Six topics to discuss before getting married

Premarital Therapist Bethesda MD

When it comes to marriage, ignorance is not bliss – what you don’t know about your partner can really hurt your relationship. As a premarital therapist, I usually walk couples through a variety of topics, including communication, spirituality, personality and habits, conflict resolution, intimacy, and money management, among others. Newly engaged couples are often surprised to learn little (and big) things about their future spouse’s expectations for marriage! These conversations rarely change the course of their relationship – almost all of them go on to get married. However, it does help them prepare for the inevitable challenges all couples face in long-term relationships. Continue reading to see the questions I encourage all couples to discuss – whether you’re preparing to get married or married for several decades!

The daily grind
Whose responsibility is it to cook, clean, take out the garbage, change diapers, schedule doctor’s appointments, mow the lawn, etc.?
Do you/I have the “veto power” (the ability to unilaterally say “no” without further discussion) in our relationship?
Are there certain tasks that are best suited for men vs. women? If so, what are these tasks?
How do we discuss our expectations for the household responsibilities?

Commitment
How long do you expect “hard times” or periods of disconnection to last in our relationship?
Would you be willing to attend couples therapy if our relationship warranted it? Would you be willing to attend a weekend retreat to help our relationship? Would you be willing to read self-help books on how to repair your relationship?
Do you believe relationship problems mean that we aren’t supposed to be together?
Do you think we should take divorce off the table?
If only one of us believes there is a problem with our relationship, should we both take action to resolve the situation? Or, do we only seek a resolution if both of us believes our relationship is in trouble?

Mental health & substance use
Did you ever wonder if anyone in your family struggled with their mental health or substance use?
Have you experienced emotions that scared you or worried your friends/family? How did you address this?
What drugs have you used or experimented with?
Would you be willing to consider individual therapy or medication to address your mental health?
How can I let you know that I am concerned about your mental health and/or substance use?

Infidelity
What do you consider cheating?
How do you know when you’re starting to check out of our relationship and beginning to focus on another person outside our relationship? Has this ever happened in the past?
If I have a crush on someone at work, should I tell you?
Do you believe that our relationship is immune to an affair?
Is it okay for me to bring up concerns I may have about your relationships with friends/co-workers?

Money, money, money
How do we decide who earns the money for our household?
How do we decide how our money is spent?
Should we have separate or joint accounts?
Do you believe that the money you earn individually is “your” money or does it belong to both of us?
How do I let you know that I am worried about how much we are spending?
Are you comfortable loaning money to friends or family? If so, would you be okay with not being repaid?

Discussing these questions can give you invaluable insight into your partner and your relationship! If you struggle to discuss these questions, or have concerns about your relationship after discussing these topics, reach out to us! We’re here to help!

Phone: MD: 240-752-7650

Phone: VA: 703-372-9448

4905 Del Ray Avenue, Suite 301
Bethesda, MD 20814