101 Questions To Ask Before Marriage

Couple with heart knot on beach

Let’s make no bones about it: marriage is a beautiful thing. The uniting of two souls into one bonded relationship can be wonderful to behold. Happy and healthy marriages can last a lifetime and withstand the major trials and the crushing monotony of everyday life. When you get married to someone, you’re choosing to wake up with them every day to share everything, from that unforgettable trip to Paris to the lingering aromas of our morning bathroom routines. Before you decide to be so intimate with someone for the rest of your life, you need to be sure you know who they really are deep down inside. There are many important questions to ask before marriage that will help ensure you both know what you’re getting into. They range from major philosophical questions to questions about pet peeves and family life. Let’s talk about some of the best questions to ask before marriage.

Questions To Ask Before Marriage – Boundaries

The key to any healthy relationship is to set boundaries. Boundaries are rules and guidelines that help keep both partners happy. Appropriate boundaries in marriage will help keep you and your spouse on the same page, and, as a bonus, setting boundaries is an excellent exercise in talking about challenging topics. If your partner refuses to discuss boundaries or won’t allow you to set healthy boundaries, take note of the giant red flag on the pole and flee for the hills.

Boundaries help married couples avoid conflict. Common boundaries include not hitting each other, being honest, maintaining faithfulness, and avoiding certain behaviors. Other boundaries include things like privacy. While some relationships thrive on a complete lack of privacy — pop star Meghan Trainor and her husband infamously have adjacent toilets so they can spend quality time together while performing essential biological functions — most of us want some degree of autonomy.

Social Habits

One of the biggest questions to ask before marriage is, what kind of social boundaries are we setting? These days, men and women often enjoy platonic friendships without any sexual undertones. Is this going to fly in a marriage, or will it cause jealousy and hurt feelings? Are both partners able to maintain extraneous, independent friendships, or are all friendships now couple friendships? Establishing clear social boundaries will help avoid many classic sources of conflict in your marriage.

engaged couple holding hands, hands only
Photo source: Adobe Stock

Questions To Ask Before Marriage – Family

The union of two people brings together their families. Sometimes, this is a blessing: the in-laws get along, everybody has appropriate boundaries, and the families thrive as a support system for the married couple. However, some families are closer than others. One spouse may not have seen some of their family in years, while the other might have dinner with her sister twice a week. Some families have loose and informal boundaries, floating between houses and home with weekly or daily visits and always being physically close. Other families might send a few emails a year from the opposite coast and call it good. What kind of relationship does your partner have with their family members, and what kind of boundaries or expectations should be set within the relationship to prevent families from feeling hurt, ignored, or left out after your marriage? Does your future husband plan to still go out for beers with his brother every Saturday? Does your partner plan to continue afternoon tea with her aunt once a month? These are great questions to ask before marriage, so you don’t experience unexpected conflict. Honestly, it’s better to know that your in-laws are those overly huggy people beforehand so you can mentally and physically prepare yourself for the assault.

The In-Laws

Marriage means getting a whole new family, including new in-laws. Hooray. While we might sometimes find our in-laws to be irksome, annoying, or tiresome, it’s essential to remember that they’re the parents of your beloved spouse. With that in mind, it’s good to have a healthy relationship with them — and healthy relationships rely on well-established boundaries. So what kind of boundaries should we set with the in-laws? Can mom-in-law pop on over any old time like Marie Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond? Or would we prefer at least fifteen or twenty minutes’ notice so we can put on real pants and turn on the Roomba? These are essential questions to ask before marriage if you want to avoid a strained relationship with your spouses’ parents.

Questions To Ask Before Marriage – Religion

Our spiritual lives are a vital facet of who we are. Some of us are deeply faithful, and others have little to no interest in churchgoing. Understanding your partners’ approach to their spiritual life is crucial for the success of your marriage. It’s best to know about your spouse’s Wiccan practices before introducing them to your devout, Christian parents. It’s helpful for when your spouse calls themselves a kitchen witch and your parents shudder and pull out their rosary.

If you’re considering getting married, the topic of religion has likely come up in your dating life. Nevertheless, some of the essential questions to ask before marriage revolve around religion and spirituality. The easiest of these questions to tackle is the big one: do you believe in God? For some people, this might be a dealbreaker: a very deeply religious person and an atheist may find themselves at loggerheads around religious holidays, political issues, and other matters of opinion. For other couples, this might not be a big deal. But you won’t know unless you ask.

Other questions to ask before marriage in the religious realm include more specific inquiries. Is it important to you to go to church every week? Do we pray before meals? Are we raising the kids in the religion? If you’re not of the same faith or denomination, is someone expected to convert? Religious differences don’t necessarily spell trouble. Some people say that religious differences in a marriage can make it stronger. Ultimately, you and your partner should have a detailed conversation about this subject before you tie the knot.

