What Conversations Should I Have with My Partner Before Marriage?

There are so many things to think about when planning your walk down the aisle. From seating arrangements to centrepieces, it can seem like you have a million things on your plate.

But it’s important to remember that the most crucial issue of all is not the wedding itself, but rather the marriage you and your partner will build together.

Conversations To Have Before Marriage

Before you tie the knot and set off to create a happy life, there are certain conversations you and your partner should have. Some of these talks are obvious ones, while others may not be on your radar just yet.

Having these talks before marrying your partner is important because they can prevent issues from arising down the road, and will also help you both to better understand one another on a deeper level.

On Kids and Parenting

An important topic to discuss with your partner is children and parenting. Asking your partner whether or not they want kids and if so, how many is one thing, but beyond that, it’s important to find out what their expectations are around parenting.

Do they have their heart set on staying home with the kids, or would you both work full time? Would the kids to go daycare, or would a nearby relative look after them? What kind of disciplinary actions would you implement, and what religion would you want them raise on?

Other important questions on this topic include

  • How long do you want to wait before starting a family?
  • How would you want to raise them?
  • How did your parents raise you?
  • Are you open to adoption if necessary?
  • How should they be disciplined when they disobey?
  • How were you disciplined as a child?

Knowing these answers before getting married is important because may not be able to change your spouse’s mind about these issues down the road. Be sure that you can live with their decisions.

If your partner is open to having children, knowing how their parents raised them will give you an idea of how they may also parent their children.

On Money and Debt

Long before your wedding day arrives, sit down with your partner and have a serious discussion about your financial situation. If either of you have debt (student loan, credit cards or otherwise), be honest about it; hiding it will only hurt you later on.

If you have bad credit because of a past mistake or financial tumble, tell your partner and discuss ways to improve your credit score together. This is a good time to talk about how you’ll handle your finances going forward.

Other important questions on this topic include

  • How do you handle your money?
  • Are you a saver or a spender?
  • Do you have any bad habits with money?
  • Are you an emotional spender?
  • What is your history with debt?

Knowing your partner’s money habits will be important when it comes to dealing with money as a couple, and it can also help with managing your personal finances. If your partner has problems with debt or spending, it’s much better to openly deal with those issues earlier rather than down the road.

On Childhood and Upbringing

If you and your partner are considering marriage, then chances are you’ve already shared your childhood and past memories with one another. Still, for every story told and question answered there’s always more to learn and share.

Ask your partner about the most important and memorable parts of their childhood, their first, favourite and most painful memories, the things they remember most vividly, and those they don’t like to remember.

The more you know about your partner’s past, the more you can understand how they have developed into the person you know today.

Other questions on this topic include

  • How do you feel about the relationship with your parents?
  • Are you happy with it with your family relationships?
  • What would you change about your upbringing?
  • Did your parents fight or argue in front of you?
  • Did your parents yell, leave or fight fair?

Knowing how your partner relates to their early childhood and their relationship with their parents is crucial to empathizing and understanding them on a deeper level. Knowing how their parents fought can give you insight into habits they may also fall into when you argue. After all, we tend to learn by example.

On Priorities and Life Goals

Getting married means making very long-term plans with another person, so it’s important to lay out your priorities early.

Is a yearly weeklong vacation on your list of musts, or would you rather scrimp and save for the first few years of marriage to buy a home? Would your partner be willing to move to a new neighbourhood, city or country someday? How important is living close to family?

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Discuss these things with your partner and find a middle ground with which you’re both comfortable. You should both be able to achieve your goals, which means that both of you may have to shift your timeline to accommodate your partner’s hopes and dreams.

Other questions to ask on this topic include

  • What are your career plans?
  • What are your ambitions?
  • When do you see yourself retiring?
  • What are your long term goals?
  • What do you want to accomplish in life?
  • What do you prioritize?

It’s important to know your partner’s plans, priorities and expectations before getting married, so that you can compare their goals and ambitions to your own. Can you and your partner mesh plans, or will one of you need to sacrifice something? Is your partner is motivated and ambitious as you’d like or need a partner to be? Remember, marriage is about becoming a team so make sure your partner is the right person to draft.

On Sex, Marriage and Other Relationships

Before walking down the aisle together, talk to your partner about your sexual relationship and their expectations (how often they want it, and who should initiate it). This type of talk may be awkward, so ressaure you partner that they can openly share their thoughts and feelings with you, free of judgement or criticism.

It’s also important to be aware of your partner’s history and any significant relationships that’ve had in the past. Were they something of a heartbreaker in their younger days?

Find out why these relationships ended so you can better understand any underlying ideas of expectations they may bring into your relationship. You should also ask your partner about their expectations for marriage and marital roles (who is responsible for what), the non-negotiables of marriage, their stance on divorce and separation, and opinions on marriage counselling.

Other questions on this topic include:

  • What is unacceptable, and what’s unforgivable?
  • What are your expectation of my relationships with others?
  • How often do you expect me to see my friends/friends of the opposite sex?
  • How much information about our relationship do you expect me to share with others?
  • What are the limits on my emotional and physical closeness with others?

