Dorothy, these are a few questions for discussion that I bring up with my couples: 1. How and when will you argue? Will you have these exchanges as soon as the issue presents itself or will you schedule it for a later time when both partners have had time to process and calm? 2. Will you use past behaviors in your discussions? 3. Do you have a SAFE word? A word used by either partner to signal that things are getting too heated and you need to take a break before one of you says or does something they will regret? 4. What will your day to day schedule look like and what household/family chores and errands will each partner be responsible for completing? What about your time together? 5. Will you have date nights or perhaps time where you volunteer together for a non-profit you both enjoy? What about your individual creative outlets? Will you share those or will they be reserved only for your time alone? 6. What is the way your partner most likes to receive love? Are they tactile and love to be touched, kissed, hugged, made love to, or are they visual and they like texts, notes, or gifts that you send or give unexpectedly? Are perhaps they like "acts of service"-washing their car, changing the oil, filling the gas tank, running errands they need to run, etc or perhaps they are auditory and they need to hear they are doing a good job or that you love them and this could be with phone calls, voice notes, or whispers in their ear... by knowing how your partner likes to receive love, it will make it easy for you to know they always know you love them. Obviously there are all of the typical issues such as religion, children, discipline, vacations, extended family, boundaries, etc etc that also need to be discussed, and I hope these questions help you open the gates to some very deep, thought provoking conversations that will only increase the intimacy in your relationship.
Christian couples getting married with premarital counseling might be asked many of the same questions as any other couple, but questions may focus more on their religious belief system, relevant to the following: • Beliefs around birth control • Attitudes toward sex/ sexual activities • Beliefs around divorce • Children, parenting styles, is religious schooling a priority for children? • Marital roles; will both spouses work? Is one spouse expected to take on a domestic role? • Health care and medication; children and vaccinations, for example.
How does the relationship of Christ and the church inspire our commitment to one another, even through hardship and trial? It is important to understand that Christian marriage points to the relationship of Christ and the church - specifically that Christ laid down his life for the church and will never leave or forsake the church. The church is to be subject to Christ and committed to Him. In the same way, a husband is supposed to lead his wife by laying his life down for her, and a wife is to be loyal to and respect her husband.
How will we implement prayer and the study of scripture into our marriage? How will we invite our children to join our time of Bible study and prayer? If both spouses were raised in a religous home, they may have experienced different things for what this looks like in a home. Will the husband initiatate and lead the time together, or will he and the wife take turns? How often will we seek to practice these disciplines in our home?
Common pre-marriage counseling questions include the following:
- How long have you and your partner been in a relationship?
- What would you describe as the strengths and weaknesses of your relationship?
- Describe your previous relationships.
- Describe your family of origin.
- Have you or your partner every dealt with substance abuse, domestic violence, mental illness, and the like?
- Are you currently living with your partner?
- What values and visions do you and your partner hold in common?
- Have you and your partner discussed the prospect of children?
- Is your family supportive of your decision to marry?