Questions to Be Answered before the Engagement

The Engagement (oil on canvas) by Percy Robert Craft
The Engagement (oil on canvas) by Percy Robert Craft | Source

It is usually difficult for high school sweethearts to know everything about each other; imagine how much more difficult for sweethearts who meet online or in other forums where they only meet occasionally.

Caught up in the ecstasy of being in love, lovers can easily neglect to notice some important details about personal values and interests while they concentrate on fun events like the engagement planning.

To help them discover important details about each other, here are six premarital counseling questions which deserve serious soul searching and honest answers.

(1) How do your priority values compare?

Everybody has a priority list of values. Marriage counselors propose that even if the two people do not list their priorities in the same order, their top three or four top values should be the same.

What are the chances for conflict between a man who lists family, health and commitment as his top three and a woman who lists friends, money and good times as hers? Yet the issue of complementary values is often overlooked.

Human Metrics – Try Your Traits before Trying Fate recommends a Morals Test (cost $3.00) which can help the couple decide how similar or how different they are in their attitude to morality. Do they uphold the same moral standards? Or, will circumstances dictate their conduct?

The same site also offers a Marriage Test (cost $6.00) to help determine the probability of success in the marriage. On completing the test, there are tips on how to maintain a healthy, stable relationship.

(2) Can you tolerate your opposite interests?

Common interests pull people together; but what happens after the initial thrill of falling in love, and the idiosyncrasies surface? For example:

  • The woman talks and listens to her dead twin for ten minutes every night; she neglects her lover's calls during that time.
  • The man reveals that he loves shopping with his mother for his underwear; he wants that to continue.

These examples may be extreme, but the question is whether the couple can create a satisfactory compromise, or tolerate them to the point of refusing to fight. It is better to recognize and discuss the details of opposite interests beforehand than to share unpleasant surprises during the marriage.

(3) Are you both comfortable with family associations on either side?

It is important to discover how the individuals get along with their parents and siblings.

  • Will there be expected interference from family members on either side?
  • Are there any family traditions which one suspects would be displeasing to the other?

These issues need to be raised prior to the decision to get married. It is not quite true that one can marry a person and ignore that person’s family. The marriage can thrive on the support of family members; or the couples will have to deal with the lack of it. Either way, it helps to know beforehand, to avoid awkward and embarrassing moments in the event of unavoidable family gatherings.

One sweetheart or spouse may facilitate family reconciliations for the other; but that is not a marriage requirement. It is better for sweethearts to agree before the engagement on respecting each other’s wishes for relating to their families.

(4) Is there mutual satisfaction on social boundaries for exes?

There may be ex-sweethearts and ex-spouses which the individuals need to talk about. If there are children by these exes, there may be reason for occasional communication. It is important for the current sweethearts to agree on the boundaries for relationships with past lovers.

The best scenario is a civil, respectful attitude toward past lovers and spouses; and a request to the exes that they render a similar attitude toward the new spouse.

It is not time for the engagement if there are frequent arguments with an ex, or matters still in legal dispute. The engagement should come with the assurance that there are no such struggles threatening the relationship or their emotional well-being.

From Deseret News National

Marrying in the same faith has led to happier homes and more successful marriages, according to the Portraits of American Life Study.


(5) Have you decided on a common religious affiliation?

This discussion is not necessary if both individuals decide to live without commitment to a system of religious beliefs.

However, if one intends to maintain a certain religious affiliation, or both intend to pursue different affiliations, the details need to be worked out.

  • How deeply can one get involved with the programs of a religious group while the other is not?
  • Are they able to engage in conversations about beliefs in which only one is interested, or on which they disagree?
  • How will the relationship be affected by one or both associating with friends exclusive to them in an attempt to pursue their religious interest?

Often, couples nurture their love relationship without any discussion on the differences in their religious affiliations. Much heartbreak has been caused by neglecting this issue until after the engagement. Especially among couples who have strong religious convictions, this should be discussed as early as possible.

Six Other Premarital Questions

(6) Is Love Enough?

Some naïve lovers deceive themselves into thinking that the emotional high they feel is enough to make the marriage work. That usually disappears after a while; not that love disappears, but but the struggles of real living are distracting. Before the engagement, it is necessary to discuss intentions concerning marriage for life. Love is enough only if the definition of love includes (but is not limited to):

  • Open, honest communication whether they’re happy or sad;
  • Patience, tolerance and understanding when actions are considered out of character;
  • Loyalty and dependability when it seems easier to abandon the relationship;
  • Commitment to talk through, pray through, help each other through any and all kinds of adversities.

Despite the gloomy statistics on marriage, there are many happy marriages that last. Discussing these details before the engagement will increase the chances for a lasting, satisfying marriage.

More by this Author


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Interesting hub! You are so right once the honeymoon mode is over reality sets in. Marriage does not work on just love the many issues mentioned here is vital for those stepping into such commitment.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Devika, thank you for your affirmation on these vital issues. I appreciate your comment.

Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Excellent hub dear MsDora, and I wish I had known all of this way back when I met my husband as my high school sweetheart! All of these issues are certainly important ones to know about the other before going off and committing one's life to that person without really even knowing.

These are all important issues every couple should take into consideration before they move on further with their relationship.

Yes, there are a lot of naïve persons in love no doubt!

Up and more and sharing.

Have a blessed week,

Faith Reaper

word55 profile image

word55 2 years ago from Chicago

Hi MsDora, this article was a very well written pre-engagement or premarital highlight. The research and depth was profound. Love is definitely not all it takes to have a successful marriage although, the main component/ingredient but every person involved must be as practical in the beginning of developing a relationship as it will have the tendency to be in the long run. Thank you for the enlightenment and putting this so well, together.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thank you, Faith. Glad your marriage is happy, anyway. I'm sure that your faith is a factor. God bless you!

