6. Youth and children. Have you discussed your expectations around family planning? That's a pretty critical distinction to make. Some people know for sure that kids are not in their future while others believe it's simply a matter of "the bigger, the better." Of course, that's just the beginning.
If you drill down, there are a lot more questions to ask. What is your timeline for having kids? Do you want to start trying immediately or is that a decision for much later? How do you feel about in vitro fertilization if it became necessary? Would you consider an adoption? What kind of disciplinarian are you? Are you a strict, no-nonsense type or more laid-back and flexible? What about public school versus private? Can you see how many important decisions must be made in just this one area?
7. Spirituality and religious beliefs. In this last category, it literally comes down to what you believe. In other words, how important to you is spirituality or faith? Do you consider yourself devoutly religious or an absolute atheist? Do you practice holiday traditions or religious rituals? How do you feel about baptizing your kids or other religious rights of passage? Would you send your children to religious schools or worship regularly as a family?
Even if you seem to be on the same page initially, it's important to bear in mind that people's beliefs do tend to shift and evolve over the course of a lifetime. Essentially, if you don't work out these types of issues, you don't have a prayer of succeeding over the long term.
By now you can see that there's no shortage of important topics that need to be addressed and resolved by both partners before you can settle down successfully. Even though I've created this checklist based on my expertise and experience, keep in mind that I don't have all the answers here. The right answers are the ones that you and your partner can arrive at through discussion, negotiation and agreement. The bottom line is if you want a divorce-proof marriage, it starts with a commitment to staying together A.L.L.W.A.Y.S.
Check out the TV interview on Fox TV: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJfRD8GsgmU&list=UUa-hto4K6Fzvp-roOnWLisQ...