Headlines from First Thoughts

Monday, September 21, 2009

25 Questions before Engagement

The most important questions in marriage are the ones asked before a
man and woman are engaged. Romantics speculate about a variety of
topics: “Is she/he the one?”; “Can I imagine myself with this person
the rest of my life?”; or “What will my parents or my preacher think?”

A person can be theoretically compatible with any number of
individuals in the world. The mythical “one person for you” is just
that. No amount of imagination or parental influence can prepare a
person for the daily commitments of a marriage. Abstinence, fidelity,
and a shared faith commitment prior to marriage do not guarantee
life-long commitment either. They are important in relationships but
do not function as a life time warranty of trust.

Three years ago, I picked up a suggested list of questions that
counselors should ask engaged couples. I have modified them to be
questions we should ask before engagement. With the help of trusted
clergy or a trained counselor, men and women can ask questions that
lead to deeper discernment.

1.) Would you change anything about the other person and why?
2.) What annoys you about each other’s parents or siblings?
3.) Have we been completely honest with the other person about our
previous relationships?
4.) What debts are you carrying into the relationship? Who will pay
for this debt and how?
5.) How will finances be handled? 1 Bank account or 2? Do we share
the same views about debt, retirement, and insurance?
6.) Do you have a will? Have you discussed with each other how you
want to be treated should you become incapacitated? Have you signed a
medical power of attorney?
7.) When will you take out a life insurance policy, and who will be
the beneficiary?
8.) Where will you spend Thanksgiving and Christmas?
9.) Will there be a television in the bedroom?
10.) Will you work outside the home? If one or the other is offered a
better position in another state, will you be willing to leave your
11.) If you have children, will one of you quit your paying job? If
so, which one?
12.) Is there anything you are not willing to sacrifice for the other person?
13.) How do you plan to communicate your schedule with the other
person? How often do you need a night with “just the guys” or “just
the girls”?
14.) Will you have alcohol or tobacco products in your home?
15.) Have you argued and been able to resolve the conflict peacefully?
16.) What, if any, forms of birth control will you use?
17.) Will you receive money from the other person’s parents for help
with a car or down payment on a home?
18.) Have you made a list of household duties (cooking, cleaning,
yard)? Who will carry these out, and how do you expect them to be
19.) Do you have student loans? Who will pay for these or future
tuition payments?
20.) Do you want to have children; and if so, how many?
21.) Will you raise your children in a religious environment? If so,
which faith tradition and why?
22.) Have you deleted all internet dating profiles?
23.) Have you fully disclosed each other’s physical and mental health histories?
24.) Do you get along with the other person’s friends? Are you willing
to make friends with other couples together?
25.) How far are you willing to live from your family of origin, and
how often do you need to see them?

People change in marriage, just not in the ways either person expects.
Commitments are fulfilled with the many decisions made to keep
promises. We prepare with better questions.

No comments:

Google Search