Marriage is no simple, everyday thing. So make sure you are ready for this life-long commitment by addressing some of the fundamentals of the relationship.
There are thousands of questions that we can go through before getting married, but I chose the main issues that I continue to see couples struggle with. Having a game plan before you get married suppress the sometimes overwhelming feeling of, “am I making the right decision?” and will allow you and your future spouse to feel so connected and tightly knit that nothing can get break the everlasting bond you are about to enter.
Go through the following questions together. Answer the questions and discuss the answers as a couple. Use this time to build the tighter bond and try to hear the big message. These are great ways to know how to respond to one another, understand the pieces you two can work on, and know what makes your partner tick.
Here are a few questions to ask before you get married:
Laughter is such a great way to feel connected, be playful, and step out of the daily grind of life. How is laughter important in your life? Do you tease and laugh as your way to feel connected? Or is laughter and “letting lose” difficult to do? What things do you enjoy that help you laugh, enjoy your day, and relax? How would you like to see your future as a couple with laughter and fun?
Emotional safety is the key to all relationships. When the foundation is strong, the relationship can grow and build a beautiful future. What characteristics or behaviors does your partner do to reassure you that you matter to them? What helps you know that your partner is there for you….through thick and thin? What things do you try to do for your partner to reassure that you are there for them? What would you like to see more of to help you feel important and that you matter?
Affection and Love:
Affection is shown in various ways, such as cooking a nice meal, bringing home the “bacon,” or buying their favorite candy at the store. How do you express love and affection? How was love and affection shown to you growing up? And what would you like to see more from your partner on a daily basis?
Money is often a rough topic for most couples because it is can be very overwhelming. Would you like your finances to be together or separate? If you haven’t blended your finances yet, how would you like to handle the money? Would you two like to blend your accounts, keep money separate, or have both? What would help you two feel more like a team and more of a family when it comes to finances? Who will pay the bills and be responsible for items to get paid?
Let’s keep it real….conflict happens with all couples. If or when conflict arises, how would you two like to address conflict? What are your roles and how you handle the conflict? Does one person shut down/freeze up while the other gets verbally talkative? What is your first reaction when you feel disconnected or misunderstood? What would be helpful for you to address it to one another? Discuss helpful approaches, “key word,” or ways to show that you two are a team while navigating through rough times. Keep in mind reassuring one another that you will get through the challenge as a couple.
Yep….here it is! This topic of the in-laws can either be a smooth non-issue and other times a disaster. What things may be a possible struggle in the future when it comes to the in-laws? What does your partner currently do that helps you feel comfortable or understood when it comes to your in-laws? What would help you feel more comfortable when dealing with your in-laws during the wedding? Discuss a plan of attack on handling family issues with the wedding and find a way to keep you two tightly connected during the wedding.
Child rearing isn’t a “must know now” type of decision, but there does need to be some sort of clarity on wanting children or not. Do you two want to have kids (this can also include pets) or do you see your future without kids? If so, how many and roughly around what time frame? Would adoption be an option for you two if you can’t biologically have a child? What are some parenting styles that you grew up with that you liked, disliked, and hated?
To have strong bond also requires having a strong self-worth. What helps you feel good about yourself, feel confident in your own skin, and gets you thriving? Is there anything special that your partner may need to know about what makes you tick? Is going to the gym a MUST, or does getting ready with loud music how you wake up and get ready for your day? What are you personal struggles that you are working through? For example, if your body is continually an issue and you are battling it. Share with them how it impacts you. What could your partner do to be of assistance with this?
Goals are great to help get movement in life and to have a direction. What are your….personal goals? Business goals? Family goals? Relationship goals?
Stress is something that is in our world and doesn’t really go away. What helps you de-stress? What are your differences with how you both de-stressing? How do you handle stress and how might your partner know that you are overwhelmed? What would be helpful for your partner to know or do when you are stressed? What is a way that you can let your partner know that you are overwhelmed?
About Jennine Estes, MFT
Think of me as your relationship consultant, I'm your neutral third party that can help you untangle the emotions and help you figure out what's really going on. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego, CA. Certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. Supervisor. I write relationship and self growth advice for my column Relationships in the Raw. Creator of #BeingLOVEDIs campaign. MFC#47653