Some say that love is blind. And when it comes to marriage, it’s our responsibility to really see our partners before making a lifelong commitment. What you don’t see can hurt you down the road.
In order for you to truly see your partner beyond the fairytale pages we often write in the beginning of our relationships, we need to ask the right questions. These questions are important, and often difficult, and are the building blocks that form the foundation of a strong marriage.
But many couples don’t ask these questions because they’re shy, or because they think these questions are trivial, or because of the desire to sustain the passion, romance and mystery.
Let’s be honest. Whatever issues you don’t deal with before marriage, you deal with while you’re married. And after some time, the inhibitions you had in the early stages of your relationship can result in disappointment, or even resentment, later on in your marriage.
Two factors that have the power to strain our relationships are personality conflicts and day-to-day incompatibility, and can be avoided by asking honest questions now. The questions that can offer you the most value will fall under expectations, roles, finances, children, and family.
Experts explain that many divorcees almost always say these three words, “I didn’t know.” They didn’t know that their partner had this belief, or acted in that way, or had this expectation. The current divorce rate in our Muslim community is over 32%. Thats ridiculous!
So ask. It may seem unromantic or be a little uncomfortable, or cause an awkward moment, but it won’t be as unromantic or uncomfortable as a divorce. If someone is truly serious about marrying you, they will answer the questions that are difficult. These are also great conversation pieces that can really help you see the real side of them.
Here are a few questions to help get you started. We have hundreds more on Half Our Deen that our members can choose from to add to their profile.
Conflict is inevitable, so how you two resolve your problems will be a big indicator on the success of your marriage. Does your partner shut down when they’re stressed? Do they throw plates when they’re angry? Being honest about how they react and how you react is critical in knowing if the two of you will be able to work as a team to resolve conflict.
What is the role of a husband/wife?
The roles of men/women have changed drastically in the last several years. How will that affect your role as husband and wife? Will the both of you be providers? Or just one of you? Who will do the cleaning? What are the tasks of each one if/when you have children?
How is your relationship with your parents?
Are you close with your family or do you prefer to see them once a year? How involved are they in your life and in your decisions? Will they be staying with us in their old age? How often would you visit your inlaws? Can they stay with us in their old age?
Which common habit really bothers you?
These common day-to-day tendencies may seem trivial, but they have the potential to eat away at you over time. If you were raised to pick up after yourself, you may not have the long-term patience to pick-up your partner’s dishes or dirty socks day after day. What can you actually tolerate and what can’t you tolerate? Are you OCD about cleaning? Knowing each other’s annoyances early on can help you to develop a system that works for the both of you.
What are you expecting of your spouse, religiously?
Must they conform to your vision and practice of religion? Are you more liberal or conservative? Does culture supersede religion? If you plan to have children, do you agree on the role religion will play in your children’s lives?
What is your financial responsibility in a marriage?
Various studies show that fighting about money is a leading cause of relationship stress. What are each of your financial roles? Do you both work, or only one of you? Do you contribute 50/50 or is it dependent on each of your salaries? Do you share a bank account? Who pays the bills? What are your spending habits?
How important are your friends after marriage?
Do you have an active social life? Do you have close\best friends of the opposite gender? If so, will you continue to be close\best friends after marriage? Do you like to have company over? Are you ok with having just a guys/girls night out?
How important is your health?
Do you have an active lifestyle? Do you workout? (Do you even lift? LOL, jk) Are you a healthy eater? Do you smoke cigarettes or hookah? You have no idea how many times the smoking issue has come up after marriage. You can either don’t mind or hate it. If you hate it, its hard to be around someone who smokes. How important is self-improvement? How do you handle stress? Do you shut down or open up?
We know these questions can be difficult and scary but they have a lot of value to offer to our long-term relationships. The more you can expect the inevitable tension that will appear throughout your marriage, the more opportunity you’ll have to develop the tools you’ll need to proactively work through it. This will give you the space to design a plan to keep these conflicts from taking over your marriage, and to let your relationship thrive. It can even help you decide whether you want to move forward or not. Half Our Deen has a database with 100s of questions that should be asked to potentials. You can add these or ask your own.
At the end the more informed you are, the lower the risk of the marriage you are about to step into. This is not a date, its a lifelong commitment. Do you research! Ask what matters.
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