>Questions for Engaged Couples… Married couples should read…

>I want to share this article with those couples who are considering marriage. However, I encourage married couples to introduce these topics for discussion, as well.

Questions to Discuss Before You Get Married
Sheri & Bob Stritof, www.About.com

Discuss These Issues Before Walking Down the Aisle

Many marriage education experts caution that when couples believe in the myths of “happily-ever-after” or “love conquers all,” problems in the marital relationship may surface within a short time after the wedding.

The success or failure of your marriage relationship may hinge on how well you deal with issues such as finances, sexuality, communication, conflict, parenting, in-laws, leisure time, family of origin, spirituality, expectations, and chores.

Even though you may be very busy with wedding preparations, it is critical that you make time to prepare for your life time together by exploring your relationship in more depth.
Communication, along with a willingness to grow closer together, is one of the keys to a successful marriage.

To get to know one another better you can play “The Newlywed Board Game” together or you can look over these questions that we believe you need to ask one another if you want to improve your future marital life.

· Why are we getting married? Pregnancy, financial security, loneliness or wanting to get out of the family home are not valid reasons to get married.
· What do we as a couple want out of life?
· What do you think we’ll be doing in thirty or forty years?
· How often do you drink?
· Have you ever hit someone?
· Do you think it is important to be faithful to one another?
· Do you have a criminal record?
· Are you willing to replace the toilet tissue roll?

Family of Origin Issues to Talk About Before You are Married

· What was your childhood like?
· Was your family an affectionate one?
· Do you think we will have problems with your family during the holidays?
· What values do you want to bring from your family into our marriage?
· What do you like and dislike about your family?
· What do you like and dislike about my family?
· What do you like and dislike about your parents’ marriage?
· What do you like and dislike about my parents’ marriage?

Self Image Issues to Talk About Before You are Married

· How would you describe yourself?
· How do you think I see you?
· Am I a jealous person?
· Do I have trust issues or feel insecure?
· How important is affirmation to me?
· Do I handle compliments well?
· What is your love language?
· Do you think we listen to one another well?
· Do you think it is important to know one another’s physical and mental health histories?

Time and Chores Issues to Talk About Before You are Married

· Will you clean the toilet?
· How are we going to divide up the household chores?
· What are your expectations about how we will spend our free time?
· How do you want to spend our days off?
· Do you believe that we should be doing everything together?
· Can we each pursue our own interests?
· Do you need or want time alone?
· How would you feel if I want a night out with my friends now and then?
· How will we make sure we have quality time together?
· How much time will we spend with our in-laws?

Money Issues to Talk About Before You are Married

· Can we talk about money?
· Are you a saver or spender when it comes to money?
· Do you want to have a budget?
· Should we have a joint checking account or separate accounts or both?
· Who is going to be responsible for making sure that bills are paid on time?
· Do you consider going to the movies and having a vacation every year a necessity or a luxury?
· How much do we owe in debts and what are our assets?
· Where does our money go?
· What are our financial goals?
· Do you have any outstanding fines or debts?
· What are our future plans for purchasing a home?
· Do we both know where our important financial documents are located?

Parenting Issues to Talk About Before You are Married

· Do you want to have children?
· Do we want to have children?
· If we decide we do, how many children do you want to have?
· How long should we be married before having children?
· What kind of parent do you think you will be?
· What is your parenting philosophy?
· Will one of us stay home after we have children?
· What type of birth control should we use if we want to postpone or prevent parenthood?
· How do you feel about adoption?
· Do you have any children already?

Spirituality and Religious Issues to Talk About Before You are Married

· Does religion play an important part in your life?
· Do you think faith and spirituality are important in a marriage?
· What is your image of God?

Sexual Issues to Talk About Before You are Married

Can we talk about sex?
· Should we talk about sex?
· Are you comfortable discussing your sexual likes and dislikes?
· What are your expectations of our sexual relationship?

Conflict Issues to Talk About Before You are Married

· How will we make decisions together?
· Are we both willing to face into difficult areas or do we try to avoid conflict?
· Do you think we have problems in our relationship that we need to deal with before our wedding?
· Do we handle conflict well?
· How are we different?
· Do you think our differences will create problems in our marriage?
· Do you expect or want me to change?
· Can we both forgive?
· Are we both willing to work on our communication skills and to share intimately with each other?

About Ilissa Banhazl

Ilissa Banhazl is a licensed marriage and family psychotherapist, former grade school teacher and holds a masters degree in reading. She has a private practice in Glendora, CA and lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband and three children. She specializes in adult, adolescent, individual, couple, and family relationship counseling as well as eating disorder treatment and recovery. She facilitates a Women’s Support Group in Glendora as well as a Women’s Disordered Eating & Body Image Group. Ilissa authors 3 therapy blogs, Marriage and Family, Eating Disorders and Group Therapy. You can follow her at FB and Twitter. http://www.ilissabanhazlmft.com or http://www.eatingdisordersgroup.com
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