Happy engaged couple relaxing at home and talking to each other
Photo source: Adobe Stock

Questions To Ask Before Marriage – Finances

After religion, one of the most common problems in marriage is money. Whether partners fight about who spent too much, where the money goes, who makes the money, or how much money is appropriated to specific things, money is a marriage killer. That makes financial questions some of the most important questions to ask before marriage.

What’s Mine Is Yours

When you’re married, you tend to share everything. But what about money? How much sharing occurs with money, and do both partners have similar financial goals and strategies? Is one person going to manage the money? Are both spouses independently managing their finances, or is the marriage going to include a joint approach to money management? Sussing out these details Jerry Maguire style (Show me the money!) is crucial before you get married!

If both spouses work, how are the earnings divided up? If Sally makes more money than Samuel, does she get to spend proportionately more or have more of a voice when it comes to major financial decisions? If Antoine works full-time and Tasha is a homemaker, does Antoine control where the money goes and allot an allowance? There’s no black-and-white answer to these complicated questions: each couple will have to decide what works for their specific dynamic, but it’s essential to make sure that both partners agree that the arrangement is fair. Otherwise, money fights will loom large in your future.


Marriage is the beginning of a new life together, but it doesn’t erase the past. What if one partner has debts? We don’t mean the kind of gambling debts that earned Franky Four-Fingers his nickname (although if your partner owes the mob, you should probably see that as a red flag, just sayin’), but rather the kind of debts that are incurred by life events like going to college or having surgery. How does the married couple deal with debt? One partner may resent the other partner’s massive student debt or persistent hospital bills. Asking your partner, “How will we deal with individual debts?” is one of the most crucial questions to ask before marriage.


On the other side of the coin from spending and debts is savings! Saving money can be very rewarding, although many Americans struggle to maintain adequate savings (thanks, Uncle Sam). Discussing your savings habits and goals will help you establish mutually agreeable savings strategies and plans so that you can, eventually, afford things like retirement, upgraded vehicles, or home improvements. Asking a question like, “How much should we save and invest so we can retire/buy a vacation home and/or cut down our work hours?” is a great way to spark this conversation. Savings are great to have not only for the future, but for any unforeseen situation, like a sudden medical emergency, or a pandemic that wrecks the world and most can’t work for a year.

Questions To Ask Before Marriage – Pet Peeves

There’s an apocryphal quote that “Marriage is about finding that special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.” As much as we love our spouses, sometimes they drive us crazy! They probably don’t mean to irritate you (most of the time), but understanding your pet peeves before making it official will help keep your married home harmonious and pleasant for both of you. For example, some people have strong opinions about how to fold and store towels. These minor issues can eventually become a source of distress for some people, so you want to be sure you know what buttons to avoid pushing. All you need to do is ask, “What do I do that annoys you?” or “What kind of stuff drives you nuts?” to spark an interesting chat about pet peeves. You might be surprised by the answers you get.

Engaged couple has breakfast together in their new home - young
Photo source: Adobe Stock

Questions To Ask Before Marriage – Pets

Is asking about pets really one of the most important questions to ask before marriage? Yes! People adore their pets, whether they have fur, feathers, or scales. Perhaps in your premarital relationship, you never fully discussed Laura’s cat addiction or Lance’s 150-pound Newfoundland. Maybe your partner has a small saltwater aquarium that they want to scale up to an enormous home tank. Or maybe your loved one enjoys more offbeat pets like spiders, scorpions, or snakes (can you trust the person that allows their tarantula to crawl in and out of their mouth?). Establishing clear boundaries around pets is important to the health of your marriage. You might ask things like, how many pets can we have? Do you even want to have pets? Do you want to have working animals like chickens? What about animal boundaries — is the dog allowed on the sofa or in the bed? Are the cats allowed inside or are they outside only? These are important questions to ask before marriage so you don’t end up in divorce court after your partner tells you to get rid of your favorite furry friend. How they thought they would win that dispute is beyond us.

Questions To Ask Before Marriage – Sex

Sex is an important topic to tackle before marriage. Of course, this isn’t the 1950’s: chances are, you and your spouse-to-be have been sexually intimate before you were even discussing tying the knot. But have you ever had a discussion about sex, where you actually talked about your likes, dislikes, wants, and needs?