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Word, thank you for summarizing the article so well. It is written with you in mind, so I'm honored that you like it.

Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Great stuff Dora. Seems like my wife and I have faced just about all the pitfalls and yet here we are.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Eric, you and your wife are a great example of a good marriage. God bless you both, going forward!

billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

Wouldn't it be lovely if people actually considered these things when they fall in love? The problem is falling in love. LOL It overcomes reason.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Bill, you're so right. We have 20-20 vision after the fact. Still, we hope that those who follow us, will take the time to learn from us.

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

I married someone who is my opposite in personality, politics, and preferences, although we do share common life values. It's not always been easy, but it is a solid partnership. People change so much over the years that the person you originally married is not the one you're married to at every phase of life. You provide an excellent list of things to think about before taking such a big step.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Flourish, I apprecite your comment, especially because you shared from your experience. That means a lot.

lovedoctor926 2 years ago

Excellent hub. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with the rest of us. Priority values are very important. Your advice on boundaries for exes is helpful. Endorphins.. one of the most important chemicals that might explain why people fall in love or think they have fallen in love. you're right, once this chemical fades off, then that's the real test. I agree, despite the rate of divorce, there are still happy & lasting marriages. I think the problem with the rate of divorce these days is that people just give up too quickly.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

LoveDoctor, given your name, I appreciate every bit of your comment on this topic. Thank you very much.

sheilamyers 2 years ago

These are great things to talk about before getting married. I'll definitely try to remember to talk these things through if Mr Right ever comes along.

word55 profile image

word55 2 years ago from Chicago

Here's another unique display of relationship observations. Just think, a man may want to marry a particular woman but she may have a hang up like the unfriendliness describe herein. Friendlier and openminded ladies usually win the man. We used to use the term, "stuck up" when a girl was unfriendly. There is possibly a profound reason or more of why she's unfriendly but she is not excused, however. Thank you my sister for such a friendly point of view.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Sheila, I hope you remember. Thank you for your comment.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Word, I thought you were commenting on another article I re-posted today. Your thoughts are similar to what I expressed, so, of course, I am agreeing with you. Thank you for your input.

Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

Great advice and if only we were that smart with anything else on our mind, lol. I don't know whether to say I wish I were that smart or I am glad I am no longer in the dating game. Maybe both and I do hope someone will listen to you MsDora; for I know they will wish they had!

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

I totally agree with you MsDora, if only I had known this many years back! I married for love, independence, and just to be me for a change, long story! we were so different, and of course I think the main thing is, we have to remember that the person we marry how they are at that point is always going to be that way, they never change, as I found out to my cost, great hub, voted and shared! nell

Levertis Steele profile image

Levertis Steele 2 years ago from Southern Clime

Wow! What powerful points! Hopefully those considering marriage would come to HubPages and seek "Details for Sweethearts to Consider before the Engagement." They would be rewarded greatly.

Thanks for this helpful hub, Ms Dora!

Levertis Steele profile image

Levertis Steele 2 years ago from Southern Clime

Ms. Dora,

This is certainly a great hub for anyone considering matrimony. Readiness is so important, and any help is never too much.

When I became engaged in college, my boyfriend was a handsome football player and ROTC cadet. He was very popular and outgoing. I wore a beautiful sparkling diamond ring that his parent bought for him, and all of the girls envied me. Poor us! Now I see that.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Jackie, thanks for your input. We may not be able to undo our mistakes, but we can teach from them--if anyone will listen.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Nell, you make a very important point. Don't marry hoping for the other person to change. You cannot make change happen. Thank you for sharing.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Levertis, thank you for sharing. Hope you have outlived your regrets and are finding things to be happy about. Thank God for survival!

georgescifo profile image

georgescifo 2 years ago from India

Really inspirative hub for those planning to get married. Thanks for the effort.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Georgescifo, I appreciate your comment. Thank you.

sujaya venkatesh profile image

sujaya venkatesh 2 years ago

young ones attention please!

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

you bring out the right messag.. and this would have been a wonderful tool to have during my should I call it Puppy Love years? LOL thank you for sharing voting up and awesome..:) plus useful

georgescifo profile image

georgescifo 2 years ago from India

Welcome Dora!!

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Sujaya, thank you. Even though they do not heed me, they may heed you. Thank you.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Frank, I hope that all is well, anyway. Thank you for your encouragement.

MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 2 years ago from South Africa

Ms Dora, all of the information and advice in here are so precious. Sadly, young sweethearts believe that they know all about life and love, only to obtain the knowledge they have actually lacked in their youth when they try to prevent their children from repeating the mistakes that are committed generation after generation by young sweethearts :)

Excellent hub!

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Martie, thank you for your input. We try to give them the toolsand wish they would take heed. We can only try.

midnightbliss profile image

midnightbliss 2 years ago from Hermosa Beach

Great information! As many of us have experienced, once a relationship begins we tend to set aside concerns of future compatibility in exchange for enjoying the moment. But, as time progresses line items 1-6, as you clearly outlined, become more important to a long-term and happy partnership. ~ Thanks for sharing!

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Welcome, Midnightbliss. Thank you for weighing on this. I appreciate your comment.

Shanaaya profile image

Shanaaya 2 years ago from Mauritius

MsDora.. I don't see a point missing here.. very well written. If everyone could read would have been great. These little things you listed have a great impact on relationships. Thank you for explaining their importance.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Shanaaya, welcome to my page. Thanks for your encouragement.

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    Dora Isaac Weithers (MsDora)946 Followers
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    MsDora is a Certified Christian Counselor. Her counsel on premarital and marital issues are influenced by her Christian beliefs.

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