Thinking about marriage? Before you jump the gun, here are some questions for you and your soon-to-be to peruse as you get to know one another! Beyond the basics like, “What are your favorite movies?” and “What do you envision for the future?” it’s important to ask the tough questions, as well. With the exception of the faith-based questions, the following conversation starters have been adapted from the book, “The Questions to Ask Before You Jump Into Bed,” by Laurie Seale (2005).
Getting to know yourself
Before getting to know your potential spouse, you need to get acquainted with a very important person first – yourself! Here are some questions to consider:Do you accept yourself? What don’t you accept?What skills do you possess that you wish you could be paid for?When are you at your best, and what does your best look like?When are you at your worst, and what does your worst look like?What is your greatest passion/joy?What is something you secretly believe is indulgent and lavish, but you do it anyway because you enjoy it?What do you do to relax?Have you ever had late fees for: mortgage/rent? Car payment? Bills/credit card? Library books? Taxes? City tickets? Other?Which problems are you likely to confront head-on and which ones are you likely to procrastinate on?What were three major turning points in your life?What mistakes have you made in life?What makes you lose your temper?Which four people have been the most influential in your development?
6 Questions for the first meeting/conversationAre you happy with your career? What would you change, if anything?Who’s the most important person in your life? Why?What motivates you?If you could relive one event in your life, what would it be? And how would you redo it?How do you define love?If money did not matter, what would you do?
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20 Questions that reach the soulWhat is unforgivable before marriage? After marriage?What makes you feel vulnerable and what makes you feel safe?What couple gives you #couplegoals and why?What is off limits, only to be discussed with your partner?How would you nurture and show love to your partner?How do you ask for what you need?Who knows you best?What are your greatest weaknesses and where do you think they come from?How do you express your feelings to your loved ones?What kinds of things do you feel are inherently wrong? What wouldn’t bother you? (Cheating on income tax, littering, not returning money you found, stealing office supplies, etc?)How would I know if you were lying? What would give you away?In what area of your life would you say you are most irresponsible? (Finances, health, returning phone calls/emails, etc?)Do you consider yourself sensitive to other people’s feelings?What are you most proud of in your life?Have you tolerated or experienced any kind of emotional abuse or mistreatment in the past? Why did you put up with it? Would you tolerate it now?Do you feel people are inherently good or bad?When lots of things go wrong at once, how do you react?What are some important lessons you’ve learned about sadness in your life?What is your life’s motto?What adventure do you most long to have?
MoneyHow is your financial health?How would you get yourself out of a financial predicament?How would you recover from financial ruin? What does financial ruin mean to you?If you received $25,000 what would you do with it?When you marry, will you have two separate accounts, one joint account, or all three?What outstanding debts do you have? How long until you fully pay them off?
FamilyAre/were your parents soul mates?Where does your family live? How often do you see them?Who was your favorite relative growing up? Why?Do you think your parents did a good job raising you? Why?What have your parents criticized in the past? Does it still bother you?Are you more like your mom or your dad?Do you want to be a father? How big of a family do you want?What is your biggest fear of parenthood?How much time can/will you dedicate to parenting?What is your emotional remedy for a sick/sad/angry child?Have you ever defied your parents’ wishes?What would you do if you and your spouse were pregnant and an amniocentesis revealed birth defects?Would you ever adopt a child? Of another race? With disabilities?
FaithHow often do you read the Quran? Pray? Fast?What is your understanding of an Islamic marriage?Are you ok with polygamy? Under what circumstances is it acceptable or unacceptable to you?Do you follow a zabihah-only diet?How important for you is it for women to wear hijab? What about men?Would you ever take out a loan for anything (education, house, car, etc)?Do you believe in sending your children to Islamic school? If not, what kind of organized Islamic education would you want to give them?If you have non-Muslim family members, what kind of relationship do you have with them?How do you like to celebrate religious holidays?Do you celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving, birthdays? Would you attend Easter or Christmas parties?What role does the masjid play in your life? Are you an active member of your Muslim Community? What do you feel like you can improve on in your faith? What is something you struggle with in your faith?Have you ever been to umrah? Hajj? Do you plan on going in the future? What expectations do you have for your future spouse?
Last, but not least, consider your deal breakers. Do any of these resonate?LiesCheatsNeeds to dominateFinancially irresponsibleUnable to cope productively with anger at others, self, the world, or circumstancesInterest in pornographyDrinking or drug useSmokesGamblesLazyProcrastinatesGossipsInappropriate social behaviorVainJudgmentalPessimistFlirtatiousRacistPoor hygieneHypocriticalSelf-centeredVictim mentalityHolds grudgesEmotionally immature/emotionally stifledUnhappy in lifeInability to admit wrong or apologizeLack of communicationSense of entitlementInflexible/rigidLack of self-awarenessWasted/unutilized talentPolitically unawareUnhappy with immediate familyMaterialisticWorkaholicWorrierArrogant
It is important to take the time to understand who you are, your life goals, and what you are looking for in a spouse and in marriage. What kind of life do you want to lead? Once you have a clearer picture of these answers, try your best to learn about your potential spouse in the same way, as well. Have you seen him or her interact with other people? How are they around family and friends? How do they treat the people who service them (waiters, drivers, employees, etc.)? How do they act when they're impatient or angry?
Lastly, make sure you follow the parameters set by Allah (S). They are in place out of His infinite wisdom to ensure your protection. Remember, Allah (S) puts His blessings in everything done for His sake. If you are on this journey, we pray that you find your other half and that you bring light into each other's lives!
Know anyone in the process of choosing a spouse? Share this with them, and let us know what you think are some things a woman should know before she gets married in the comments below!