Last year, through the wonder of the net, I found this published in The New York Times. Asking questions BEFORE you get married is important, IMPORTANT! After 14 years of my own marriage I cannot stress it enough! My husband and I come from Western European countries, we're both first generation Canadians and we have a few of the same goals but really it ends there.....and it has sometimes been bumpy trying to figure it all out....here are some great questions, with the writer's answers, that her priest asked in their marriage prep course.....
|Before you book the Church, buy your dress and order the flowers make sure this is the right decision for you both|
Father Mark was in seminary school back in 2006 and since then all his classmates have been using this as part of their pre-marital sessions… because it works! In our final session, Mr. Lobster and I went through every. single. one. It generated some very enlightening discussion. Here are a few of the more interesting ones and short versions of our answers:
Have we discussed whether or not to have children, and if the answer is yes, who is going to be the primary care giver?
While we have not explicitly discussed this we do both want children eventually. I assumed I’d be the primary caregiver but Mr. Lobster says he doesn’t mind being a stay-at-home dad.
Have we discussed our expectations for how the household will be maintained, and are we in agreement on who will manage the chores?
Since we have lived together for 2 years, we’ve definitely hashed out the chores over many (many) fights. Recently we splurged and hired a cleaning lady which… let’s face it… if you can manage the extra cost is so worth it if chores cause tension between you and your S.O.
Have we fully disclosed our health histories, both physical and mental?
Yes. This was an especially sensitive question for me since I know Mr. Lobster’s family has a history of heart disease.
Is my partner affectionate to the degree that I expect?
Yes and yes. Mr. Lobster may even be overly affectionate. :)
Will there be a television in the bedroom?
I want one. I really REALLY like TV. But Mr. Lobster has heard it’s bad for sleeping (so have I)… I still want one.
Do we truly listen to each other and fairly consider one another’s ideas and complaints?
This was one of those that generated some talk especially since I owned up to the fact that I didn’t think I considered Mr. Lobster’s ideas/complaints as much as I would like.
What does my family do that annoys you?
For me, this was a difficult question because nothing Mr. Lobster’s family does “annoys” me. We have quite a formal relationship… maybe just a difference in upbringing since my family is not… so formal. Case in point, Mr. L said that my mom asks ways too many questions sometimes to the point of inappropriateness. This is true.
Are there some things that you and I are NOT prepared to give up in the marriage?
This is where we’re supposed to answer, “my motorcycle, “my friends,” etc. but neither of us really knew what that would be for us but agreed that “alone time” (without each other) would be one of them.
Does each of us feel fully confident in the other’s commitment to the marriage and believe that the bond can survive whatever challenges we may face?
Mr. Lobster simply said, “Yes.” Aww, my sweetie. I knew this would be a controversial question because I said “Yes, I believe we are both fully committed to the marriage but I cannot say I know 100% we can survive any challenge.” Mr. Lobster looked at me kinda shocked and said “What?” in a quiet tone. However, Father Mark was not at all surprised… he said we were not the first couple that answered the question like that (phew!). I didn’t want to be dishonest but I think it’s normal to be uncertain about some things.
Despite that surprise, we did end the session on a good note. Even though we haven’t explicitly discussed a lot of these questions, Mr. Lobster and I so far been on the same wavelength that we ended up agreeing on a lot of things. But we also walked away knowing which areas needed more thought and discussion.
Additionally there were racier questions about sex, religion, parental relationships, etc. that I didn’t include in this post. If you have a couple hours, it might be worth sitting down with your significant other to discuss some of these. Better to avoid the surprises now according to this other New York Times article.
Have you and your S.O. asked each other the tough questions? How do you think the discussion would go?
|A fun little moment during a wedding I serviced a few years back|
Like I mentioned earlier I've been doing this married thing for just over 14 years now so here are a couple of more questions that have come up at my house......
Who is paying for what?
Do you have a joint bank account? separate? both?
How important is your religion? Will you bring any children you may have in it?
What school do you hope to get your children into?
What kind of house/size of property do you want?
Where are you going to live? How close should your in-laws be? Will elderly in-laws move in with you?
What are your life long goals? What are you both working towards?
Who is in charge of dinner and laundry? (BIG ones at my house! haha)
What is the bride's last name going to be? What about any children?
How will extended family conflicts (don't kid yourself-there will be something at some point) be handled?
What do you "expect" from the other in your marriage?
There are, what I call, the "non-negotiables" like whether or not to have children....you cannot force someone who does not want children to have them and you cannot deny someone who longs for them either....I've known many people to squash their desire and it comes back to haunt them later on.....everyone has these non-negotables and you need to know what yours are and really talk about them.
|Me & Jean and our 2 1/2 year old on our wedding day-oh if we knew then what we know now we'd still have gotten married but would have talked a lot more!|
I know there are a lot of couples that say "oh we live together it's all figured out" well the stats say differently. Did you know that with a 50% divorce rate it's actually higher with people that lived together before they married? You need to do the work too.....and just think all the hard stuff will be done and your marriage will be nothing but a "happily ever after" (well, maybe not but at least you both know where you stand!) haha
What are your non-negotiables? Was there a question you both discussed and you were surprised by the other person's answer?