Updated: May 3, 2020
Let's be clear, there should be a lot you ask yourself before marriage but below are 8 questions to most definitely ask yourself if you haven't already.
1. Why am I doing this?
It sounds like such a simple questions but it is one that is so important to ask yourself. There is nothing worse than doing something out of pressure and because it's what is 'expected'. This is a life long decision that should not be taken lightly at all. When I got married I knew this was a forever situation and divorce because 'I'm just not feeling it anymore' is most definitely not an option for me.
Are you being pressured by family or by society? Are you pressuring yourself because 'all my friends are getting married'? Are you marrying that person because 'they will do' or 'my family say he/she is good for me? If there is any sort of pressure as an answer to this, i would advice against marriage because YOU are the one that will be in that marriage and have to deal with everything that comes.
2. How does this person view marriage and does it align with my views?
This is so important! If you view marriage as 50/50 and believe that everything that is done is done as a partnership, but your partner believes that the woman should cook, clean and take care of the babies while still working the same hours as them, for example, then you will have an issue! Don't just assume that because you both like majority of the same things or agree on a lot of topics/views/issues that you will agree on this. Talk about it! Dissect it! Know exactly where the both of you stand when it comes to marriage and what you want it to look like for you. It doesn't mean that's how it will be but at least you're starting off in agreement.
3. What compromises am I willing to make?
In any relationship you will always have to come to some sort of compromise for some things. I think with this, it is so important to decide what you will and will not stand for and know yourself so well, even before getting into the relationship, that you know where your lines are. When you know this about yourself you will avoid potentially losing yourself within the relationship. It's very easy to give a little until there is nothing left when you're in love. Who am I, what do I want and where am I willing to work with a partner and bend a little? How much is too much for me?
4. Is this the person I can see raising my kids into the sort of humans I can be proud of?
Okay so for me the way I looked at this was a little morbid I must admit, but it helped me when deciding. What I asked myself was... If I have a child with this person and I die, based on everything that I have seen of them in the years we have been together, do I believe he could raise that child into someone I could be extremely proud of. The answer for me was yes.
If you struggle to answer such a question, I would imagine it may be because you either don't know them well enough yet or the answer is no and you're just lying to yourself. Either way, figure it out before you get married because ultimately what you are asking yourself is do I agree with how this person would like to raise children.
5. If this person never changed from who they are today, can I see myself with them for the next 10+ years?
Women a lot of the time (not all) get with someone because they can see potential! All I'm saying is don't marry potential, marry them for who they are and not who you think they could be because you could be married for years before there is any change. That change may not even be the potential you saw. So could you deal for that long with who they are now? If they show signs of laziness, don't know how to communicate effectively and currently only shower three times a week, could you handle that for 10+years?
6. How does this person manage their finances and would I be happy with whatever they have to offer/bring to the table right now?
This is so important because one of the biggest stresses in marriage is finances. Two people coming together as one, including the money. There is so many ways that couples will budget, manage accounts etc and there is no right or wrong way so to speak. It's whatever works within the marriage (as is the case for a lot of things).
That being said, both parties need to be upfront about spending habits, debt, financial goals as well as strengths and weaknesses when it comes to money. Both parties also need to be able to have an honest conversation about how they would like the finances to work within the marriage - Will one person take charge of budgeting, will things be split 50/50 or will one person be in charge of certain bills etc. Have the conversation, know who you're marrying when it comes to this, be in agreement and save yourselves unnecessary strain.
7. Am I happy with how this person communicates in the most challenging times with me, their family and their friends?
I feel like this one is self explanatory so I will just use myself as an example.
I am someone who cannot take being cussed and shouted at. My husband knows this about me and has known from early on in the relationship. If someone says hurtful things to me, even if it's just out of anger, I struggle erase the words & their impact from my memory. Early on in the relationship we spoke about this and I let him know, it's better to say to me " I'm angry, I can't talk right now, I'll talk to you when I'm calm" than to shout and say things you potentially don't mean just for the sake of argument. 7 years later, he still understands this. It doesn't mean we don't fight, it just means he respects me and loves me enough to know when to be quiet and vice versa. When we are calm, we talk and we respect the other persons views, then we decide how we will deal with things in future.
It is a lot harder than it sounds and takes you really working on it because a lot of us are just stubborn but effective communication is so necessary on both sides. A life time of just cussing each other out and bringing each other down will break a person.
8. Am I ready to take on the Traditions/Culture of this person?
I will be honest in saying for this one I wasn't as prepared. I thought I knew everything I needed to know but I honestly didn't.
There are certain expectations with different traditions/cultures that you need to be aware of before getting married. The issue I had was I was going to my husband (who didn't know a lot) for information on family traditions and cultural expectations which meant I wasn't actually aware of everything that his parents and other elders in the family may have been expecting of me. My husband is a Yoruba man and I am Shona. I had the impression that our cultures were very similar (which they are for a lot of things) and I assumed family traditions would be too. My family and the way we communicate, for example, is very different to how his family do things. I know it sounds so silly but I actually thought how I am with my parents is okay to be with his. Don't be like Tan, don't assume, ask! It's better that you know.
My advise: Speak to the parents and spend time with them prior to marriage and ask ALL the questions if you are marrying outside of your race and/or culture. Even if you're not still do it! No question is too stupid (even though you may think it), Ask, ask and ask some more!.
Some cultures can be very full on and you may be required to be everything and more not only to your partner but also to their whole family. Are you prepared for it?