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Questions to Ask Before Marriage
As a divorce lawyer, I am FREQUENTLY asked about marriage. I guess it’s because I see lots of divorces. So I can tell you what NOT to do more than what TO do.
I recently spoke with Forbes and gave them five (5) questions to ask before marriage.
For my faithful subscribers and readers of my blog, I gift you some extras!
Top 7 questions you should ask before marriage so you don’t end up divorced:
1. What is your credit score? (And ask to see recent credit report)
I know this sounds funny, but MONEY is a big issue – and not so much earned income (eg I would prefer marrying a guy that earns 60k a year and yet saves 20k than a guy that earns 200k and spends 250k a year).
According to Dave Ramsey, millionares aren’t born. They’re made.
The credit report will reflect spending and paying habits (does he or she pay minimum balance? Amount paid in full? Timely payments?). It will also reflect how many credit cards they have, and whether or not they are credit-worthy, and how much debt they have. Remember, in community property states, all debt acquired during the marriage is community, no matter who spent it. Community property is not fair! (Get a prenup!)
I personally would NEVER marry someone who is a big spender. Big spenders are often linked to other negative traits, like narcissism, insecurity, as well as bankruptcy and gambling debts, etc.
How many children do you want?
Child-bearing and rearing are CRITICAL issues. Some men and women do not want to have children. Raising children is a HUGE commitment (it’s not just an 18 year commitment, it’s a LIFE thing). It will completely change you and your marriage. Not discussing the responsibilities involved with raising children is one of the biggest reasons divorce ends.
While you’re at it, discuss the TIMELINE of children – how old are you guys? Can you comfortably wait?
And what happens if you cannot get pregnant? I’ve handled divorces where husband leave because wife is infertile, and vice versa. IVF is a very trying circumstance and not all couples can afford that. And check out IVG (insane!)
Would you adopt?
Once the children are born, who will take care of them? Having a baby isn’t a CHECK THE BOX one-time event. The childcare (especially the first 3 years after) are VERY taxing on your physical and emotional levels. You are basically NOT sleeping at all for 3 years.
I would recommend taking a parenting class together PRIOR to getting married.
3. Household chores
This is a big one. The house doesn’t clean itself and meals don’t cook themselves.
Unless you have a big budget (and are ok with unhealthy eating), DoorDash isn’t a good solution for meals. SOMEONE has to cook and clean.
Who will cook? Who will clean?
If both of you are working full-time jobs, you must discuss housekeeping duties, or your house will be a BIG FAT MESS and you will squander hard-earned money on expensive luxury trips, or seek the arms of another who provides a more stable housing environment.
This is a BIG one. After kids, sex life can dwindle. Be prepared to discuss what happens if one person has to travel for extended period of time. Or if one has a medical illness (for example, cancer, and needs chemotherapy).
Don’t expect that sex is off the table.
If you are a sex-oholic, you will need to get therapy before you settle down.
This is another big one. I’ve handled divorces of people who didn’t have the same “fitness” lifestyle.
Let’s face it – if you’re a McDonalds eating, never-exercising person, long term with a triathlete vegan isn’t going to work.
This also ties into #2 about who is cooking and cleaning.
Does he plan to work forever? Do you? Is your career satisfying? Retirement goals?
If you subscribe to FIRE (financial independence, retire early), you are going to have a vastly different goal for employment than a major consumer who lives paycheck to paycheck.
One of my clients left her husband because, “He is a Honda, and I am more of a Range Rover.” He had all this retirement stocked away. She wanted to spend it all. They divorced.
7. Are you Christian?
This is the biggest one in the world. Apostle Paul says in the Bible, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14.
I’m not saying that atheists stay atheists. I’m also not saying Christians don’t get divorced! They do. (But, the light shines the brightest in the darkness!)
Faith is a HUGE thing. If one of you follows Jesus, and the other follows Kim Kardashian, there will be issues.
It also ties in with how you will raise your children.
All I know is this: the world’s definition of marriage is frequently changing, so do NOT trust the culture.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8
More Marginal Marriage Advice
Be Sure to Consult a Family Law Attorney PRIOR to Marriage
Even if you opt NOT to get a prenup, make sure you know what you are getting into.