Dr. Kimberly Riley
Most people would agree that marriage is beautiful, especially when they are in the planning stages of their own marriage. People get excited when they think about spending every day with their best friend for the rest of their life. The excitement can be so great that it can almost overshadow the reality of what is happening; two people preparing to become one.There is a lot of intentional focused time put towards the technical details in wedding planning, but what about details that will be most beneficial to the couple once the wedding day memories have faded away? How much time is actually spent learning about your soon to be spouse? Do people avoid the harder, more personal questions because they are afraid of the outcome? Maybe they don’t know what to ask?
Possibly, if people had a guide they would engage in deeper conversations before marriage to find out the things they would like to know, without having the extra fear of asking.
If you are ready to start your life with the person you love and want to know more about who they are, while also learning more about yourself, this article might be perfect for you!
Premarital Counseling Questionnaire
Here is a set of premarital questions that will be great to go over before you say “I do!”
Who are they, anyway? Who are you?
Certain questions we ask our partners can lead to a better understanding of who we are. Have you ever wondered something about yourself and it becomes clearer to you after hearing the answer of someone else? How about when someone asks you a question that makes you think about a subject in a way you haven’t thought about it before?
It is a different type of self-awareness since it is unexpected but necessary for growth in life and the life of your relationship. People make assumptions about one another but isn’t it great when you can get clarity so you do not have to assume any longer.
Maybe once or twice your assumptions may be correct, but more often than not having the answer you are looking for from the person you are curious about is more accurate and feels a lot more meaningful.
When you are in a relationship that has grown close enough to indicate marriage is the next step, you believe you know everything you should know about about your soon to be bride or groom, but is that really true? What about the things that you have never thought to ask about the person that can play a big part in the way that they interact with you and the other people around them?
There are even basic questions that you may believe don’t matter at all, but they actually do, because they are things that have made the person you are in love with who they are – things about their experiences that have shaped the way they view life.
Those things are important and matter. Your story matters also, so in asking the questions of your partner, you should be willing to answer yourself. They need to know just as much about you as you need to know about them.
This is the fun part! Learning things that you never knew before can be exciting, yet the answers can be heartbreaking if something is revealed that is hurtful either from the past of present. Imagine all of the things you may have in common that you never even knew.
Here is a basic premarital counseling questionnaire including questions that can be asked at any stage in your relationship, but should definitely be asked during the premarital counseling process.
- Where were you born?
- Where did you grow up?
- Where in the world have you lived?
- What was the culture like where you lived (ethnic, economic, military town, etc…)?
- Did you go to a big or small high school?
- Is there anywhere that you really loved living or really disliked? Why?
- Where did you live when you met your first friend? What other things do you remember from where you lived when you were little?
- Did you live in a house or apartment when you grew up? Did you always have a home?
- What is the area you grew up in known for (beaches, mountains, amusement parks, crime, etc…)?
- What did you believe to be true about money when you were little?
- Did you ever witness your parents struggle financially?
- Did you work when you were a teenager? Why?
- How old were you when you were taught about saving money? Who taught you?
- Were you ever homeless? What were your thoughts about people who were homeless?
- What was the first thing you bought with your own money?
- How old were you when you started school?
- What was elementary, middle, and high school like for you?
- Who was your first friend? Are you still friends with them now?
- Were you allowed to have sleepovers? How old were you when you spent the night at someone’s house? Where did you stay the night first?
- What was your favorite thing to play by yourself and with your friends?
- Were you okay with being alone? Were you always alone? Were you surrounded by people all of the time?
- Were you more reserved or outgoing in social settings?
- Did you have birthday parties? Where? Who did you invite?
- Did you and your family do things with other families?
- How did you feel about strangers? Who was considered a stranger to you when you were young?
- How did you define family when you were little?
- Who did you live with growing up? Did you have siblings?
- Were your parents married? What was your idea of marriage when you were little?
- Did you have extended family (aunts/uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc…)
- What were the roles of the people in your family? What was your role?
- What were some of the family rules in your house? What did you love and what did you dislike?
- How did your family show one another love? Did you like the way you were shown love? How did you love your family?
- What were some of the traditions you and your family had when you were young? Do you still have them now?
- What is your family’s ethnic and cultural background? What did they say about other cultures when you were young?
- Did your family have a faith system you were part of? Did everyone believe the same thing or did people believe different things?
- Did you get presents from Santa Claus, candy from the Easter bunny, money from the Tooth Fairy, go trick or treating on Halloween, etc…?
