Getting Engaged: The Best Questions To Ask Married Couples
Updated September 24, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Stephanie Deaver, LCSW
Engagement can be a thrilling segment of life for any couple. One of you has popped the question, and the love of your life has said yes! Congratulations! Getting engaged and planning a wedding is an exciting and special time for any two people planning to spend the rest of their lives together. However, when these duos need to set aside the time to begin to delve seriously into their future together, they might hold in every season of life, not just the fun, happy, and good times. How will they manage the rougher periods? What are some of the things they may not be thinking of right now but very likely might be a concern later on after they’ve gotten married?
Pre-marriage counseling at ReGain is a great way to explore some of these questions about the uncertain and unfamiliar areas of marriage and even a long-term relationship. Seeking this mediated counseling can quickly help you find the answers and solutions to fit your relationship best. Read on to discover some of the best questions for a newly engaged couple to be asking married couples and why they need to be asking those questions now and not later on when potential problems may arise, and it may be too late. Gathering as much information as possible before committing to your chosen spouse for life is incredibly important in preserving the good in the relationship and developing a strategic and successful game plan for handling any of the bad that life may try to throw at you.
Five Of The Best Questions To Ask Married Couples
- How do we keep the “love light” burning when the romance wanes?
Passion and affection seem to be nearly endless during the early dating and engagement periods, but how will a couple show love and affection once the daily pressures of life come into play and there’s far less time for cuddling and even intimacy? Love and the way you show love towards another will change over time. As people grow with every year’s worth of experiences in their lives, they change how they approach things and react to them, including the romantic aspects of a relationship the majority of the time. Married couples, especially those that have been together for several years, can vouch for these periods of transition and even offer advice on how best to navigate them. Life happens, stress happens, children sometimes happen (which will drastically change the dynamics of a household and a relationship!), and people grow older. Two people in a loving and committed relationship can either let the exhaustion fizzle them out and let their relationship fall to the back burner, or they can seek the advice of those who have managed it successfully and find new and improved ways of showing their love and affection for their partner until the end of days.
- What do we do when we can’t agree on something?
While often those in a comfortable relationship probably agree on most things, it can come as a pretty big surprise when a spouse learns that their partner feels completely different than they do about a major issue. This is a significant factor in long-term problems that can lead to mistrust and divorce later on if not discussed beforehand or a compromise cannot be reached. If one member of the relationship discovers one of these huge differences, these are times when one spouse may start to feel that they are always the one who gives in. They may feel that maybe their spouse has intentionally lied and hidden this from them (which is usually not the case, but it may feel that way), or that they will now be questioned about everything else about their partner and feel unsure of who they originally thought that person was. What if an issue arises that you can’t compromise on? Are you capable of agreeing to disagree? Couples seeking the advice of experienced, long-term spouses should be willing to learn from those married couples just how they kept the peace without losing their sense of self.
In more extreme circumstances, if talking to these couples brings up issues that cannot be resolved on your own, it may be wise to seek professional premarital couples counseling before your ceremony. Have a licensed professional assist in providing clarity, perspective, guidance, and methods for problem-solving to maintain the relationship, and proceed with committing to a loving and lifelong marriage. In addition, there need to be clear expectations and an understanding of each other’s beliefs and boundaries and how to accommodate those immovable matters.
- How can we find a happy medium regarding our saving and spending habits?
Money becomes a point of contention for nearly all couples somewhere along the line, especially when their financial assets become intertwined. Each expects the other to handle their money in the same way as they would. This matter can be even more problematic when one partner has completely different spending and saving habits than the other does. When newer married couples are trying to focus on building up their savings and investing in a home and future, yet one spouse seems to either knowingly or unknowingly sabotage these goals with their poor spending habits, this can cause a lot of stress. A couple must communicate clearly with each other about their philosophies regarding money and their intentions and goals surrounding it. Life has a way of throwing many unexpected situations and expenses into the mix. Being prepared for those circumstances is a huge priority for couples trying to get on their feet as a single unit. Finances and managing different views about them are great conversation starters for if you were planning to go out for a date night for conversation over food and drinks with a married couple and would like to discover how they found the right balance to meet both of their needs and their long term goals.
