5 Questions to Ask Your Partner Before the Wedding

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As a former bride, mother of the bride and bridesmaid, I have seen many marriages that were simply doomed from the start.  These ill-fated marriages usually lead to one of two equally distressing outcomes: (1) divorce or (2) living with your bad decision day in and day out until you die.  It’s a real shame too, because the simple act of communication can uncover most of the potential red flags before it’s too late.  And this communication really boils down to 5 simple pre-wedding questions, the answers to which will help you determine your long term compatibility.

One question involves geography.  Specifically, if you want to live in the boonies but your partner wants to live in NYC, you have a problem.  Sometimes discussing this factor can lead to compromise, and other times it could lead to the end of the relationship, but it’s better to find out before the wedding as opposed to after.

Another burning question centers on having kids.  Unlike the geography question, if you want kids but your partner does not, it’ll be very difficult to find any kind of compromise.  On the other hand, if the disagreement revolves around how many kids to have, more often than not you’ll be able to find that happy medium.  But again, if the disagreement is whether or not to have kids period, you definitely need to know this as soon as possible because it could be a deal breaker.

Another topic to discuss is the type of intimacy expected by both parties.  Expectations around sex, cuddling, spending time together, feeling appreciated, etc., need to be defined upfront.  Remember that your lives together from here on out will be full of ups and downs, and if there is a discrepancy regarding intimacy expectations, it will be inherently more difficult to weather the storms.

Another question relates to the financial status and spending habits of you and your partner.  If your partner is carrying 6 figures worth of debt, you’ll obviously want to know about it!  This could put a real crimp on your wedding budget as well as your financial status after the wedding.  Similarly, spending habits can create conflict if there is no communication.  One partner might be a relatively free spender while the other may be a tightwad, but that’s ok as long as the expectations are set up front.

Finally, work habits need to be discussed.  For example, if it turns out that both you and your partner are workaholics, then raising children might be more challenging.  On the other hand, if your partner is a lazy dud and you are a hard worker, this will inevitably lead to tension in the future.  So please, discuss it in advance!

At the end of the day, if the answers to these 5 questions reveal that long term compatibility might be an issue, you have the option of attending couples therapy or counseling, or breaking off the engagement altogether.  Yes it’s true that canceling a wedding is a difficult choice, but when compared to the possibility of divorce or living a tension-filled life, it can be a much better alternative.

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