Sure, it sounds awkward. And it can be! We live in a culture that has a hard time talking openly about sex. But there are a lot of questions you can ask each other that will help elucidate your expectations and improve your sex life! Try asking things like, where would you like to have sex outside of the bedroom? What do you like the most during foreplay? What are your biggest turn-ons? How can we keep our sex life exciting while remaining loyal and respectful (or disrespectful, we know how that goes) of one another? Do you want to use toys or try something wild like a sex swing? What are your fantasies — are there any interesting positions or other things you want to try? These are good questions in any long-term, committed, sexual relationship, but they’re great questions to ask before marriage to keep your sex life fun!

Questions To Ask Before Marriage – Kids

Sex is a lot of fun, but it often leads to kids. It’s hard to understate how important it is to talk about what size family you want and to make sure everybody is in agreement. One of the most important questions to ask before marriage is, do you want children? More and more people are opting out of parenthood altogether these days, for a wide variety of reasons. Some people just plain don’t want kids: the reward-to-work ratio of parenthood just doesn’t check out for them. Totally understandable. Others may have medical conditions or mental health conditions that they don’t want to pass along, or that could be exacerbated by parenthood. Still, others might have career ambitions or a lifestyle that doesn’t mesh with children. Whatever the reason, making sure that you and your partner are on the same page about whether to have kids is absolutely critical to avoid disappointment, resentment, and strife in the future.

However, most people still want to have kids, which raises more questions to ask before marriage, like: how many children should we have? What if we don’t have boys and girls — how long do we try for one or the other?

Children and Discipline

One of the biggest areas of conflict in a marriage can come from disagreements over how to discipline children. Even the most darling little angels will be recalcitrant or naughty from time to time. How will you and your partner discipline the rascals when they get out of hand? Will you spank them? What kind of infractions will lead to discipline? Can we both be consistent disciplinarians who back each other up? Asking about your partners’ plans to discipline your hypothetical children may seem like an odd series of questions to ask before marriage, but establishing these expectations up front is a good idea.

Questions To Ask Before Marriage – Where To Live

For some people, where to live isn’t even a question: perhaps you met in your hometown, and you’re planning to live in your hometown forever. That’s a valid lifestyle choice! But many people may prefer to move somewhere else. Perhaps your future husband has dreams of ranching in Colorado, or your partner wants to move to Miami and open up a reggae-themed coffee shop. Regardless of the details, one of the bigger questions to ask before marriage is: where will we live?

This question can even expand to encompass specific lifestyle choices. Do we want to live in a suburb with a homeowners’ association, or do we want to stay in a townhome or an apartment? Do we want to live in the country, or in the heart of the city? These days, you might even consider an alternative living arrangement, like embarking on a #vanlife journey together. This can be one of the more fun questions to ask before marriage because it lets you imagine your future together!

Questions To Ask Before Marriage – Bucket List

Talking about money and savings can be tedious, stressful, and even frustrating. Money is a sensitive and touchy subject for many people, and it can uncover hidden problems with the power dynamics at play in a relationship. After all this talking about money, you and your partner are probably ready to discuss something more fun. Luckily, talking about savings is a great way to segue into an important but more fun set of questions to ask before marriage: what are your long-term goals? What’s on your bucket list?

Asking about the bucket list can be kind of vague, so try breaking the question down into specifics. Where are some places you want to travel to? What are some major purchases you might like to make? Are there any specific accomplishments in your life you want to tackle, like earning a graduate degree, learning to SCUBA dive, climbing Mount Everest, or look for the lost city of Atlantis? Incorporating the bucket list into your list of questions to ask before marriage will help you get to know each other better and give you a lot of fun topics to chat about together — and it helps you plan for the future together, which bonds you closer as a couple.

Questions To Ask Before Marriage – Retirement

Picking your future home together and talking about your bucket list are great ways to discuss your long-term plans with your partner and help your marriage last for the long haul. While you’re discussing the future, you should begin asking some questions about your partners’ vision for retirement. Do you want to retire early? Do we want to stay in the same home after we retire, or downsize? Will we retire to an RV, or perhaps to a cabin? Or do we want to move to a 55+ community and get a tricked-out golf cart? What about work — do we want to work after retirement or punch out of work forever? Planning for your retirement will help the two of you figure out how to make it work for you in the long term and give you a future goal to work towards, which will help strengthen your relationship.

20 Questions? Try 101!

Getting married is a major life event. Before you tie the knot with your beloved, it’s important to ask as many questions as you can to prepare yourself for the major life changes that are coming. Even when we think we know someone intimately, we may be relying on some assumptions about what they think. Creating a relationship where you can openly ask one another difficult questions and work through the answers together will help you build a strong foundation that will keep your marriage alive and well for decades to come. This list of questions to ask before marriage only scratches the surface, but it provides you with a great starting point to begin getting to know your partner on an even deeper level. While there will never be an end to learning new things about each other, these questions are a good place to start. So, get going!

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