Falling in love can be beautiful … and smart.
Butterflies in the pit of your stomach, bright smiles, flushing cheeks, and giddiness — these are the classic feelings men and women associate with the first stages of falling in love.
When you’re dating someone new and just beginning to see the possibility of a long-term relationship (and possibly getting married!), it’s breathtaking and magical, but before you allow yourself to get too high on love and fall completely head over heels, there are important questions to ask your boyfriend or girlfriend before you become wedded to the vision of them as your husband or wife, especially if you want to avoid a divorce in the future.
Yes, you’re discovering more things about each other every day, and the exciting new information occupies your every waking thought. But what do you honestly know about them and who they really are?
Before you find yourself unable to stop the wheels already in motion and emotionally invested too deeply to think straight, take a step back.
Many women make the mistake of listening to what they think is their heart, rather than paying attention to the waving red flags in front of them. Or worse, they fail to ask important and defining relationship questions, and making assumptions instead about significant matters can come back to bite you.
Take Lidia, for example, who waited 4 years for a proposal, only to find out her boyfriend had lost faith in the institution of marriage after his divorce and was dead-set on cohabitation. Or take Jordan, who thought his wife would go all in with fertility treatments, including considering using donor eggs, when they couldn’t conceive a child naturally. The stress of the process and the disagreements about which route to take, if any, caused significant tension, and ultimately, their separation.
Essentially, much of the grief people experience over the course of marriage is preventable — and it comes down to proper vetting.
You wouldn’t accept a new job without asking questions in an interview about things such as the company culture and values, as well as what they expect from you and what you can expect in return, so why wouldn’t you do the same before giving your heart away and committing your entire life to a partner?
Knowledge is power. Be informed about your prospective mate and find out what you need to know.
To begin, ask yourself the following set of questions.
Before you can even think about asking someone else questions about what’s important to them, you need to start by figuring out what kind of life you want for yourself and what you value. When you have envisioned the future you want and you are firm about your relationship needs, you can move on to further “discovery” with your significant other.
Ideally, get clear about all of this before you decide to date, anyone. If you’re online dating, share enough about your personality to signal what you want in a partner, and you’ll be more likely to attract the kind of person who will be your ideal match in the first place.
Remember that how you ask these questions is key.
I recommend asking open-ended questions in a relaxed setting and with a casual attitude so it doesn’t feel like an interrogation. People generally feel more comfortable opening up while doing something they enjoy, so try going for a walk, making a home-cooked meal, or sitting down with a glass of wine.
You can even introduce these questions as a fun game, throwing in some wild extras such as, “What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?” or “What would you do if you came into a million dollars?”
Stay curious and listen to what’s truly being said rather than focusing on what you want to hear. Ask follow-up questions to reach better understandings without making or implying any judgment.
Keep in mind that you might like this person a lot, but if their answers don’t align with yours, that’s OK. That’s the point of dating, after all. You get to find out what you like and what does and doesn’t work for you so you can choose wisely whether you want to dive in or say good-bye.
Before you start falling in love and getting married, here are 15 critical questions to ask your boyfriend or girlfriend in order to save you both from a painful divorce.
1. What are you looking for in a relationship?
If you are looking for a commitment and the other person is looking for a hookup, friends with benefits, or has no idea what they want, proceed with caution! Love is on your mind, not just fun, so hold onto your integrity and maintain your boundaries.
If you’ve already had the DTR chat and you’re both in the same lane, move on to the rest of the questions.
2. What are your beliefs about marriage?
Find out if your new love wants marriage or if they’ll be content another arrangement, such as living together. If you believe in the institution of marriage and will only be satisfied with a ring on your finger, you’ll want to figure that out sooner than later.
3. Do you want to have kids?
Having kids right away, if ever, is no longer a given, so you may want to ask additional questions such as “When?” and “By what means are you willing to try if conceiving naturally doesn’t work?”
Important note: If they say they don’t want kids, believe them. If you think you can change the other person’s mind, you’re fooling yourself. That’s just the harsh reality of this one.