The more in depth you understand your partner’s sexual and marital expectations, the better off your marriage and sex life will be. Knowing how your partner feels ahead of time will lessen the chances of disappointment between the sheets, can prevent arguments, and will give you the opportunity to see if their beliefs and expectations match up with your own.

Talking about these topics is important and you should never assume you know your partner’s expectations without having discussed them.

On Emotional Conflicts and Resolutions

To understand how your partner copes with tragedy and what kind of support they require in a difficult situation, ask them to share the worst periods of their life and to explain how they got through them. Find out how your partner responds to stress, conflict, embarrassment, grief, and what makes them tick. For instance, do they become withdrawn when they’re stressed, or need to be alone when dealing with grief? Do they have any bad habits when handling tough situations? Being able to recognize when your partner is emotionally conflicted and having a plan in place for these situations can help you navigate through such issues should they arise. For instance, if you know that your partner responds negatively to sarcasm, then you can avoid using it when having a dispute.

Other questions on this topic include:

  • Are you critical or a perfectionist?
  • Do you like to argue, or does it bother you?
  • Are you willing to face conflict, or are you passive aggressive?
  • Do you intimidate or fight fair?
  • Do you bottle up your feelings or need to talk about them?
  • What helps you de-stress and how you do blow off steam?

The most important reason for knowing how your partner responds in emotional situations is so that you can anticipate the reaction and be able to work with it. Knowing what helps your partner release tension and recharge will not only give you an understanding of the things they’ll do in stressful moments, but it also gives you the opportunity to be helpful.

It’s good to know where these emotional bombs lie so you can avoid them when you should and approach them sensitively when you need to. 

On Politics and Beliefs

Knowing your partner’s political and religious beliefs and how they prioritize them in their life may not seem like a big deal, but it’s actually quite powerful information.

Ask your partner to discuss their religious beliefs and views on spirituality, find out how important these beliefs are, and know if they expect you to believe the same. Also find out their political views and what issues they’re most passionate about.

Politics may not be a big deal to some people, but others can be quite radical about their stance on certain issues. It’s good to have these types of conversations beforehand and to discuss any areas that you may disagree on. For instance, you may be pro life while they could strongly support abortion. Can you and your partner live with each other’s belief systems?

Other questions on this topic include:

  • Who has a lot of influence on you?
  • Who would you go to for advice? On our marriage?
  • What traditions do you value and why?
  • How do you prioritize religion, work, and family?
  • What beliefs could be a deal breaker for you?

Find out who your partner listens to and respects; and even more importantly, the outlets they will take advice from; after all, they may be going to this source for advice about your marriage. Knowing the traditions your partner values will give you insight into what they will value in life. These traditions may come up when planning your Christmas Eve or on Sunday morning routine.

If your partner’s values are discussed before marriage, you’ll know what to expect in the future. Again, don’t assume that you will change your spouse. If you don’t like what you’re hearing now, you may not be able to convince them to think differently.

Perspective on Self

The old saying goes that you cannot love someone else until you truly love yourself, so dig deep and ask your partner to open up to you about their perspective of self. Ask them how they would describe their self to others, and what they think of their appearance. Find out what they like and dislike most about them, and what traits of theirs they’re proud of or would like to kick.

RELATED: How Can I Prevent Cheating In My Marriage?

Does your partner’s idea of who they are match up with how you see them? If not, how can you make them see the best in themselves? Understanding your partner’s sense of self and insecurities is an important part of a relationship as it can give you a heads up for sensitive areas. Knowing what they like most about themselves will give you an idea of the things they will keep around.

Understanding where your partner is weak is crucial to helping support them. Knowing what they struggle with can also shed light on areas where you may not have seen a problem prior.

Other questions on this topic include:

  • What are your biggest temptations and how do you deal with them?
  • What do you struggle with most or have a hard time saying “no” to?
  • What is your deepest desire?
  • What do you search for above all else?
  • What is your biggest fear?

Knowing your partner’s deepest wants and  needs will give you insight to their motivations, feelings and actions. On the other hand, knowing what people fear can sometimes explain why they act the way they do.

All of this information will allow you to understand your partner and empathize with them on a much deeper level. As a result, your relationship becomes much stronger.

Want To Build A Relationship That Lasts? I can help you attract your perfect man, and protect your relationship from the bumps in the road, no matter how big. Not only that, I’ll give you the information and tools you need to take your love life to the next level of love, intimacy, and connection. Get the love life you deserve with my Devotion System. Try it right now.

Having access to this type of information is a sensitive ground to tread on and should be treated as such.

Be respectful if your partner is not able or willing to reveal such a vulnerable information yet. Encourage them to share it with you when they are ready. Until they’re able to open up to you, you may not be ready to make the ultimate commitment.


What Conversations Should I Have with My Partner Before Marriage?

About Amy North

Amy North is a women's relationship coach and best-selling author from Vancouver, Canada. Her high-acclaimed programs include "Text Chemistry" and "The Devotion System", both of which have helped thousands of women from around the world find (and keep) the man of their dreams.

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