- Who should we turn to if we have problems that we realize we can’t solve by ourselves?
Any two people’s lives intertwined into a future together as a married couple is sure to be an adventure with numerous ups and downs as the years pass by. It would be crazy to go into it expecting things to remain just perfect along the way, and many married couples can assure you that sharing your life 100% with another person has just as many stresses, if not more, than the average dating relationship. It requires significantly more work to maintain and nourish a lifelong relationship and especially marriage. Still, the rewards of your efforts and dedication will greatly pay off in an experience full of deep trust and commitment to last you the rest of your days. For most people, it’s generally pretty easy to navigate the joyful periods of life. Still, it is far tougher to handle any unexpected issues that may arise and threaten your relationship and your overall happiness as an individual and a spouse.
What’s your backup plan if you can’t sort through those troubles on your own? You can get some ideas from married couples once you ask and can discover what worked for them. Not every solution will work for every couple, but acquiring a few good starting points and discovering the main areas you may need to prepare for later on in your marriage is a great step in the right direction. Sitting down and making an actual, physically written plan on paper is also a great idea to assist in helping you later have an idea of how to navigate certain issues. With tensions running high, having that game plan is written down and available for reference of what you both previously agreed on is a great method of focusing more on the process of problem-solving rather than just fretting over whatever issues may have arisen between the two of you.
- How do we find some balance between working, managing household responsibilities, and spending time together?
One of the biggest challenges for married couples is finding a healthy balance between their work lives and home lives. It’s one thing to say that you’ll commit to having a date night every so often, but how will you respond, and what will you do if there never seems to be the time for it? This lack of dedication to the actions and activities that stimulate and prolong a lifelong romance and intimacy can cause a lot of doubt in couples. It may lead to one or the other feeling neglected, unwanted, or possibly even unloved (depending upon their expectations of how they wish to receive love from their spouse). Happily married couples know the secrets to find multiple ways to take advantage of smaller chunks of time to talk and to enjoy being together, even if the rest of their schedule is hectic and overly time-consuming. Every couple has different needs, though, and some relationships require more one-on-one time than others do. Changes may even have to be made regarding work and other responsibilities if the affection and passion are waning away. The relationship has shifted lower down on the priority list than one of the spouse’s additional duties.
Asking married couples for tips about date nights and how to improve togetherness and setting aside time specifically for spending with each other is a great way to get ideas on keeping the fire burning and maintaining a deep, loving, and lasting relationship for many years.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
What are good relationship questions?
Good relationship questions for couples are any queries that demonstrate an interest in your partner or your relationship. Good relationship questions are designed to learn more about your partner, both as an individual and one-half of your relationship. To make sure you are consistently asking important questions of your relationship partner, there are several key components you should keep in mind. These are:
- In any conversation you have with your partner, respect is paramount. Before asking important questions of your partner—probing personal questions, relationship questions, or more—make sure you are approaching the conversation with respect. If your partner is not ready or willing to divulge something, make sure you respect that decision and move on.
- Solid relationship-based conversations are also built on compassion. If you are not prepared to greet answers to your questions with kindness and compassion, you should reconsider asking personal or relationship questions of your partner. Compassion is typically used as a synonym for “empathy” and requires you to view your partner as a whole, complicated, and nuanced human being with hopes, dreams, fears, and needs.
- If you ask your partner important questions out of a rote sense of duty, it will be visible and will likely not end well. Ask questions that display interest in your partner—and ask questions that you are genuinely interested in finding answers to. If you want to know about your partner’s favorite aspects of your relationship, favorite memory, or childhood joys, ask about them.
