You probably don’t need us to tell you that getting married is a huge deal, but we’ll tell you anyway. Getting married is a huge deal. It’s not all just about the wedding (although that part is pretty special), but the marriage that follows will last you a lifetime, so you need to ensure you’re as ready as possible. We’ve listed the key questions you need to ask, answer and discuss before you get married.
Some of these topics might feel a bit tricky to go over, but it’s so important to start married life in a place of honesty and trust, so make some time to sit down and discuss these things before you get married - you won’t regret it.
31 Things to Discuss Before You Get Married
1. What Are Your Finances Really Like?
Talking about money is never easy, but it’s so important to discuss your finances frankly before you get married. You need to be honest about any debt, credit cards and potential overdrafts before tying the knot. This is one to discuss as soon as you get engaged to make sure you’re not overspending on a wedding, when you might have debts to clear.
2. Do You Want Children?
This is a question you should never ask a couple, but you do need to ask each other. If you’re on different pages about this, it can lead to heartbreak if one of you hopes the other will change their mind.
You might not agree on the number of children you want, but if you both know that you want them, you can always revisit this after you’ve had one - you might suddenly want five or just to stick at one!
3. How Would You Raise Your Children?
This is a big question! Do they believe in being strict with children, or do they have quite relaxed views? What about schooling, screen time, sugar? All these questions need to be explored as having a baby has a huge impact on your relationship, and you don’t want to wait until that first temper tantrum to have a discussion about how to deal with it…
It’s a good idea to talk about what you felt was good and bad in your own childhoods, as this will have an effect on how you want to parent.
4. What About if Having Children isn’t Straightforward?
Whether it’s down to infertility, or if you have extra steps to overcome to become parents, you need to discuss this. What are your thoughts on IVF, adoption, surrogacy, fostering or any other routes to parenthood? If you’re a same sex couple, how do you feel about sperm or egg donation? Who would carry the baby or provide the egg or sperm?
5. What Does Religion Mean to You?
It might be that just one of you is religious, or perhaps you have different religions. How will this impact your life together? Is one of you expecting a religious wedding ceremony? If you have children, will they be brought up to observe a religion? You need to know that you’re on the same page with this, even if your beliefs don’t have much of an impact on your day to day life at the moment.
6. What Kind of Wedding Do You Really Want?
This is really important. After getting engaged, it’s pretty fair to assume you both want to be married to each other, but that doesn’t always mean a wedding. If one of you wants a register office ceremony with a small dinner, but the other wants a lavish affair in a castle, you need to establish this early on and find ways to compromise.
7. Where Do You Want to Live?
Perhaps you both live in the city right now, but if one of you wants to move to the countryside in a few years, or wants to move back to their hometown if or when you have children - this needs to be established early on. Make sure your visions of your future life are aligned, so you know you share similar goals for your life five, 10 or 40 years down the line.
8. What Does Your Dream House Look Like?
If one of you dreams of owning a Victorian terrace and the other wants a penthouse apartment, this needs to be cleared up early on! It’s unlikely to be something that derails your relationship, but it’s really crucial to know what your partner’s expectations and dreams are as early on as possible.
9. How Will You Split Your Finances?
It’s likely you probably already split a lot of bills together - make sure you’re happy with this arrangement. The fairest way to split things is usually in relation to what you each earn. You also need to decide if you want a joint or separate bank account.
If you’ve decided that you want to have children too, it’s also really essential that you discuss how any maternity or paternity leave will be covered and paid for, and what childcare you may need and how it will be paid for.
10. What Do You Want to Save Up For?
If one of you has a dream car, and the other a dream holiday home, how do you decide to save for these things? What do you consider essential in your day-to-day spending, like a cleaner or a personal trainer? What can you cut to save up, like streaming services or a gym membership?
11. How Will You Split the Chores?
Negotiation is key here - if you’re open and upfront about it, it’ll save any disagreements or resentment later on. If you hate doing the bins, but don’t mind doing the washing up, be clear about it and come to an agreement that works for both of you.
12. What Are Your Politics?
Do you have the same political views or are they different? If they’re different, can you deal with that?
13. How Do You Feel About Your Sex Life?
This might feel like a tricky conversation to have, but it’s really important. Are you both happy with your sex life? Is anything missing, would you like to try something or do you feel like something isn’t right? Have you both been totally honest with your sexuality?
If you’re going to marry this person, you should be able to talk frankly with them about what you want and like sexually.
14. What About Each Other’s Family?
For a lot of couples, family obligations change once you’re married. Do you or your partner have any family traditions or commitments you’ve always observed? How do you or your spouse fit into those?
If either of you already have children, it’s essential that you discuss your feelings and expectations of family life around this - it’s important when you’re sharing a life and a home that everyone feels heard and considered, and that you make time for the two of you as a couple, as well as for all of you as a blended family.
You also need to consider how much each other’s families will be in your day to day life - will your new mother-in-law provide childcare, does your father expect to move in with you one day? How do you feel about the different family situations you might face?
15. What Do Celebrations Look Like for You?
Christmas, Eid, Diwali, Hanukkah, or any other significant religious event that you celebrate. What does it look like for you, compared to them? Will you take turns to celebrate with each other’s family or host your own celebrations at home? And what about birthdays? If you believe a birthday to be a big extravaganza, and they don’t even see the point in cards, you need to be clear about this so neither of you have false expectations.