4. What role does religion/spirituality play in your life?
It’s best to uncover the beliefs and depth of the commitment your potential partner has to an organized religion or group early on. Consider whether your beliefs align with theirs, as well as if you’d want to be actively involved in your partner’s church or community, including raising your kids that way. Be open to learning, but make a call soon or you could end up resentful down the road.
5. Do you believe in monogamy?
Some people feel comfortable with the concept of open marriages and other variations of polyamory, and others don’t. If you and your boyfriend or girlfriend don’t see eye-to-eye on this one, get out now! Though infidelity is always a possibility for a wide variety of reasons, couples who stay together make conscious choices regarding what “commitment” means to them both.
6. What’s your political persuasion?
It used to be that couples could silently vote their conscience in the voting booth and compartmentalize when they got home. In this super-charged political climate, you had better be on the same page or expect a lot of conflicts.
7. What’s your take on women’s issues?
Find out how your new boyfriend feels about subjects like equal pay, the #MeToo movement, and women’s right to choose. These topics can fire up individuals on both sides, and ultimately you need a clear picture of how he values women in order to get a solid feel for how he’ll treat you. This may uncover some insecurities you can discuss how to figure out whether or not your sensibilities truly align.
8. What are you need to sex and intimacy?
This one is underrated. Studies have shown that incompatible sex drives and ideas about pleasure can derail a marriage fast. Finding out about your compatibility in this arena in advance can offer a lot of vital insight.
9. What is your relationship with money?
You might get a laugh or raised an eyebrow with this one, but what you want to uncover is how they spend and budget their money. Does your new flame put a priority on saving? Can they manage a budget and maintain a good credit score? Find out if they are in love with money for money’s sake, or they see it as a means to building a comfortably secure future for their family.
10. What are your life goals?
Does this person have a plan for their life, or are they expecting to wing it? If you’re the type who believes that you’ll figure it out as you go, you might just drive a planner mad and vice versa. Consider your new love interest’s personal and professional goals and whether or not they jibe with your own
11. What are your interests and how do you prefer spending your free time?
Without question, couples need time apart to explore their own passions. At the same time, you’ve got to have some common interests and something you find joy in doing together. If you can’t get over your new guy’s gun club obsession, it’s time to find someone new, perhaps at a hobby club that you enjoy.
12. What’s your take on drug and alcohol use?
If they have a casual attitude toward it, or they admit to heavy use, and this either goes against your belief system or scares you, back away. If you’re both cool with drinking socially or find marijuana relaxing, neither of you will flinch when the other says they are, too.
13. What’s your relationship like with your family?
If the answer is that your girlfriend or boyfriend has no relationship with their family, or they do but it’s fraught with conflict, consider exploring this topic some more. What was their childhood like? What’s their part in the strife?
The good news is that if your guy has a healthy relationship with his mom, it may mean a happier relationship for you. Strong father-daughter bonds are important, too, of course, and can also impact future relationship outcomes.
14. What are your relationship deal breakers?
You might be shocked by the answers you get apart from the typical response of infidelity.
Watch out for red flags on this one! One guy I know believes his wife should never override him and that she has an obligation not to gain weight after pregnancy, and one woman told her fiancé he’d be expected to maintain her lavish lifestyle.
15. How have your past relationships ended?
This question can provide a wealth of insights on so many levels, as it reveals a lot about what their breaking point might have been, as well as their patterns of behavior.
If your spidey sense starts tingling with a feeling that your sweetheart isn’t quite over their ex, delve into that, too.
Overall, their response to this question tells you about their capacity to learn and grow in relationships and what they’re looking for this time around.
Once you have the answers you need to these make-or-break relationship questions, you can decide where this relationship is going.
If you’re not in too deep, it will be easier to think objectively, maintain your standards, and move on if you need to.
And who knows? The answers might pleasantly surprise you!
You will then be able to relax into this new beautiful relationship and fall deeper in love, knowing you’ve got a really great shot at making it work.