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Questions to Ask Before Getting Serious

While it’s impossible to gauge in advance whether any couple will actually make it ‘til death do they part, there are some compatibility factors that offer insight as to whether they’ve got a fighting chance. While you probably can’t straight out ask your partner whether or not he or she is physically or verbally abusive, a cheater, or an addict—all of which rank among the most popular reasons for splitsville—you can and should sit down and ask each other the following questions. If your perspectives match up, you have a better chance of making it for the long haul.

1. Do you want kids?
There is no reason to get married or seriously invest in one another if you don’t see eye-to-eye on this matter — unless you’re willing to be swayed. But don’t even think about entering marriage with the hope that you can change your partner’s mind. It’s a recipe for disaster if you’re wrong. If you find you both want kids, you might follow up with a question about how much participation your partner would want to have in diaper changing and beyond!

2. What’s your financial standing?
Surely you’ll come up with a more personalized, delicate way to broach this subject, but whatever the case, you must learn the financial standing of the person you’re getting serious with. Why? Because as a married couple, their debt will quickly become your debt. Plus, you can get a lot of insight into a person’s level of responsibility and overall financial outlook if you know what they’ve saved, lost, or borrowed and still owe up until this point.

3. What are your spending habits?
Some people are savers, others are spenders. Often the opposites attract rule comes into play between these two archetypes. But if you’re idea of a wise investment is tucking away your extra cash for retirement while your mate’s features trips to Vegas and sports cars, you’re destined to clash. This is not something to take lightly since finances are one of the top causes for divorce.

4. Where do you stand on religion?
While you probably know basics, you might like to know how much your partner is expecting the church, synagogue, mosque, or other to play a part in your lives, as well as your children’s lives should you have them.

5. Would you be willing to go to therapy or counseling if we needed it?
One of the top reasons for breakups is a breakdown in communication or a general lack thereof. That’s why it’s really important to know whether your partner would be open to learning more about him or herself and getting help through a couples therapist, if it ever becomes necessary. If you get a flat-out “No,” you know what you’re getting yourself into.

6. What’s your ideal sex life?
While there’s no one right definition of a great sex life, there is definitely a wrong one—and that’s two people who have opposing views and desires. It’s better to talk now about sexual preferences, desires, hopes and expectations than after you put a ring on it!

7. What are your expectations of life together?
Some people want lots of independence, others crave constant companionship. Some want their partner to put dinner on the table every night, while others are happy with a life of takeout. From socializing to vacations to sex to household and financial roles and responsibilities, getting a clearer picture of expectations tells you whether or not you and your partner’s desires match up.

8. Where do you envision living in the long run?
While jobs and life can take couples places they never imagined going, it’s a good idea to see if you at least have the same type of lifestyle in mind. For example, some people want to live near their family. Others want to be in the city or the country. Where you live has a direct impact on your lifestyle and consequently can make for a happier or more stressed existence.

What questions do you think are important to ask before getting serious, moving in together or tying the knot?