- Relationship improvements. All good relationships require some work and commitment, and communication is an important part of that equation. Don’t hesitate to ask your partner questions about your relationship—i.e., how they think the relationship is going, what could be improved, if they think you need more couples date nights, what they love or enjoy about it. Asking your partner important questions about your relationship (and sharing your own ideas, in turn) is an important part of maintaining relationship satisfaction.
- Conversations are usually best when they are entered into with humility or openness to learning and being wrong. Relationships are complicated and incredibly nuanced, and good, deep conversations often bring about feelings of overwhelming. If you enter into your relationship conversations with a willingness to learn, you and your partner will likely experience stronger, more effective communication and a stronger relationship.
Asking questions of your partner does not need to be an exercise in fear or discomfort. Still, questions should also be used to further your relationship and improve your closeness and intimacy. Questions for couples should be designed to foster honesty and intimacy rather than hostility or negativity. From delightfully dirty questions to fun questions about personal preferences, treat questions for couples with consideration and respect.
What are some deep relationship questions?
Whether you’re asking someone for advice or you’re trying to deepen a relationship, there are some great deep, thought-provoking questions for couples you can ask to glean a greater understanding of a person or a relationship. To identify the different types of questions you can ask, questions will be divided into two camps: questions for an existing partner and questions for couples.
Some deep questions (and fun questions) you can ask an existing partner include:
- If you had no responsibilities and no fears, what would you do with your life?
- What do you believe is necessary for the world to know lasting peace?
- What do you think happens after we die?
- What is the one thing you need in a relationship to make it last?
Deep questions for couples to learn more about relationships include:
- If you could only offer one piece of advice to new couples, what would it be?
- What is the one bucket list item you think is ideal for married couples?
- How do you maintain a sense of teamwork and camaraderie in your relationship?
- What do you do when you start to feel your marriage grow stale, predictable, or unappreciated?
- When did you know your partner was the one? Or do you believe in the idea of “the one”?
What makes married couples happy?
Although there are countless research studies evaluating happiness in marriage and devoted to pinpointing how to make your marriage relationship last, there are a few specific components of marriage relationships that have consistently been linked to happy marriages. These include:
- Clearly-defined roles. Marriages are more likely to be identified as happy if both partners have comfortably defined their roles in the relationship. The roles are not necessarily as important as the expectations they set. For instance, if both partners in a heterosexual relationship agree that the male partner is the secondary breadwinner and the female partner is the primary breadwinner, they may still be on the path to happiness. Communication and agreement are more important in determining roles than adhering to traditional expectations.
- Effective communication. Happily married couples communicate effectively and consistently in their relationships. Effective communication is marked by “I” statements (“I feel,” etc.), respect, and consideration for one’s partner. Effective communication also means discussing issues and grievances as they occur, rather than allowing them to stew and boil over.
- Solid support systems. Researchers have suggested that marriages are more likely to be described as happy or fulfilled if the couple in question is surrounded by other happy and satisfied couples in their marriages.
- Strong, friend-based foundations. Married couples who consider their partner their best friend are more likely to report having a happy marriage. These marriages may have greater intimacy, comfort, and a sense of safety, all of which can make a married relationship a more joyful one.
- Healthy sex lives. Married couples who regularly have sex are far more likely to report experiencing marital bliss. Some studies suggest twice per week is adequate, while others suggest a bit more or a bit less. Still, the consensus is this: regular, consistent physical intimacy is vital for a healthy and happy marriage.
- Similar belief systems. From religion to finances to general worldview, married couples are more likely to report feeling happy in their relationships if they have similar belief systems. These similarities are thought to reduce the likelihood of large-scale arguments, continual disagreements, and constant tension regarding how life should be lived and decisions should be made.
Although there is not yet a definitive guidebook for making sure your marriage is a happy one, compatibility is the most common predictor of marital success. It is wise to evaluate your compatibility with your partner long-term before entering into a serious relationship getting married.
