Avoiding Divorce Through Questions to Ask Before You Marry
by Jan Hughes
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I see couples who wish they would have known more before marrying, both about themselves and about their spouses. They come to me in misery because who they thought they were marrying is not who they married. How they thought marriage should be seems to be a faraway fairytale. They feel deceived, deprived and desperate to resolve the problems or divorce. Although marriage problems can be resolved if each is willing to follow God’s standards, it is better to choose wisely than experience the heartbreak of marital discord.
Following is a definitely non-exhaustive list of questions to ask before you marry,
from the perspective of a Christian psychotherapist who has heard from the lips of hurting couples what they wished they would have asked. I trust the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart as you read on.
Can I serve God more fully as a single or married person?
Does he/she build and encourage my walk with God?
Does God want me to marry this person?
Does God want me to marry this person now?
Has your relationship evolved from years of friendship to romance?
Has your relationship grown steadily in quality?
Has your relationship been consistent, without a series of separations?
Does he/she treat family members, friends, coworkers and strangers well?
Do you resolve conflicts with respect, negotiation, and godly behavior?
Do you agree on financial priorities? Will he/she prove it?
Is the person financially stable? Will he/she prove it?
Can you talk about anything? Test this.
Do you agree on how much time each of you reserves for yourself, the two of you, family, extended family, friends, and others?
Do you agree about the level of involvement, for each of you, and as a couple, with friends and family?
Do you trust him/her?
Do you have any secrets that would damage the relationship if the other knew of them? You might as well know before you marry whether the other accepts you and your history.
If you went into a coma, would you trust him/her to make decisions in a way with which you are comfortable?
Do cats, horses, and little kids (3-5 years old) like him/her?
Does he/she treat animals with kindness?
Do you agree on a budget? (Prove it ... over six months or more.)
Do you have the same financial priorities? (Compare your spending habits, again, over six months or more).
Do you have an agreement about consulting with each other before making purchases over a designated amount? Is it followed?
Does he/she work steadily?
Does he/she have a good credit history? If not, were the circumstances for a less-than-good credit history due to circumstances beyond his/her control or just bad choices?
Do you feel safe and at peace in the relationship?
Do you negotiate without aggression and passive aggression?
Do you feel you are of equal worth to him/her, and are you treated as if you are?
Is he/she humble when successful?
Is he/she gentle when stressed?
Do you like him/her? Of the qualities you don’t like, do you minimize them? Example: “She is (disliked quality), but ... she is (liked quality). Minimizing is not good. That which you don’t like is very likely to bother you much more after you are married.
Are you marrying for what you can get out of the marriage/hope to get from the relationship? Make what you expect clear.
Are his/her moods stable? Or do you see sudden mood changes, over minor situations?
Do you have the same dreams?
Do you agree on intimacy matters?
Do you agree on tasks and roles you expect of yourself and him/her?
Are there any lurking idols? (Material possessions, intellect, status, etc.)
If he/she never changes, would you be satisfied?
If he/she changes as he/she believes is good, will you be satisfied?
In your heart of hearts, do you believe this person is the very best fit for you? Or are you settling?
Does he/she respond with respect and kindness when you say, “No.”?
Do you have similar expectations for a family based on how each of you was raised?
Are you comfortable with your level of agreement about elements of your faith and relationship with the Lord?
Do you laugh together easily and often?
Are there any addictions in either of you? Address these before you marry.
Do you have more than a few similar interests?
Does each of you feel comfortable in the other’s family and social circle?
Are you proud of his/her character?
Does he/she respond to unexpected events with a calm attitude?
Are you comfortable with the explanations for the number of and reasons for previous divorce(s)?
Do people that love you feel comfortable around him/her?
Have you both fully disclosed any health problems?
Do you have free access to his/her personal computer, phone, etc. to verify what he/she says or is there resistance to gaining access?
Do you agree on the discipline and rules for children, and have you seen behavioral evidence of this?
Do your conversations flow easily, with an absence of blaming, undue criticisms and negative assumptions?
Do you tolerate words or actions from him/her that you would not tolerate from a stranger? If yes, you probably have things to work on before marrying.
It is better to ask now, and to know now, rather than unintentionally deceive yourself or another through strictly emotional decisions. Think. If there is any hesitation, do not marry unless and until you have resolved the issues about which you are now aware.
Proverbs 4:23, New Living Translation: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.”
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