Asking Questions Before Marriage to Prevent Divorce Later

December 9, 2015

When we get ready to take the plunge and say, “I Do!” we’re not usually thinking about all of the challenges, stresses, and hurdles that await our unions together. Instead, we’re focused on the excitement of the big day, wedded bliss, and a lifetime of romance, laughter, and memories- the good stuff. That’s just the way it should be.

But, realistically, statistics show that a good portion of us will find ourselves facing divorce at some point in our adult lives. The romance seems to fade and hard times settle in. In many cases, the likelihood of divorce can be minimized when you ask yourself a few key questions prior to tying the knot. Knowing what you can expect from each other and your marriage from the start can help you determine if a divorce is in your future. So, before you commit yourselves to a lifetime of holy matrimony, consider asking yourselves these ten questions about marriage.

  1. How do we define marriage? Marriage means different things to different people. Why do you want to get married? For legal purposes, insurance purposes, or financial reasons? Does personal religious belief play a factor? There are many reasons to get married, and many of these reasons can impact the likelihood of divorce in the future.
  2. What do we each want to get out of this marriage? What is it that you’re looking for from your marriage?  Are you looking for a lifetime companion? Have you just been together so long that marriage seems like the logical next step? What role do you want your marriage to play in your personal life as an individual? If you’re both not on the same page, take this as a red flag that tensions and disputes will come up down the road.
  3. Do we want to have children? If so, when? How many? This one question could be one of the most crucial ones to ask before getting married. The subject of children is among the leading causes of divorce among adults. Don’t say “Yes” without knowing for sure that you and your significant other are on the same page when it comes to children. If either of you is forced to compromise on this issue, you can all but guarantee that the subject will cause tension down the road.
  4. What are your expectations on monogamy in marriage? This may or may not seem like an obvious question to ask, but it’s one that you should both seriously consider. Many people are comfortable with the idea of open relationships, and even consider them to be healthy attributes of their marriages. How do you feel on this topic and does your significant other agree? The answer to this question may affect the next few questions on this list.
  5. What defines infidelity in your relationship? Do you view infidelity as strictly sexual? How do you feel about your partner’s emotional relationships with others? Pornography, kissing, emotional attachments: these can all be viewed through different lenses in a marriage. Be sure that you’re both in agreement on these issues and that you clearly understand each other’s thoughts and feelings.
  6. What will we do if there is infidelity in our marriage? Do you believe that if one spouse cheats that a divorce is the obvious answer? There isn’t a right or wrong answer to this question. What matters is that you determine what’s right for you and that you understand how your partner feels. Is forgiveness and reconciliation an option? Obviously, each situation is unique and complicated. Don’t feel like you have to be 100 percent sure of your answers. But asking these tough questions up front can give you a clearer picture if you both have the same ideals, expectations, and purposes for your marriage.
  7. What do we expect from our spouse in marriage? What do we expect from ourselves? Guy, do you expect your wife to be a stay-at-home wife and mother raising the children while you go to work? Wife, do you enjoy having a busy career, social life, etc. outside of your marriage? Do you expect absolute honesty on every subject? How do you feel about sharing toothbrushes? Big or small, it’s important to know what you’re willing to put into your marriage, what you’re hoping to receive from your spouse, and what you’re both willing to compromise on for the sake of the relationship.
  8. What are our views on finances? Along with children, the issue of finances is another biggie that puts added stress and turmoil into marriages. What are your spending habits individually, and do you agree on how to spend your money as a couple? Will you have joint accounts or separate ones? How much debt do you each bring into the marriage and how will you pay it off? If you don’t work on a unified spending plan together, you’ll probably face many tension-filled moments throughout your marriage.
  9. How will we spend the holidays? Family and friends are important, especially around the holidays. Will you two plan to build your own holiday traditions sans extended family? Will you alternate occasions with either side of the family? Do you dislike your own family and prefer to spend every holiday with your spouse’s relatives? Come to a common conclusion together on this issue. Otherwise, you can pretty much guarantee that you’ll hear about it from that crazy uncle of OCD mother-in-law at some point in the future.
  10.  What are our opinions on divorce? And finally, before you decide to get married, ask yourselves this very important question. Is divorce an option for your marriage, and if so, what would it take for you to consider this choice down the road. Nobody wants to start off their marriage thinking about divorce, but it’s good to know if you both feel the same way on the subject. Because Ohio allows for no-fault divorce, even if you don’t want to get a divorce down the road, your spouse could still force you to get one. How you both answer this question could be a major warning sign that divorce is in your future.

Marriage can be great. But, it can also be really hard. And sometimes, even with the best planning and highest of hopes, marriages just don’t work out. Do you need legal advice about divorce and the future of your marriage? Michael E. Bryant can help. With compassion and understanding, he can help you navigate through the murky waters of divorce as you seek out the best possible outcome for yourself and your family. Call 419-243-3922 today to learn how.