Psychologists' 12 questions to ask your partner before marriage

Are you REALLY ready to tie the knot? Psychologists reveal the 12 questions you should ask your partner before getting married to ensure you’re truly meant to be

  • Laura Silverstein advises people to take the love language test with their partner
  • ‘The No. 1 cited reason for divorce is finances,’ says dating coach Holly Battey
  • Amy Morin says couples should agree on their preferences around privacy 

Want to know the secret to a long lasting and happy marriage?

Well, a pool of top psychologists have revealed a set of 12 must-ask questions that can help to ensure relationship success.

Dr David Helfand, who is based in Vermont and a licensed psychologist specializing in couples therapy, told Today.com that ‘one of the most difficult parts of a long-term romantic relationship is setting boundaries’, but this must be done before tying the knot.

Read on for insights from Helfand and other specialists about how best to navigate the road to everlasting love… 

A pool of top psychologists have revealed a set of 12 must-ask questions that can help to ensure relationship success (stock image) 

The experts highlight that along with the highs, there will be lows during your relationship, with stress being a big trigger for fractures. 

Helfand says that its important to remember what can help you and your partner relax during very stressful times, so that neither of you drown under external pressures. Make sure you observe what relaxes your partner so that you can help them when the time comes. 

As an example, he suggests if your partner likes bubble baths, then setting one up for them when they are feeling stressed will help relieve tension.

THE 12 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR PARTNER BEFORE GETTING MARRIED 

1. What helps you to relax?

2. What makes you feel loved?

3. What is our financial situation?

4. What have been your biggest traumas?

5. Where do you draw the line between secrecy and privacy?

6. How do you deal with conflict?

7. What role should extended family play in our relationship?

8. What are our deal breakers?

9. How are we going to stay connected while maintaining independence?

10. How will we divide domestic labor?

11. What’s something about me that concerns you?

12. What is our shared vision?

2. What makes you feel loved? 

Laura Silverstein, a certified couples therapist based in Pennsylvania, advises people to take the love language test with their partner. 

There are various iterations of this available online. The love language theory, first developed by Dr Gary Chapman in the 1990s, enables people to know more about their needs. According to Dr Chapman, there are five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch.

Silverstein says: ‘Take turns asking each other how you can help the other feel more loved. We know from Gary Chapman’s work that people prefer to give and receive love in different ways.’

3. What is our financial situation? 

‘The No. 1 cited reason for divorce is finances, so it’s important that you go into your marriage with eyes wide open,’ says California-based dating coach and psychologist Holly Battey.

She recommends talking about your credit scores, the amount of debt you have, your incomes and how your foresee dividing the financial responsibilities. Many couples struggle with finances and sharing the load, so Battey recommends seeking help from a financial coach if this is an issue.

4. What have been your biggest traumas? 

Hefland says it is important to delve into your partner’s past and find out about their biggest traumas. This will help you to better understand them and how their reactions and behaviors relate to or are triggered past incidents.  

‘Traumas shape us. If you know what experiences were truly terrifying for your partner, you can better understand who they are today,’ Hefland explains. 

5. Where do you draw the line between secrecy and privacy? 

Amy Morin, who is a psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker based in Florida, says couples should agree on their boundaries when it comes to preferences around privacy from the beginning. 

Some people are happy to share social media or phone passwords, while others prefer to maintain a certain amount of privacy. Morin warns that if couples disagree on the privacy aspect of their relationship, it can lead to mistrust and with one person thinking that the other is being shifty.

6. How do you deal with conflict? 

Everyone has their own ways of dealing with conflict, so Silverstein says it’s important to know how your partner reacts and acknowledge the way they behave. She highlights the work of Dr John Gottman who spent 40 years studying couples and found that compromise is essential to managing conflict in relationships.

He suggests three functional conflict management styles: conflict-avoiding, volatile and validating.

Silverstein recommends finding an approach that works for both parties and to read about the different ways of handling conflict. She warns: ‘People sometimes make the mistake of thinking that their preferred conflict style is right, and all the others are wrong.’

7. What role should extended family play in our relationship? 

Extended families can be a great source of contention among couples. One person might love seeing relatives all of the time, while the other might see this as a nightmare chore. One person might appreciate input from their parents, while the other person might view this as interference. 

Morin recommends ‘establishing expectations up front’ when it comes to handling the family. If views differ, try and find a viable solution.  

8. What are our deal breakers? 

When you’re venturing into marriage, Battey recommends sitting down and establishing boundaries around your relationship ‘as well as the consequences of a breech’.

Some of the key topics to address include adultery, abuse and addiction. The relationship expert says by doing this, it will ‘set a healthy foundation for your marriage.’ 

Everyone has their own ways of dealing with conflict, so Silverstein says it’s important to know how your partner reacts and acknowledge the way they behave (stock image)

9. How are we going to stay connected while maintaining independence?

The experts warn that it’s easy to get lost in a relationship and lose a sense of yourself. 

Silverstein says that it’s important to avoid this from happening if you want to maintain a healthy balance and keep the romance alive.

She recommends maintaining ‘hobbies and friendships as well as personal and professional ambitions… this way, you can plan to share your lives together while also thriving as individuals.’

10. How will we divide domestic labor? 

Before embarking on marriage, tackle the subject of domestic labor. Battey says, that now gender roles are changing housework can be something that is fairly distributed. 

She says she’s encountered many women who have been unhappily married and resentful of their partner because they do the majority of the chores. But she argues domestic labor ‘should be fair and suited to each partners’ strengths.’ 

If neither party steps up, then see if it’s financially viable to pay someone to help out around the house.  

11. What’s something about me that concerns you? 

Morin, says although this question can be a bit awkward, it’s an important one to ask and to be honest about with your response. 

Everyone has flaws and there might be something that concerns you about the other person. This could be rectified or flagging it is the first step in finding a solution. 

Morin says by talking about each other’s concerns you will learn even more about each other and this could be ‘an opportunity to work through uncomfortable conversations.’

12. What is our shared vision? 

It might be something you associate more with a job interview question, but the experts say thinking about your five to ten year plan is something you should apply to your relationship.   

Battey says ‘couples with shared goals are more likely to last’ and it’s important to check in with each other every now and then to make sure you’re on the same page. 

Seeking the help of a couples’ counselor might help in making this exercise easier, as there could be some ‘roadblocks’ that crop up when discussing what the future holds.

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