The Top Questions to Ask Your Partner Before Marriage, According to a Therapist

These are the questions you should be asking yourself, as well, before heading down the aisle.
couple grabbing coffee questions to ask your partner
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Jeff Guenther - The Knot Contributor
by
Jeff Guenther, LPC
Jeff Guenther - The Knot Contributor
Jeff Guenther, LPC
Clinical Counselor & The Knot Wellness Contributor
  • Jeff Guenther is a licensed professional counselor (LPC) and the founder of TherapyDen.
  • He is well-known on social media as "TherapyJeff" for creating content around mental and relationship wellness.
  • His career in therapy started out of a crisis line in Portland.
Updated Mar 04, 2022

Before venturing down the aisle, you may have a list of questions to ask when dating your partner. But are they posed to get to the core of who that person is? Setting yourself up for relationship wellness means carving valuable habits into your partnership, such as communicating and active listening. As a couples therapist, I've seen the importance of knowing your partner deeply and understanding how to emotionally support each other.

That's why the following list of primary questions to ask when dating and before marriage will be of value before the wedding day–and long after. From intimate inquiries to thought-provoking and deep questions to ask your partner, revisit this list often to maintain your relationship health.

What are your hopes and dreams?

Our hopes and dreams define us. They become our identity. We purposely create a life that will support our dreams in order to grow into the person we hope to be someday. Intimately knowing your partner's long-term goals should always be top of mind.

But knowing their hopes isn't enough. As their life partner, it's important you support them to reach their goals. In fact, you must be an active participant in making their dreams come true. The bond that is created, as you both go on a journey to support each other's deepest desires, is essential in a strong marriage.

How does your family of origin trigger you?

No matter how stable and "together" we think we are, our families can instantly cause us to emotionally fall apart or regress into teenage angst. That's simply how it goes. If you know how your partner reacts to their family, you won't be thrown off when they're upset by their parents or siblings. Instead, you'll know how to support them through a tough time.

And more importantly, if you do something to remind them of their family dynamic that causes them to emotionally spiral, you'll be able to take a step back and do your best to not take it personally. Our old family patterns inevitably resurface in our romantic relationships. It's smart to be prepared to handle it.

What are your core values, and how do they affect your life choices?

Core values, such as adventure, creativity and healthy lifestyles, define the way we prioritize our lives. There's a never-ending list of values we can choose from. As we progress through life and different stages of development, our values slowly change.

It's important you and your partner have some overlapping values so that you can both be on the same page when making life choices. A source of tension may be how you recharge. If you value alone time while your partner values social gatherings, there could be some conflict that drives you apart. Talk about before you marry.

What is the best way to support you when you're feeling down?

Your partner is going to feel sad, stressed, overwhelmed and depressed every now and then. It's important you know how to support them through tough times and heavy feelings. Why, one might ask? As their spouse, you'll likely be their primary emotional support system.

Providing the support your partner needs, whether it's holding emotional space, problem-solving together, or distracting them with a refreshing activity, allows you to connect in a vulnerable way. This, in turn, will strengthen the relationship and create the safety and security it needs to last a long time.

What are your relationship dealbreakers?

If you're considering marriage, you've most likely made it far into the relationship without triggering any dealbreakers. Congrats. To err on the side of caution, it's encouraged to sit down with your sweetie and discuss their non-negotiables, meaning that could end the relationship. It varies per person, but examples of non-negotiables could be infidelity, lying, gambling and more.

Bear in mind that new dealbreakers can be added to the list at any time. It's important to keep the conversation going about your ultimate turn-offs and to handle them if they threaten your relationship.

What can instantly put you in a better mood?

Knowing what excites your partner, makes them laugh, or quickly puts a smile on their face means you can default to at least something to perk up their mood. If your partner is grumpy, this is a great resource to lift their spirits. In fact, it's a cheat code that every partner should have in their back pocket. While it might not work 100% of the time, it's a handy tool, especially when you're figuring out how to make things feel more playful.

What is your love language (to receive)?

Chances are you're madly in love with your partner and you want them to feel all the love you have in store for years to come. The best way to make sure they're receiving all your love is to express it in a way that best resonates with them.

It's a simple practice that therapists now recommend. Ask your partner about their love language–specifically, how they'd like to receive your love. It can be through quality time, physical touch, receiving gifts, words of affirmation, or acts of service. Or maybe it's all of the above. (Most have one or two favorites for how they receive and give love.)

If you're new to the world of love languages or generally wondering what questions to ask your partner, start communicating today. That way, you will both feel loved and heard.

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