Pre-Marital Check Up for the Soon-To-Be Newly Weds


Pre-marital check up for the newlyweds

If the soon-to-be-newlyweds are well prepared for the inevitable landmines of married life, they can smoothly maneuver around them. There are some obvious potential problems (dealing with money and in-laws) and many less obvious ones (different styles in folding laundry or bed-making).  

The biggest landmines are usually around adapting how things had been done differently in each of their family of origin, and what they want for their newly created family.  This might include rituals for celebrating holidays and seating arrangements at the table.  It also might include, when you are together every day, how often you need to apologize for expelling gas or say “G-d bless you,” after a sneeze.  There are a multitude of other minor issues that can end up causing conflict or tension. At a minimum, couples need to consider the Deadly Seven

Avoid the deadly seven

In getting married, if you are not prepared for these potentially deadly seven topics before they become a problem, you may suffer from assumptions, miscommunications, hurts and resentments. A few examples of each topic is listed. 


Family rituals

  • Whose family rituals around holidays will you follow – yours or your spouse-to-be?
  • How can you create your own holiday rituals as a new family without hurting your parents’ feelings?  


  • How did each of your parents handle differences of opinions around important issues? Around minor issues?
  • What is your typical style for dealing with arguments – yelling, withdrawing, crying?


  • If you see a problem between your spouse and your parents, how will you handle it?
  • How will you handle your own parents’ feelings if you spend more time with your in-laws?

Neatness, cleanliness, household chores

  • How will you handle your differences about what constitutes neat and clean, since two people rarely have the same opinions?   
  •  What unspoken ideas do you have about the division of household chores?


  • How can you discuss exploring different ideas about sex – without labeling the other a “prude” or “deviant”?
  • How can you talk about what you like and do not like – without embarrassing or hurting the other’s feelings?


  • How will financial investment decisions be made? Have you decided what to do if you don’t agree?   
  • If you have different ideas about how to spend money on entertainment and other non-necessities, how will you handle this?


  • Have you discussed the possibility that one of you might change your mind about having children?
  • How will you prevent the children and work from becoming an “emotional affair?”
Dr. Karen Gail Lewis has more than 40 years experience as a family therapist practicing in Boston, Cincinnati, and Silver Spring, MD. She has a masters degree in social work and a doctorate in consulting psychology. You can see her full resume here.Author of numerous books, Dr. Lewis' most recent one is Siblings: The Ghosts from Childhood That Haunt Your Love and Work. Some of her other books, available on the Books and Audio page include 'With or Without a Man: Single Women Taking Control of Their Lives and its companion Workbook, The Secret to a Solid Marriage, and Siblings in Therapy (co-ed.) and Why Don't You Understand: A Gender Relationship Dictionary.