But without a direct discussion, sometimes one’s beliefs about another’s outlook can be clouded by our feelings for them. Optimists and pessimists can live happily ever after together, but for compatibility’s sake, it’s often easier to stick with those who share your philosophical approach to life. Does the person see areas of improvement they’d like to work on in their lives? Or do they see themselves as the “this is who I am, take it or leave it” kind of person?
Just as in where you can’t force someone to go to therapy because you think it would benefit them, the same is true in marriage — you can’t go into a marriage expecting to change the other person. That’s why these questions are important before you get married.
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Sit down and discuss these topics before you get married, in a relaxed, comfortable, and private setting. Turn it into a sort of game, if you’d like, and keep the tone of the discussion light but focused on getting to each other’s truthful answers.
If you find yourself incompatible with your partner on two or more of these questions, it’s a sign. Either you’ll both have to work harder than you probably imagined to find common ground in the marriage. Or you may be better off taking a step back and reconsidering your options. In either case, you’ll be far better prepared for your future than if you hadn’t asked.
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1. A followup question to this one could take the form of, “Do you want to be just like them, or do you think we could things a little bit differently (or even better)?”