4 Minutes B4 Marriage – Premarriage Questions

Should you get married?

All sorts of people have written questions to help couples make this lifelong decision. At the risk of turning you into Inquisitors, I’ll offer some of those sources in this email and the next, and hope that your decision will be made clearer as you discuss them.

The first set of questions is from a list I wrote when my daughter was considering marriage. It’s been a while since I wrote it and I don’t know if I used other sources that should be cited. If so, my apologies to those authors:


  • Will you each practice your own faith or worship together?
  • Whose faith denomination will you attend?
  • Whose faith denomination will you get married in?
  • Do you both value weekly attendance?
  • How will you celebrate spiritual holidays like Christmas and Easter?
  • In which faith would children be raised?
  • How do you each feel about monetary support of a church?
  • Are there any tenets of your fiancé’s faith that go against your beliefs or conscience?
  • Are there any tenets of your own faith that your fiancé can’t accept?
  • How will you work out agreements?
  • What are your thoughts on responsibility to serve others? Volunteering?
  • What does your church require of a married couple?



  • Do your families both welcome your relationship?
  • Do you like your future in-laws?
  • How strong are the marriages in your families?
  • What would you like to do the same, or differently than your parents?
  • How do you feel about your in-laws being your children’s grandparents and relatives?
  • How will you split time between the families? Holidays?
  • Will you both put your spouse first before your original families?
  • How much time would you each like to spend with your families?



  • Will you both work?
  • How will you combine your incomes? Separate accounts?
  • How will decisions about major purchases be made?
  • What are your thoughts about credit, savings, debt? Are they compatible?
  • How would you each feel if she made significantly more than he?
  • What are your thoughts about mothers working?
  • Are husbands’ financial responsibilities different than wives’?
  • How would you feel if the other didn’t want to or couldn’t work?
  • Where would you like to live: city, country, suburb, apartment, house?
  • Do you know the financial situation of the other? Level of debt? Income potential?
  • What type of wedding/honeymoon do you each think is financially reasonable?
  • How do you feel about budgeting?



  • What are your expectations of the other?
  • Have you discussed your relationships of the past so you both are comfortable with them now?
  • How do you see yourself responding to infidelity?
  • Have you discussed your fears about this?
  • Do you feel completely confident in the other’s commitment to you?



  • Are you comfortable with your own sexuality, as a gift from God?
  • Can you openly discuss it when you are uncomfortable about something sexual?
  • Do you feel cherished and respected?
  • Have you discussed and agreed on your feelings about premarital sex?
  • Have you talked with a doctor or tested for any medical concerns you have?
  • Can you both accept the necessity to abstain and be faithful during separation or medical restraints?
  • Can you tell each other what you like and don’t like as it comes up?
  • What do you think about artificial birth control? Natural birth control?
  • Do you both strive to please the other?



  • Do you both want children?
  • How many children would you feel comfortable with?
  • When would you hope to start having children?
  • Have you discussed your concerns about being parents?
  • What were your parents’ means of discipline?
  • How would you discipline differently than your parents?
  • Would you want your children to attend private religious schools?
  • If so, how much of a financial sacrifice would be reasonable for private schools?
  • Would you expect and plan for your children to go to college?
  • What are your thoughts on abortion? Adoption?
  • What if your child had special needs/disabilities?
  • Have you discussed what medical issues run in your families?


Division of labor

  • Who will cook, clean, launder, shop, maintain the car, etc.?
  • Will one of you stay home with children? How long?
  • What do you think of daycare?
  • Whose work will determine where you live?
  • What are your career dreams?



  • Do you expect to spend time apart with your friends? How much?
  • How might you enjoy evenings?
  • Do you enjoy the same types of activities? Can you play together?
  • What is your idea of a vacation?
  • Do you both enjoy talking to each other? Are you best friends?
  • Do either of you worry about the other’s drinking? Drug use? Health?



  • What are some of your dreams for your future? Fears?
  • Where do you picture yourselves in 5 years? 10 years?
  • How do you behave when you are angry? How does your fiancé? How about when sad?
  • What do you both do to work out disagreements? What do you wish you both would do?
  • Do you always feel safe around the other?


Questions from Before You Say “I Do:” Important Questions for Couples to Ask Before Marriage by Todd Outcalt covers a wide range of topics: sex, values, religion, money, education, in-laws, careers, ethics, commitment, snoring, parenthood, cooking, cleaning, love, friends, exes, hopes, dreams, romance, travel, savings, secrets, taxes, children, space, holidays, television, pets, interests, fears, retirement, and trust. It also offers questions to ask parents, friends, religious leaders, lawyers and children. Here are a few:


Questions for your friends and family:

  • Do you think we make a good match? Why?
  • What kinds of problems, if any, do you see us having if we get married?
  • Have you ever witnessed him/her mistreating me in any way?
  • What advice would you give me before marriage?
  • How does he/she make me a better person?
  • Is there anything you know about him/her that you think I should know about?
  • How happy do you see us being ten years from now?
  • What do you consider his/her strong points? Weaknesses?
  • What values do you think we have in common?
  • In what ways have you seen us grow together?


Questions for his/her friends:

  • Has he/she ever been a heavy drinker? Had a gambling problem?
  • What is the craziest thing you’ve ever seen him/her do?
  • How does he/she react when angry?
  • How does he/she help others?
  • When you think about him/her, what positive attributes come to mind?
  • In what way do you think he/she will change me for the better?
  • How would you describe his/her values and morals?
  • What is the most memorable experience you’ve had with him or her?
  • What does he/she say about me when I’m not around?
  • What do they say about him/her when he’s/she’s not around?
  • How does he/she act toward other women/men?
  • What do you know about past relationships?
  • What does he/she worry about?


Questions for future in-laws:

  • How and when do you see us celebrating holidays and family traditions together?
  • How often do you expect us to visit?
  • How often do you expect to visit us?
  • As a new daughter/son-in-law, what expectations will you have of me?
  • As a new in-law, what do you hope I can bring to the family?
  • What do you hope we can do together in the coming years?
  • Are there any family concerns you think I should be aware of?
  • What advice do you have for me in marriage?
  • What would you like to know about me?
  • What would you like for me to know about your family?
  • What would you like to know about my family?
  • What are some of the best times you have had together as a family?
  • What are some of your hopes for our marriage?
  • What are some of your concerns about our marriage?


If you don’t want to make people feel grilled, these are questions that you might gain answers to gradually. One or two at a time would make great discussion springboards.

Blessings on your relationship!

Betty Arrigotti

 To read more:

Outcalt, Todd (1998). Before You Say “I Do:” Important Questions for Couples to Ask Before Marriage, Perigee/Penguin

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