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Before Caleb and I were married, we went through extensive pre-marital counseling to help us discern whether God willed us to be wed.
In the first important questions to ask before marriage post, I shared 5 questions to ask your boyfriend/girlfriend/fiancé/fiancée about their spiritual beliefs:
1. To what extent does faith play a role in your life? (Is that extent compatible to mine?)
2. Are there any teachings that we disagree on?
3. Who is the ultimate authority in our life?
4. What faith will we raise our kids in?
5. What do you believe about the spirituality versus legality of marriage?
Then I asked 5 more questions about household-related things:
1. Who will take care of the finances?
2. Who will clean the house and make meals?
3. Will one partner stay at home?
4. Where will we live?
5. Will we have pets? What kind? How many? When?
If you’d like to read that post, check it out here!
Now, before we begin with 10 more Catholic questions to ask before getting married, I’ll add this disclaimer that I added in the last post as well:
If your boyfriend/girlfriend is not open to discussing these topics or seems defensive, this is a major red flag. Communication in marriage is not just a cliche old people tell you about–it is (in my recent experience) the hardest part of the beginning of a marriage.
Be sure to take your partner’s personality type into consideration when suggesting that these important questions be discussed, but don’t make excuses for them if they are treating this communication as useless.
In this post I specifically discuss 5 communication-related and 5 general questions you need to at least bring up before tying the knot. Let’s get discerny!
Communication Questions to ask your boyfriend/girlfriend Before Marriage:
If you and your partner are unable to communicate effectively with one another, making any decisions will be a painful battle. Once married, where there were previously two people is now one flesh.
This means that caring for your spouse physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, etc. is your new second priority (second only to adoring God).
If every suggestion you make to your spouse is met by insecurity and defensiveness, you will have a rotten time getting anything done.
1. What are our love languages /personality types? How do we each feel most loved?
I am a strong believer in understanding yourself (including your destructive tendencies!) Think about how you react to different scenarios:
- Someone has just said you’re wasting your time on a passion project. Do you get heated and defend your case? Do you politely smile and ignore them?
- You want to watch Downton Abbey tonight, but he wants to watch Breaking Bad…how do you solve this conundrum?
- You have a terrible headache and are super dizzy. Do you want to be left alone or cared for? On the flip side, your partner is super sick. Are you inclined to wait on them hand and foot or be a bit more hands-off?
Getting to intimately know one anothers’ personalities has been especially useful for my husband and I when we have a disagreement. Our personality types both go on the offensive in an argument, but being aware of that tendency allows us to back up during an argument and utilize healthy discussion techniques (instead of yelling and whining).
Knowing how your partner feels most cherished takes the guesswork out of caring for them. If their love language is quality time (as mine is), and your partner knows and respects this, they will understand why you are unhappy when the spend extended hours at work.
Your partner can begin adoring you in the way you best receive affection (with some good movie watching and gluten-free pizza eating!) before marriage and visa versa.
2. Is your partner willing to listen to your worries and concerns?
Depending on your personality type, you might not have any trouble openly sharing your concerns. If every time you try to tell your partner about a long day at school or a stressful work project they ignore you, this is a red flag.
Getting married will not cause your partner to listen to you better or care for you more.
There are certainly graces associated with the Sacrament of Marriage as with any other sacrament of the Church, but you do not want to marry somebody who will not hear you when you voice your stresses or concern about their actions/hobbies/habits.
This will only lead to discontent and frustration– be honest with yourself about whether or not your partner genuinely listens to you.
3. Are you and your partner able to be vulnerable with one another?
If you cannot trust your partner with your spirituality, emotions, stress, etc. why would you want them to be the person you journey through life with? Among the chief reasons of procreation and unification, marriage is also oriented toward giving you somebody you can support on their path to becoming a saint.
Sometimes, people who have been in difficult or abusive relationships in the past will have trouble opening up to you. Hopefully, if you’re in the process of discerning marriage, you have already discussed scars from previous relationships/events.
