs, how will we maintain our own traditions and combine them, if possible?

Household Duties:

  • Who will be responsible for which household chores?
  • Can we revisit our job division list in a few months, if either of us is unhappy with the balance of effort needed?
  • Do we have strong needs for our home to be spotless, or is a little bit of clutter okay?
  • Who will be responsible for meal-planning and meal preparations during the week and on the weekends?
  • Do either of us need and enjoy alone time? How will we make that happen?

Family Involvement:

  • How often will we visit our parents on a regular basis? Every weekend, or once in a while?
  • How will we divide the holidays fairly between our parents?
  • How will we deal with our respective family dramas?
  • How often will we vacation with our families, if ever? And if it’s not something one of us loves to do, how can we compromise (e.g. leaving after three days instead of staying the week)? 

Social Life:

  • How often will we spend time with our friends? Will we keep our regular Friday night happy hour plans with them or adjust to once a month or so to give us more time together as a couple?
  • How will we deal with each other’s friends we don’t like very much?
  • If a friend asks to stay at our house while they're in town, or if they're out of work, how will we handle that?
  • How often will we have date nights?
  • How often do we want to vacation together?

Hold on to this list and review these questions again in six months or so after your wedding, when you've adjusted to being married, to see if any of your responses and feelings have changed. 

home from the honeymoon book

 

Sharon Naylor is the best-selling author of over 35 wedding books, including Home from the Honeymoon: The Newlyweds' Guide to the Celebrations and Challenges of the First Year of Marriage.

Visit sharonnaylor.net for more great tips and advice.