Before You Get Married…
Almost every weekend, a new Mr and Mrs are introduced to the world. Most of the time the couple involved are pretty sure they know everything about their partner, until married life begins and they start to say things like;
“Oh! I didn’t know he was this selfish!”
“She doesn’t care about me!”
“Why wouldn’t he just pray with me?”
Before you get to this stage, I’d like to suggest five important things to know about the person you are dating, observations to make and questions you can ask them.
It is important for you to remember that this isn’t an inquisition but a discussion and should be asked while you are both having conversations about yourselves. After you ask whatever you need to know, give your answer to the same question, it will make them feel more comfortable. This will help you both immensely in your discovery of each other. The questions asked go both ways, so guys, you should also know/ask your lady most of these questions too.
- You should know your partner’s definition of a relationship.
This should become evident to you after you’ve been dating for a few months. Do they talk about what commitment means to them? Do you see signs that he wants to keep your relationship going? Ask her what being in a relationship means to her. Where does she see your relationship heading? A good sign to know when to ask this question is when you feel you no longer have to put up any airs around each other (usually a few months).
- You should know if your partner is respectful or critical of others.
Observe the way they talk to or about their parents, siblings, extended family, co-workers, friends, business partners and even total strangers. If they are respectful, then chances are they will treat you the same way. You want someone who is kind and respects you (vice versa). If they doesn’t care about how they talk or relate to people, then it won’t be any different with you.
- You should know about their spiritual beliefs and value systems.
Observe if they see life through the lens of their beliefs e.g. faith, sacrifice, hope, trust, love etc. Are they deeply observant or even not religious at all? Do they observe weekly religious commitments that you might also be expected to observe? You should ask what being spiritual means to them and the religious practices that are preparing them for married life. These questions will stir up conversations that tell you what you need to know.
- You should know their communication style and how they react to conflict.
Do they always seem eager to talk to you? Do they tell you that they doesn’t like to talk much? How do they react when you have an argument? Do they apologise if they err or lash out at you? Do they go cold and shut you out for a period of time? Are they quick to forgive? Whatever their current reaction to conflict is, it’ll be the same (or even worse) if you get married. Conflict is inevitable, but how you both handle it is what keeps you happy together or miserable. This is an area where you can both get help to guide you on how to fight the good fight. Ask what bothers or upsets them the most, this way you already have an idea what could cause conflict in your relationship and know how to navigate those waters.
- You should know how they earn a living, where they work and any secondary endeavors that earn them money.
Observe if there are any grey areas in the explanations you are given and decide if you are comfortable with them. Also take in how they spends their money. Do they spend on a budget? Do you save? Do they over-spend in comparison to what you suspect they make or are they a bit miserly? Whatever spending habits they have now might double in severity if you end up marrying they. Ask them questions about any future financial goals they might have e.g. setting up a business or building franchises. This stirs up priceless conversations.
These are just five details you should know about the person you are dating. Also ask about their family history (how close or distant their relationship is), their passion (what do they dream about, what drives them), who their friends are (how much influence they have over them) etc.
The dating phase is a crucial time to know more about your partner. Focus on having the conversations that will expose the important details of their lives to you. I wish you all the best in this explorative phase.