13 Non-Cliché Qs You Need To Ask Your Future Spouse BEFORE Marriage

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Questions that must be answered before you say I do.

Don't say "I do" until you ask these questions.

When you're planning a wedding, there are so many questions that must be asked of your future spouse. What kind of cake do you like? Do we have to invite your uncle Ernie? Do you prefer a more intimate ceremony or should we expand the guest list to include your second cousins?

In a recent article in The New York Times, Eleanor Stanford writes, "When it comes to marriage, what you don't know really can hurt you."

It may be because of awkwardness, lack of curiosity or an intense desire to preserve the romantic mystery of a relationship, but many couples don't get into the really important questions and answers before they tie the knot; and often times, not afterward either.

But by asking and answering the difficult questions, can help make a relationship stronger and build the foundation for a stable marriage. 

If you know where your partner stands on a number of deal-breakers and values, you won't be surprised when it's too late and will potentially prevent an unworkable marriage from ever taking place. Here are 13 questions you must ask your future spouse before you get married

1. How did your family handle conflict when you were growing up?

We learn from our families conflict resolution as we grow up. If you come from a family that stayed silent and never dealt with conflict — while your potential spouse came from a family that screamed and broke things — you need to know this in advance so you can find a way to work together.

There are four key skills that need to be utilized when problems arise: relieve the stress of the situation, manage emotion, improve non-verbal communication skills, and use humor/play to deal with challenges. When you're working in the same way as your partner, your problems will not escalate.

2. Do you want children and what would your parenting duties include?

When discussing having children with your partner, don't say what you think they want to hear and hope you can change their minds later. You also need to know if your partner will be willing to get up for those 2 AM feedings and changing diapers. 

3. Will our "number" help or hurt us? 

If you've had a lot of relationships and/or sexual partners, you may be tempted to compare your current partner to one of the past, or your current partner could become jealous or judgmental. If you have a conversation about each of your experiences and agree that you had a life before each other, it can strengthen your relationship rather than pose a threat to it.

4. How important is religion and how will you want to celebrate religious holidays, if at all?

If you're from one kind of religious background and your potential spouse a completely different one, are they going to want you to convert? What about children — whose religion will you want them to be raised in?

Dr. Bradford Wilcox, the director of the National Marriage Project, says that spouses are especially likely to experience conflict over religious traditions when children are added to the mix.

5. How much debt do you have?

Are you willing to make my debt your debt? Talking about finances can get very emotional, fast. If you come into a relationship with a lot of debt, is your partner required to bail you out, or you them? Letting your potential partner know that the kind of debt you have is important, and you definitely don't want to spring it on them (or they on you) after the wedding.

6. What's the most you'd be willing to spend on a big ticket item? 

Couples should make sure that they're on the same page in terms of financial caution or recklessness. Disparity in spending can be manageable but if issues aren't addressed, this could increase your likelihood of divorce.

7. Will I be able to do things without you or must we always be together?

When some people get married, they hope they'll be able to keep their autonomy in certain areas of their life, even as they build a partnership with their spouse. This means they may want to keep their friends and hobbies apart from their spouse, and this can lead to negative feelings if not discussed beforehand. Your idea of privacy may be very different than your future spouse, and it's a good idea to find out what they expect.

8. Do we like each other's parents? 

According to the Legacy Project, looking at potential future in-laws carefully can be an important part of the marriage decision. For some, incompatibility with a spouse's family is a source of unhappiness; for others, liking the in-laws was a big bonus.

9. How important is sex to you? 

Partners should have a conversation about what they enjoy about sex as well as how often they expect to have it. The type of sex you have will change over the course of a marriage, and if you ultimately want different things from it, you need to discuss it.

10. What do you think about porn?

Dr. Peter Pearson of The Couples Institute suggests asking your partner outright for his or her views on pornography. Couples are often too embarrassed or scared to ask about this early on, but he has seen it become a source of tension down the line. 

11. What are the ways you nurture a relationship?

There are many different ways to say I love you, such as affirmations, quality time, gifts, doing nice things, and touching. But as with all languages, your way of expressing your love may not be the same way your significant other does. Work on how you can continue to strengthen your relationship together.

12. What do you like about me and what bugs the crap out of you? 

No matter how smitten you and your future mate are with each other, eventually you will see each other clearly, flaws and all. These pet peeves and irritating habits don't need to be deal-breakers once you've settled into the marriage. We're all human and accepting of each other's flaws, and humanity can only strengthen the marriage.

13. What will we be like in 10 years?

If you can keep the answer to this question in mind, it can help you deal with any current conflict. This question can confirm that you and your partner have similar goals and expectations for your marriage.

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