I’m not saying that you should not marry somebody because they have baggage. I am saying that if you feel like there are walls your partner has put up (the origin of which you have never been told), you should talk to them about it.
Communication cannot occur without a willingness to listen, comfort with the other person, and entrusting your heart to them.
4. Have I communicated my future goals to my partner?
Make sure that you are both clear about the paths you plan on taking after marriage. If one partner has a career path that will require you to move (like Caleb and the Marines), make sure you know about it!
If you thought it was a no-brainer that you would attend Graduate school, but your partner (unbeknownst to you) believes that is a waste of money, you will be in a pickle.
5. Does technology dominate your partner’s life?
Is your partner attached to his/her phone? If your partner is absorbed in social media or the internet, it can take away from the quality of time y’all are able to spend with one another. Be honest with yourself if this is the case with your partner and if you are okay with it or not.
If you need to, lay down some ground rules such as not using the phone while eating meals or when hanging out with friends.
Here are some uncategorized yet important questions to ask before marriage:
6. Am I able to ask for/grant forgiveness?
Especially if you and your partner’s personalities are a bit more…explosive…this is critical. Somebody who holds grudges for a lifetime is not the kind of person you want as your spouse (a.k.a. the person you will spend your entire life with til death do you part).
Matthew 18:21-22 King James Version (KJV):
21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
7. What social/cultural/religious upbringing does your partner have?
This will affect many aspects of their problem-solving, communication expectations, and personality. Discuss with your partner how each others’ parents dealt with discipline and education. Talk about what worked and what didn’t!
8. What are your partner’s priorities in life?
I cannot stress this one enough. Look at your partner’s actions. What do they spend the most time doing? Do they neglect you, themself, their religious obligations, or hobbies/work/kids? That is not good.
Try writing out a list of each of your goals in life. Then write out a list of the priorities you will focus on throughout achieving those goals. (Hint: God should be at the top of that priority list by a long shot). If every Sunday you are dragging your partner to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and it drains and discourages you, do not take it lightly.
Discuss it before you are married. (Notice I’ve been saying that a lot…if something can’t be worked out before you decide to be married, don’t get married. No amount of money sank into wedding planning is worth being married to somebody who will not care for you or themselves.)
9. In the first post, I suggested asking each other about difficult topics or ones you don’t agree on. Here’s a list of some of those!
- Will we use NFP? (Using contraception is a mortal sin in the Catholic Church.)
- Do we agree on the ends of Catholic marriage?
- Procreate, educate children as Catholic
- Unification as a couple
- Do you believe in hell and Satan?
- Do you believe in everything the Nicene Creed declares (non-negotiables in there for sure)?
- Is reconciliation and forgiveness from the Lord something you desire and need?
- What is necessary for salvation?
There are plenty of incredibly important teachings you and your partner ought to discuss before marriage. Salvation is a big (eternal deal) y’all. For great resources for answers check out:
- Ascension Presents on Youtube
- Dr. Taylor Marshall on Youtube
- Your parish priest/bishop
10. Do you get along with your partner’s friends/family?
These familial relationships do not have to be perfect, however, life is more simple when you enjoy being around the in-laws. If there is conflict, make sure you are comfortable letting your partner know about times when their friends/families might have made you upset. They should be willing to discuss this with you and it is great if they bring it up with the other party.
11. Bonus Question! Do you have any uneasy feelings about getting married?
This is a huge commitment. One of the biggest you’ll ever make. It can be unnerving for sure! But dreading your wedding day or your future plans with your future spouse is not normal. If you have any misgivings, do not ignore your feelings. Talk to a trusted advisor. Pray to the Lord and ask Him for guidance and peace. Let your partner know how you are feeling.
For more advice, check out Marie’s post over on the Walking with the Hansons blog about fearing judgement when getting married.
I hope you enjoyed this post and got some dialogue going! I’d love to hear what questions you would add to this list as well as some more important spiritual questions that you think must be discussed before marriage!