Yep, you read that right! Before you get engaged. These discussions are much more challenging to have with the ring on your finger in the midst of wedding planning. I recommend you stick to one topic per discussion/sitting. Trying to ask all of these questions back to back will be overwhelming and may lead to frustration for you and/or your partner.
It is important to remember that some of your answers to these questions may change over time. You cannot predict how you are going to feel in the future. Just be open and honest about where you are at right now.
1. Children & Parenting
Do you want to have kids?
If yes, how many?
When do you want to start trying?
What if we can’t have children?
Will we try IVF?
Will we adopt?
Did your family have money when you were growing up?
What are your beliefs and feelings about money?
What money habits did you get from your parents?
Are you more of a spender or a saver?
If we differ, how are we going to manage this difference?
What types of debt do you have and how much?
How are we going to pay off our debt?
Will we rent a house/condo or buy?
What are your financial goals for the future?
Are you satisfied with our current sexual relationship?
How comfortable are we communicating openly about sex?
What are your expectations about frequency of sex once we are married?
How will we make sex a priority once we are married? If we have kids?
What are your career goals?
Would we move to another city, state, or country if one of us was offered our dream job?
If we have children, will one of us stay home with them or will we both work?
5. Family Relationships
What is your relationship like with each of your parents?
What is/are your parents’ relationship(s) like?
What qualities do you admire about their relationship?
What qualities do you not want to repeat in our marriage?
How often will we see our families? How much time will we spend with them?
Who in your family are you most similar to?
Who in your family do you have a difficult relationship with?
6. Mental Health, Substance Use, & Therapy
Do you now or have you ever suffered from mental health issues (anxiety, depression, etc.) or excessive use of substances?
If so, how does it/did it affect you? Did you go to therapy? Would you go to therapy in the future if it became a problem again?
Do mental health and/or substance use issues run in your family?
Would you be willing to attend couples therapy in the future if we have problems in our marriage that we have trouble managing?
This is by no means an exhaustive list of topics to discuss or questions to ask. They are meant to help you start having more in-depth conversations about your plans and expectations for the future of your marriage.