Are you thinking of getting married? Awesome. Congratulations! Before you do, there are some things you should definitely find out about the person you want to marry (and about yourself and what you want).
Elder Robert D. Hales (1932–2017) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: “Dating is the opportunity for lengthy conversations. When you date, learn everything you can about each other. Get to know each other’s families when possible. Are your goals compatible? Do you share the same feelings about the commandments, the Savior, the priesthood, the temple, parenting, callings in the Church, and serving others? Have you observed one another under stress, responding to success and failure, resisting anger, and dealing with setbacks? Does the person you are dating tear others down or build them up? Is his or her attitude and language and conduct what you would like to live with every day?”1
Basically, you need to know well the person you’re marrying. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of questions to ask your future spouse. This is by no means a complete list, but it can at least get you started and cover some gospel-specific concerns. If some of these topics are tricky to talk about, that will be great practice for actually being married, when you will have to have lots of difficult conversations about these and other sensitive topics.
Discussing these sensitive topics, you may find yourself getting nervous about the idea of marriage, or perhaps even afraid. But remember that there is a difference between fear and concern. Feeling fear is valid—the thought of getting married can be scary! But the Lord tells us not to fear,2 so if you feel good about the person, you can move forward regardless of your fears. However, if there is an actual concern you have with the person you are thinking about marrying, from a question on this list or another question you have, that may be a sign to be cautious in moving forward.
Just remember, this is not a test; it’s an opportunity to learn to communicate about some of the good, hard, and weird things that will come up in marriage.
How do they feel about Jesus Christ and the gospel? About the temple? How do they spend their Sabbath?
What attributes and gifts do they feel are necessary for a happy marriage and family? Which of those attributes or gifts do they feel are strengths for them, and how will you help each other develop others?
Do they want kids? How many? How soon? What would their approach to disciplining children look like?
What would a day in the life of your marriage look like? How would you both want to do prayer, scripture study, etc.? What will you plan to do to keep your relationship strong?
Are they more of a saver or a spender when it comes to money? How do they feel about debt—and are they in debt? What are their beliefs about tithing?
How do they get along with their family? How much time do they plan to spend with them after you are married? How much time do they plan to spend with your family?
What are their perspectives, expectations, or experiences with physical intimacy?
Have they ever struggled with any kind of addiction to or habitual use of things like prescription pills or other drugs, pornography, alcohol, or even video/virtual-reality games? If so, what have they done to overcome it?
How will you both handle disagreements when they happen?
Is there anything in their past you should know about? If there is, this is a good time to learn how much you believe in repentance. This is also a great time for honesty. You don’t want to find stuff out later and have left space for either of you to wonder if you would have gotten married if you’d known that information.
Elder Hales also reminded us that “none of us marry perfection; we marry potential.”3 Keep that in mind throughout all your conversations in dating. Nobody is perfect, and marriage is about learning and growing and coming closer to the Savior together.