Get the conversation going with these five questions:
Do you come from a long line of plate-throwers?
How do you and your beloved cope with your conflicts? It’s not carved in stone that you will repeat your family methods, but you can look at them for a hint of what’s in store. Does your side retreat into silence when disagreements come up? Does his side calmly discuss issues? Dealing with differences is key to a relationship’s success. Tackling this issue ahead of marriage can be crucial to your wedded bliss.
Will ex-boyfriends get in the way?
If you have had several bad breakups, you may be tempted to unfavorably compare your current to your exes. Marriage experts say comparisons can hurt the quality of marriage to the point that you are at risk for divorce. If he’s had a few serious relationships, you may be feeling jealous or judgmental. Talking about past loves is never easy, but you probably want to get this question out of the way sooner rather than later. Accept that there was life before you were a couple.
How about the money, honey?
Studies have long fingered money as a leading sore point in marriages. It’s not just a question of my salary is bigger than your salary and what does that prove? It’s a question of what financial contribution do each of you bring to the marriage. Talking about money is critical, and many couples are reluctant to discuss finances. Get it out of the way by finding out if your partner expects you to keep separate bank accounts. Draw up a basic household budget based on your proportional incomes. Disclosing debt is also crucial. Is your debt his debt? Would you each be willing to bail the other out of debt?
What about children?
Do you both want children? How many? When should we have them? Be honest with your partner. Telling him what you think he wants to hear and then springing a change of heart after the wedding will not prolong the marriage. Who’s going to change diapers? Get up for the 3 a.m. feeding? Don’t make decisions about your roles as parents based on assumptions.
My religion or your religion?
If your religious backgrounds differ, you’ll want to decide whether to go your separate ways or find an affiliation you can share as a couple. Conflicts are most likely to arise when you add children to the family. Agree on a plan for their religious education before the happy birthdays arrive. Have an honest discussion about the importance of religious and how to celebrate religious holidays as a couple and as a family.
Read more: 13 Questions to Ask Before Getting Married