Fifty Questions for Nearly-Weds…

In the past five years, I have developed a series of questions that I use to begin a marriage consultation. Right now, I’m going through premarital counseling with two couples. I always use some form of these, either formally or informally, during the first session of premarital counseling. Never does it fail to stimulate conversation between the man and woman, and never do these questions fail to lead the first session toward ultimate spiritual commitments.

I do not use these like a “questionnairre,” and I never give them a printed copy. Sometimes I cover them all, sometimes only certain ones. I’ve intentionally structured them to “jump between” themes, to keep the discussion from getting bogged down, and I always end by allowing each person to revisit any question that they might have had more time to digest. Feel free to use these as you see fit.

Fifty Questions for Nearly-Weds

1. Why should anybody get married? Why not just commit to one another and start a family together? Why do you need a piece of paper to make your commitment real or valid?
2. How will marriage change your relationship? How do you think it will change you?
3. What are the most important three factors to a successful marriage? Why?
4. Is it possible to lose the trust of your spouse, and regain it? What sorts of things would make you untrustworthy to your spouse? Have there been instances of broken trust in your relationship so far?
5. Communication is important in any relationship. Between the two of you, which one is the talker? Which one is the listener?
6. Words can be both encouraging and destructive. Tell me about a time when your partner said something that encouraged you. Tell me about a time that your partner’s words hurt you?
7. How important is privacy to you? Do you think it is important for a married couple to share everything, or are secrets okay? What kind of secrets?
8. When couples get married, one of the first things they discover is that it is harder to go on dates. When children come along, it can seem almost impossible. What are your expectations for “nights out” once you get married?
9. Right now you have separate banking accounts. Do you intend to maintain separate accounts, and have a joint account? For what purposes will you maintain a separate account, if at all? Who will be responsible for the joint bills you incur in marriage?
10. What has your practice been with regard to saving? What are your expectations for saving?
11. Talk to me about your personal relationship with God. When did you start believing? Has anything about your beliefs changed since you were a child? What are your non-negotiable spiritual beliefs?
12. What about your spiritual practices? Prayer? Bible reading? When was the last time you shared your faith openly with a non-believer?
13. How comfortable are you talking about your feelings? Your beliefs? Do you easily discuss your opinions and beliefs when you know they are different from somebody elses?
14. If you could change one non-physical thing about yourself, what would it be?
15. If you could change something physical about yourself, what would it be?
16. Has somebody important to you ever let you down? Taken advantage of you? Lied to you?
17. When was the last time you did something for somebody else that nobody knew about?
18. How frequently do you think married couples should eat meals together? Is it important to have time together in the mornings/evenings? Which one is more important, and why?
19. Should married couples go to bed at the same time together? What is your sleep schedule? How much sleep do you need?
20. How would you feel if your wife kept in touch with old male friends? What do you think about her talking on the phone to male friends? Vice versa?
21. How would you feel if you caught your husband looking at pornography?
22. What are your beliefs about sex? How important is it to a marriage? How frequently should it occur?
23. What do you think about your body? Would you characterize yourself as modest?
24. Is it ever okay to say “not tonight?”
25. What are your beliefs about contraception?
26. Is it ever okay for a married man to masturbate? A woman?
27. What is your most natural response to conflict?
28. Have you ever been depressed? Taken medication for depression?
29. What do you think about antidepressants? Do you take any prescribed medications?
30. What is more important to you, that your husband looks good, or that he smells good?
31. What is more important to you, that your wife keeps her body smooth (legs shaven, etc), or that she keeps her hair fixed and makeup on?
32. How long is too long for a business trip?
33. What is the most romantic thing anybody has ever done for you?
34. What is the most romantic thing you’ve ever done for somebody else?
35. What does it mean to say “I love you” to somebody?
36. Are there varying degrees of love?
37. How often should a married couple be in church?
38. What is the most important thing about church for you?
39. What is church discipline? Do you think it’s important? Would you “tattle” on your spouse to a minister if he/she was living in continual sin?
40. What do you believe about supporting the church financially? Do you tithe?
41. How strong are your political views?
42. What do you think about abortion? Gay marriage? The war in Iraq?
43. Do you always vote Republican/Democrat? How important is your party affiliation?
44. Does your family have any history of racism? Have you ever had racist thoughts? What do you think about inter-racial marriage? Do you have any Black, Mexican, or Asian friends that you would consider close?
45. A man’s job is to maintain the outside of the house and the yard; a woman should keep the inside clean and organized. Generally true or generally false?
46. A parent should never spank a child in public. Generally agree or disagree?
47. If a couple has a serious disagreement in public – or while on a date – should they leave immediately and go home to deal with the conflict, try to get through the date and talk about it later, or quietly deal with it right there?
48. Define compromise? Do you think it’s important to compromise in marriage? Tell me about a time that you gave in to your partner, but he/she didn’t know it? Or a time you let them “win” the argument?
49. Is it important to talk to each other during the day while on breaks from work, or is it important to let each other work and talk when you get home?
50. What do you believe is your partner’s biggest emotional need? Physical need? Spiritual need? Your own?