16. What’s Your Dream Holiday?
If you love an action-packed camping trip full of hiking and biking, and they like to lie by a pool for a week sipping a cocktail, you need to be clear on what your holidays will look like. Do you each get time to have your own dream break away, or do you look for trips that work for both of you? Compromise will be key here - there’s got to be some give and take so you both feel refreshed and happy after a break away.
17. How Important is Your Career?
For some people, a job is just a job. For others, it gives them a sense of purpose. Be clear about how much your job means to you - it might keep you tied to a certain area, or mean you’ll never settle in one place for long. It might mean you may never earn much, or that you work unpredictable hours.
Be really clear about how attached you are to your job because there may be times in married life where you might need to move, stop working for a while or be the main breadwinner, so it’s really important that you both know just how much the other loves or hates their job.
You also need to discuss how much work encroaches on your life together at home - if someone often stays late at work, is that a problem? If they have to spend time at the weekend or on holiday dealing with work issues, how do you feel about that?
18. What Will You Do with Your Last Names?
This is a big one! It’s a longstanding tradition that, in the UK, women take their husband’s name. But it’s a wedding tradition you can skip, and of course not every marriage involves a man and a woman. You might want to keep your own name, blend your names together or invent a totally new name - anything goes. Whatever you decide to do with your name (and it’s your name so it’s entirely up to you), you should consider and discuss what you’ll do if you have children.
19. How Much Alone Time Do You Need?
This is a small thing, but it has a big impact. Understand how much time you both need to decompress, and how much time it takes before one of you feels lonely, and find a way to work around each other’s need for solitude - everyone needs it sometimes, even just a little bit! It's also worth exploring what time alone means to each other - for some people, it might be a long bike ride, for others, it could just be reading a book or watching a TV show in a different area of your home.
20. What Are Your Non-Negotiables?
What’s the stuff that you feel is so important to you, you don’t want to compromise on it? And is that okay with the other person? For example, if you have a long-standing tradition of going on holiday with your friends once a year, does your partner know how much that means to you? If they always have Sunday lunch with their mum, are you fine with working around that?
21. Do You Have a Will?
It’s wise to write a will together if you’re getting married. In lots of cases, you’ll most likely want to leave everything to each other, but it gets more complicated if you have other dependents. Understand what your wills will look like and make sure you have them in place!
22. What Do You Want to Happen When You Die?
Sorry to get so morbid but it needs to be discussed! No one wants the trauma of losing someone they love, and not knowing how they want to be sent off. Do they care about what their funeral looks like? Do they want to be cremated or buried? All these things need to be considered - but it might not be the chat to have on the day you get engaged.
23. How Do You Feel About Pets?
It’s not a huge discussion, but if you’ve been dreaming of getting a dog one day in the future and they can’t stand the idea of having a pet, you need to know!
24. What is a Deal-Breaker for You?
Everyone has different deal-breakers. Be open about what yours are, and listen to what theirs are too. Decide together whether you can deal with those and if they seem reasonable to you. You should also discuss what would happen if your relationship did end - what does divorce mean to you, how would you split your assets and what would any custody arrangements look like? Not all marriages work out, and if you agree to the basic idea and terms when you’re in a good place, it will make it so much easier to deal with if it does end.
25. What Constitutes Cheating?
What do you class as cheating? Some might see looking at porn as a betrayal, others might not mind. Be really clear about what you consider cheating and discuss it together.
26. Who is the Most Important Person in the World to You?
Is it each other, your children, your parents? Everyone has their own standard for this and that's fine, but you need to understand who it is and if you're comfortable with that.
27. What Does Your Retirement Look Like?
One of you might see retirement as the time to travel the world. The other might see it as the chance to move to a secluded village and learn how to fish. Your visions of the future don’t have to be identical, but you have to decide if they’re workable for you both together.
28. What’s Your Love Language?
It sounds a bit silly, but actually it’s really important to know and understand. If love for you is demonstrated by gifts, and for them it’s by words, it’s crucial to understand this so you both know how to make each other feel appreciated. The four main ones are gifts, touch, actions and words.
Discuss which one is most important to you, and you’ll understand way better how to love each other. An easy way to do this is to ask ‘When do you feel the most loved by me?’
29. How Do You Deal with Things?
It’s so important to understand this. For some people, dealing with stress or anxiety causes them to withdraw. For others, they might want to talk it over thoroughly, or write it all down. Understand how your partner deals with negative things, and explain how you like to deal with them too. Then you can be sure in a bad situation that you don’t take their response personally, but instead that you’re clear on how they’re coping.
30. What Do You Find Difficult to Talk to Them About?
What subjects do you find hard to bring up, and why? Ask yourself this first, then discuss it with your partner so you can find ways to bring up issues comfortably.
31. What Goes on Social Media?
This might seem trivial, but trust us, social media needs to be discussed. Are you both happy sharing details of your life on social? Are there some elements you’d prefer to keep private? What are they? If you have children, will they be on social media?
Now you know all the key things you need to discuss before you get married, why not check out our pre-marriage bucket list for some fun things to work through together.