The 15 vital questions couples should ask before marriage

Source:Global Times Published: 2016-4-10 17:43:01

Marriage is one of the most important moments in a person's life. But sharing a home together, alongside children and mortgages, also often means unforeseen problems. The New York Times magazine once got experts to suggest: Questions Couples Should Ask (or Wish They Had) Before Marrying.

The 15 questions covered a wide range of topics including "Whether or not to have children?", "Have we fully disclosed our health histories, both physical and mental?", "Are there some things that you and I are NOT prepared to give up in the marriage?", and the one that most people did not expect - "Will there be a television in the bedroom?".

There is more in a marriage than the wedding dress and the flowers. Photo: IC

Robert Scuka, the executive director of the National Institute of Relationship Enhancement told the magazine: "If you don't deal with an issue before marriage, you deal with it while you're married."

To find out how some Chinese and foreigners in Shanghai feel about these posers, the Global Times hit the streets to ask about the important things to know before marriage.

Ma Guoyan (left), engineer, China

My girlfriend and I are open-minded post-90s. We are not traditional people with notions like "families related by marriage should be equal in social status" or "couples need to be matched with the date of birth and the eight characters of a horoscope." I believe these tawdry traditions will be forgotten over time.

I think these questions have to be asked before marrying; even though some of them seem to be trivial. After years of relationships, I have learned that it is conducive to peace to always give my girlfriend the last word, so I am usually the one who makes the compromise. She always nags me about my messy bedroom and my way of life, and we also had different opinions on whether or not to put a television in the bedroom. But I think conflicts are okay as we learn how to get along with each other in this process.

Shirin Alexander, British Council staff member, the UK

I am divorced. I don't think it is necessary to ask these questions because the answers become evident as you get to know the person. Everyone has quarrels in their marriage occasionally - it's inevitable. The most important thing in marriage, I think, is the question of loyalty and honesty. Above all, even more important is acceptance and tolerance. The suggestion I would give to young people based on my previous marriage is to know someone well before you get married. I'm not sure whether it is common for Chinese couples to live together before marrying, but I think it's good. If you live together and discover in a year that you are really not suited, it's not too late. But if you get married, then it's far more complex.

Edgars Strazdins (right), Latvia

Will there be a television in the bedroom? I don't think this is worth asking. It's just one small thing that doesn't mean anything. These questions are mainly okay, but for me, I care more about families and friends, so I think questions like "Do we like and respect each other's friends" and "What does my family do that annoys you" are far more meaningful and important.

Legally we are not married, but we have an 11-month-old daughter. I sometimes still argue with my partner, and it could be about anything, but most of time, we just let it go. If two people decide to live together or start a long-term relationship, I think, you have to like and respect each other first.

Fifi (pseudonym), housewife, China

I am the mother of a 12-year-old boy. The big disagreement recently between my husband and me is about our son's education. My husband thinks it's unnecessary to put a lot of pressure on the child, but I insist that he should learn more in this competitive society. So we usually "debate" with each other when the child goes to school or falls asleep to see which of us can be persuaded to change.

Before we married, we lived in our own apartment, and not with our parents. But when I was pregnant, my in-laws came to take care of me and from that time on, we started to live together. Luckily we get along quite well. Personally I think you need to know your partner's personal habits and hobbies before you get married, because it helps to understand him or her so that you know whether he or she is your Mr or Miss Right.

Ross Griggs (left), electrical subcontractor, the US

I've been married for a year and a half and I am now living a very happy life with my wife. First of all, it helps that we have the same religious background - we are both Mormons, which means we have a general idea about how we want to live our life. We already have the same standards. And for Latter-day Saints members, it's incredibly important to discuss a wide range of topics before you get married, so generally we have talked about questions like kids, household chores and our sexual needs.

My wife says that putting God first, your husband or wife second and you, yourself, third is the secret for a long-lasting marriage. For me, it's charity, and in Chinese this is boai - to love the people around you.

Zhang Wenrui (left), graduate student, China

I met my husband when we were undergraduates and we just got married this year, so I'm a typical marry-upon-graduation person. Now I am going to find a job and we are both mature enough to take the responsibilities of a wife and a husband. Of course, finance is also a part of the consideration, as we will have to provide for the family.

As a female, I understand girls are more likely to feel insecure and uncertain, but trust is of great importance in a relationship, especially trusting someone's personality. You need to regularly put yourself into the other person's shoes and build a mutual understanding. It is unwise to always complain that your boyfriend is not good enough. Because men tend to bear things quietly, they have probably suffered a lot behind your back.

Kaye Phillips (pseudonym) (left), housewife, the US

I have been married for five and a half years. My husband and I are Christians, so I think the most important thing in marriage is our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. God stays committed to us even when our faith in Him is weak. That is what marriage was intended to be - that kind of commitment. My husband and I constantly have to rely on God's help to work through difficulties in life and in marriage.

I think the better you really know each other and communicate before marriage, the more you will be able to communicate in marriage. However, no amount of questions or even time and experiences together will prepare you for every aspect of marriage. That is why we must be committed to the marriage regardless of what difficulties come. We never know what our lives will hold and so we must determine from the beginning that leaving (divorce) is not an option to be considered.

The article was written by Qu Xinyi
Newspaper headline: Before you say ‘I do’

Posted in: Metro Shanghai, City Panorama

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