- Who did the disciplining in your family? Were you ever spanked? What did consequences look like in your family?
- How did your family express anger?
- Have you ever been sexually assaulted? Have you ever sexually assaulted anyone?
- What was your first sexual experience? With who? Where? How old were you?
- If you have no sexual history, what is your opinion about sexual activity before marriage?
- Where did you learn about sexuality and who could you ask about all things sexual?
- Do you have any children? How do you feel about people who have children before they are married?
- What do you think about pornography (is it okay for others, but not for you or vice versa)? Do you watch pornography? Have you struggled with pornography in the past? How did you discover pornography? How old were you?
- What did you grow up believing about life and creation? Did you grow up being part of a faith community?
- Did you ever pray when you were little?
- What did you believe about things that happened that were not “good”?
- Who was the first person you cared about that passed away? What did you think about funerals?
- When do you first remember feeling spiritually connected to something?
- What was your favorite food? Why? Who made it for you? When did you learn how to cook it?
- What was your favorite toy? Who gave it to you? How old were you?
- Who was your favorite person when you were little (real life or TV character)? Why?
- What was your biggest struggle when you were little? How did you overcome it? Who helped you?
- What was your favorite subject in school? Who was your favorite teacher? Why?
- What were some of your biggest fears?
- Did you ever have any major injuries or illnesses growing up (physical or mental)?
- When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When things arise in your relationship, you will be able to think back to the smaller details, the ones that may seem minor and not important. Those are the details that will save your marriage in tough times. I encourage you to come up with some of your own interesting questions. Be childlike and curious with your bride or groom to be about their past and be open and honest about your past as well.
Where are you going together?
Now that you have gone back in time with your questions and answers, it is time to look forward to the future. As you are on the premarital journey, you and your soon-to-be spouse should be figuring out what your future holds, together. It is important to remember that you are a team of two people who were and still are individuals, but will need to function as one in marriage.
Talking with one another about what your goals, dreams, and expectations are of the marriage for yourself and your spouse is necessary. Again, you may find out things that are not quite what you thought, but it is much better to have a conversation about these findings before you are actually in a situation where emotions are elevated and the chance or misunderstanding is high.
Here are a few questions to push you in the direction of completely understanding yourself and your partner’s desires a little bit more clearly.
- Where do you want to live?
- What are your thoughts about certain parts of the world?
- Are you okay with traveling outside of the country?
- Is it important to you to be around things that feel more familiar or are you okay with starting over in a new place?
- What are your thoughts about shared bank accounts? What about separate bank accounts?
- What is your belief system about shared money? Is everything “ours”?
- What about bankruptcy? Is it ever an option?
- Are you okay with us having credit cards? Why or why not?
- When do you think is the right time to buy a house?
- Are you more of a saver or spender?
- Who comes first, your friends or me?
- What do you think about having friends of the opposite sex?
- Can I have access to your social media accounts? Why or why not?
- What do you think about couple’s events (dates, groups, workshops, etc…)
- Who would you identify as being your support system?
- Do you want to have children? When? How many?
- How important is it to you to live near your family?
- What are your expectations of my involvement with your family?
- What are your expectations of me in our family?
- Are you open to us talking about our sexual wants and desires?
- What keeps you committed to being sexually active with just one person?
- What is your opinion about the use of pornography in our marriage?
- Does the whole family need to believe what you believe?
- Do you want to attend church or another spiritual gathering at least once a week?
- What are your thoughts about tithing?
- How do you grow spirituality? Will you include me in your spiritual growth process? How?
- Do you plan on going back to school or finishing a degree already started?
- How do you feel about me going back to school once we are married?
- What are your career goals?
- Where do you expect you will be 5 years from now or less?
- What are some of your coping skills for when you are having a hard time emotionally?
- What are a few of your hopes and dreams for us as a married couple?
After having meaningful conversations with your soon-to-be spouse, you two have hopefully grown closer on your premarital journey together. The outcome can be rewarding if you have the courage to ask one another these questions with the intention of knowing your partner in a new and different way.
As much as these questions can bring joy, some of the answers can bring pain also. If you and your loved one need help to process some of the thoughts and emotions that came up for you while answering these questions, the counselors at Seattle Christian Counseling are willing to help you along the way.
“Engagement Ring”, Courtesy of Gift Habeshaw, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Best Friends”, Courtesy of Justin Follis, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Dancing in the Wilderness”, Courtesy of Scott Broome, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Wanna Hang With Me Forever?”, Courtesy of Seth Reese, Unsplash.com, CC0 License