‘Til Death Do Us Part?

Choosing to marry someone is one of the most important decisions you make as a human—and it’s generally intended to last a lifetime. Before you vow to spend your life with one specific person, it can be helpful to have some challenging, deep conversations with your partner.

In addition to the fun wedding planning talks and lighter conversations, asking your partner some unconventional, potentially controversial questions can help ensure that you’ve picked a mate who is a good long-term fit for you. They also make for deeper, more intimate dialogue about who you are, how you want to live, and what you expect and want in a mate. Although these questions may be difficult, being vulnerable is key to intimacy, bonding, and attachment.

1. What do you think about a prenuptial agreement?

This is a highly heated topic for many engaged couples—especially because it directly conflicts with the “forever after” romantic notion of marriage. Yet, the purpose of a prenuptial agreement is to outline the expectations and terms to rights (for property, money) in the event of divorce, separation, or death.

Although this topic can lead to heated discussions and even breakups because it forces couples to discuss what they want should the marriage end, this question serves many important functions. For example, it allows you to talk about allocation of money in your relationship now and in the future (as in who pays for what and when). It helps formulate concrete plans for to handle joint finances while you’re married and if you end up splitting later. It forces you to explore whether you want the same lifestyle—like what happens if you have children, pets, shared assets, and homes.

2. What is infidelity for you?

Expectations around romantic relationship boundaries are shifting considerably, particularly with the accessibility of dating partners online. What being unfaithful means differs greatly between people but can have hugely negative consequences for marriages (Rokach & Chan, 2023). For example, some people who want monogamous relationships view watching porn, having online sexual exchanges in chat rooms, or having romantic connections outside of the marital relationship as cheating, whereas others don’t.

Fully understanding the boundaries each of you wants for your interaction with other potential love or sexual interests is key to warding off cheating allegations in the future. It also allows each partner to set boundaries in their relationship.

3. What can we honestly say in our vows?

Traditional vows often ask each member of a couple to state that they will be together “until death do us part” and have many aspirational words that often end up being untrue and unrealistic. So, have a deeply raw conversation with your partner about what you can honestly promise one another.

For example, instead of the traditional vows often said, perhaps consider something like this in your own words: I’m deeply in love with you and so grateful to build a life with you. There is no one I know that I would rather have as a partner in life. In the most difficult moments—which we’ll undoubtedly face in the future—I vow to talk to you about it as honestly as I can, and I ask that you do the same for me.

4. Is there anything I don’t know about you that you’re afraid to tell me?

Communication is key to any relationship. Secrets that exist because of shame or fear of rejection can erode your relationship before it’s even started.

If someone has a big secret that they are trying to hide because of fear (of rejection, of embarrassment, of ridicule), it’s helpful to share these with your partner before you tie the knot. Not only does this help you and your partner trust one another and grow closer if the vulnerable dialogue goes well, but if there’s a deal-breaking issue that one of you can’t accept, it’s better to know that before you get married.

The naked truth is this: Marriage is a serious commitment generally intended to be life-long. Before you walk down the aisle, having some deep, non-romantic conversations about heated topics—like finances, infidelity, what you can honestly agree to, and your past—help to ensure that you are actually a good fit as a couple. It’s better to discuss them now than later, when they can lead to heated disagreements, tension, and even eventual divorce.

Copyright Cortney S. Warren, Ph.D., ABPP

Note: This content is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered therapy or any form of treatment. I cannot respond to personal requests for advice over the internet. Best on your continued journey.

Image Source: TranStudios Photography & Video / Pexels

Dr. Cortney S. Warren, PhD, ABPP

Exposed to a diversity of cultures and lifestyles from an early age, Dr. Cortney was intrigued by the ways cultural and environmental conditions affected the psychological well-being of individuals, groups, and even whole societies.


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