What does a happy marriage look like?
The exact components of a happy marriage vary from person to person, but most happy marriages involve some variation of feeling safe and comfortable with (and loved by) a partner. Although some basic components have been identified as consistently found within most happy marriages, these components can look different for each couple and may vary in severity or strength based on the couple in question. The components that are most often identified as important for a healthy, happy marriage include the following:
- Effective Communication. Happy marriages are characterized by effective communication, as effective communication is the bedrock of all successful relationships—romantic or not. Virtually every happy marriage involves plenty of communication—and effective communication, at that. Effective communication means communication marked by “I” statements, like “I feel” or “I believe,” and respect for oneself and others. Questions for couples in counseling sessions and other helping arenas often revolve around developing healthier communication habits.
- Learning Together. Couples who take on new tasks together are far more likely to express happiness in their relationship. The precise reasons for this are not quite known, but it is thought that learning new things together brings couples closer and fosters a sense of intimacy. After all, learning something new requires looking vulnerable or incapable in front of your partner, and doing so regularly can help both of your feels closer and more connected. Tasks can be simple, like asking fun questions of a light-hearted cook in a cooking class, or more intense, like learning how to pilot a helicopter.
- Limited Expectations. Nothing quells the love and magic as quickly and effectively as a heap of unrealistic or hefty expectations. Happy couples usually do not pile unwarranted expectations on their partners and are happier as a result. This is not to say that happy couples do not expect anything of one another; after all, it is reasonable to expect fidelity, and it is reasonable to expect respect and communication. Expectations that destroy relationships are more often those surrounding expectations regarding gender roles, finances, home tasks, and similar issues.
- Separate Lives. People who are married are more likely to express happiness if they have separate likes and interests. Married couples who “lose” themselves in one another or find themselves constantly embroiled in every aspect of one another’s lives are more likely to express a sense of anger, frustration, or resentment. Having your own friends, your own hobbies, and your own interests will help encourage both of you to feel more independent and less tied down, which can help support marital bliss.
- Individual Mental Health. People who take care of their mental health may be more likely to thrive in relationships, as mental health issues that go unresolved can wreak havoc on relationships as a whole, including marital relationships. When two people’s mental health is in order, their marriage relationship is more likely to be in good working order, as well.
What do most married couples fight about?
Although there are a virtually limitless number of things a married couple can fight about, studies have suggested that the single most common source of contention in married relationships is financial matters. This can come in several different forms and is even regarded as the leading cause of divorce; many premarital questions involve financial beliefs and habits. The most common financial arguments married couples engage in include the following:
- General Spending. Spending can be a huge source of contention between spouses and is often the bulk of marital disagreements. This is usually due to one partner believing that spending should be more or less than the other, resulting in arguments about how money should be spent and how spending money should be identified or numbers arrived on.
- Monthly Budgets. Monthly budgets often present an issue for married couples, as one-half might feel that some expenses are necessary. At the same time, the other argues that those expenses are wanted or extras.
- Money Management Techniques. Money management is another area of common frustration between souses. One spouse might prefer paying off debt in a flurry of activity, while another might believe that a more easy-going approach is ideal. Money management techniques vary widely with or without debt, and there is a corresponding margin for error among married partners’ spending and saving habits.
- Money-Making Efforts. While it was once fairly common for one spouse to provide the bulk of the income and the other to offer only supplementary income (or no income at all), this dynamic has seen an enormous shift as values have changed, and the cost of living has continued to increase without a corresponding increase in wages. Money-making efforts often come up in marital spats, whether derived from one spouse feeling resentment toward the other or the desire for one spouse to take on more or less work.
Although finances are the most common source of ire between married couples, marriage does not always have to be plagued by marital spats and constant financial disputes. Effective, respectful communication can go a long way in reducing financial disagreements, and compromise is usually the ideal course of action.
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