He’s about to pop the question, but first you need to ask a few of your own.
In 1001 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married, author Monica Mendez Leahy hopes couples will probe into their partners’ psyches before they say “I do.” Some may seem silly: “Are you a light or heavy packer?” Or simple: “Do you consider yourself a morning or night person?” but they all provide insight into your mate’s habits and characteristics you’ll be living with, well, forever.
And though Leahy stresses the importance of each question, we asked her to pick her top ten most important questions to ask before hitching up. Let’s roll them up.
Were you the Geek, Stoner, Bully, or Jock in high school?
People change with time, but upon closer inspection it is often clear that we have not strayed far from the basic personality traits we displayed as adolescents. That’s why it’s good to take a sneak peek at his inner sophomore. So, for example, if you find out you’re marrying the class clown, you know you can count on his cut-up skills at a cocktail party, but also be prepared for spitballs with your morning coffee.
Are you turning into your mother or father?
Try as one might, we can’t deny our genetic makeup or the influence of our parents on the way we are in our own relationships. So if you hear your partner’s mother (or father) in his voice, this may be the time to gently bring his attention to the pattern he’s perpetuating. Of course you should also turn this lens on yourself.
What did you do when your team lost the Super Bowl?
Study reactions to losses both large (losing a job, the death a loved one) and small (the Super Bowl, misplacing your car keys), gives great insight as to how a person handles unexpected crises, a major predictor of a successful marriage.
Caveat: but don’t overanalyze. 4 ways a psychology degree can ruin your relationship.
Would you like to be cloned?
Science fiction aside, this is a good litmus test for asking about the role children will play in your relationship. Do you both want to have kids? If so, what motivates your desire? Would you like to have a child exactly like you or your partner, warts and all? Pay special attention to any characteristics you secretly wish the gene pool would weed out.
What’s your credit rating?
Asking about his credit rating is a question as important as it is unromantic. Money is the primary source of tension for couples. Unless you both find out as much as possible about how, why, when and where you each plan to spend your hard-earned cash, prepare yourself for some major battles over bucks.
Can uncle Joe borrow $500?
How much support do you give to your siblings, friends, or parents? The amount of emotional and financial assistance you each give to outsiders directly affects how much you’ll have left to give to each other.
Where will you be on Hanukah, Christmas, or Kwanza?
Divvying up holidays can be a severe source of stress for couples. Which holidays would you like to spend with your family? Which would you be willing to celebrate with his (or hers)?
Are you into bondage?
Or perhaps it’s role-playing that gets you going. Either way, couples shouldn’t even consider saying “I do” until they have discussed how they like to do the deed. This includes not only where, when and how they prefer to get it on, but also how they will handle sexual dissatisfaction.
Can I go to lunch with my ex?
How about attending that bachelor/ette party in Las Vegas? What about a strip club with the guys? Once married, couples must establish boundaries for social behavior, but it’s better to know what you’re okay with (or not) before diving in to a lifetime commitment.
Will it be church or golf this Sunday?
What role does religion play in your life? How will it play out in your relationship? How would you feel if your partner suddenly became more or less devout about a particular belief?