By the time you decide to get engaged, you obviously know your partner pretty well. You know their quirks, pet peeves, and favorite pasta sauces. You’re also very clear on the fact that this is the person you’re going to spend your life with.
So – you might be wondering – what good would premarital counseling do you?
Quite a bit, it turns out. Premarital counseling gives you a safe space what explore what you expect from the relationship, and how to healthily handle those expectations both now, and down the line.
One of you already popped the question; it’s time to ask some other helpful questions, too! Take a peek into what you can expect, with these 52 questions typically asked in premarital counseling.
- Children related questions
- Religion related questions
- Money related questions
- Work and career questions
- Sex related questions
- Social life questions
- Vacations and holiday related questions
- Moving and settling related questions
- Conflict resolution and decision making questions
- Household duty questions
- Personal background questions
1. Children related questions
At this point in the relationship, you likely already know the “will we or won’t we” as regards to raising a family. But digging a bit deeper into the topic can be a beneficial exercise, since it can reveal areas you might want to work through.
Premarital counseling questions regarding children might include:
- How many children do we want to have, and what’s our ideal timeline?
- Do we want to hire a nanny? Or will our children go to day care? Or will one of us stay home?
- If yes to staying home, how long before we return to work?
- Will our children attend public or private schools? How important is this to each of us, and why?
- How do we hope to parent our children?
- What will be do if our parenting styles or values conflict?
2. Religion and faith related questions
Whether you’re devout, undecided, or somewhere in-between, religion is typically a tough topic for couples to discuss on their own. Secular premarital counseling provides the opportunity to voice your desires and concerns by asking questions like:
- How important is religion to each of us?
- How much influence do we want religion to play in our lives and our children’s lives?
- Which religion will be taught and celebrated in the home or could different religions be celebrated?
- Will we celebrate religious holidays? If so, to what extent? What will those holidays look like?
- What are our core values as individuals and as a couple, and how do we see ourselves upholding them?
- How can we handle any conflicts between our individual values?
3. Money related questions
For many, marriage marks the point at which income and finances are expected to be a shared responsibility.
But it’s not always as easy as opening a joint bank account and calling it a day; you may also need to discuss the nitty gritties of the “f” word... finances:
- How much do each of us expect to contribute to the household?
- How much of our income will we spend on our own personal hobbies or interests?
- How much of how income do each of us envision saving
- Should we have a monthly budget? How will we set it and stick to it?
- Do we want to combine our finances completely or keep some accounts separate?
- How much debt do we have, and how much money do we have saved?
- What will we do if we have an emergency expense or an unexpected loss of income?
- How much do we plan to spend on shared interests, like vacations? If we plan to spend some of our money on a vacation, what type of vacation do each of us enjoy?
- What is the importance of earning money to each of us?
- How much is expected from each of us in terms of earning money for the family?
4. Work and career questions
One person’s long hours is another person’s normal. Make sure you and your partner are on the same page about career expectations.
- How much will each of us work?
- Do we expect or want to make any significant career changes in the future?
- How will we balance careers and childcare if we have children?
- How can we support each other in our career goals?
- How much sacrifice is each of us willing to endure for the other person’s career goals and the pursuit of success?
- How many hours per week does each person expect the other will be away from home (or working at home) in order to pursue career goals?
5. Sex related questions
It’s a tricky topic, but crucial to be honest about. After all, who better to discuss sex with than your partner?
- How important is sex to each of us?
- How much sex do each of us envision having every week?
- How will we handle any problems in the bedroom down the line?
- How is our current sex life going? Do either of us have any unmet sexual desires?
- Are we monogamous? What will we do if either of us is interested in changing our relationship model in the future?
- What other forms of intimacy and romance are important to us, aside from sex?
6. Social life questions
Every relationship needs a healthy balance between friends, family, and each other – what does yours look like?
- How much socializing is important to each of us? How much time do we want to spend with each of our friends and family?
- How important is maintaining friendships outside the marriage to each of us and to what extent should our attention and shared resources be devoted to these (e.g. weekend bachelor and bachelorette parties, weddings, showers, etc.)?
- How close are each of us to our immediate and extended family members? How much time do each of us expect to spend with our families (alone and with one another)?
7. Vacations and holiday related questions
How do each of us envision spending our weekends? Where do we want to spend them?
- How will time off, and holidays, be spent?
- How much of our vacation time will be devoted to visiting family versus traveling together as a couple or family?
8. Moving and settling related questions
Whether you both want to move, or put down roots where you are, it’s great to touch base now.
- Where do we want to settle down? Will we want to live in the city or in the suburbs?
- What is our shared vision of the future?
9. Conflict resolution and decision making questions
- How do we resolve conflicts?
- What communication style works well for us, and where do we struggle?
- How can we effectively express difficult emotions like anger and sadness?
- How will we make major life decisions together?
- Where can we turn for support if we disagree about a big decision in the future?
10. Household duty questions
- How do we divide up household duties?
- Do we have any particular challenges around sharing a household?
- Which tasks will (or does) each partner handle?
11. Personal background questions
- What are our plans for combining our different backgrounds, whether racial, ethnic, cultural, socio-economic, or otherwise?
- Do we expect any conflicts related to our different backgrounds?
- How might we plan to resolve those potential conflicts?
These are just some of the questions you can expect in premarital counseling.
A premarital counselor will, ultimately, tailor the questions and sessions to your unique situation and relationship – and give you the space to discuss with the guidance of a nonjudgmental third party.