22 Questions To Ask Before Saying “I Do”
The Bible says that “a man who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favour from the Lord.” Proverbs 18:22. But we must understand that the finding is a process and it is a serious task. This process involves seeking and elimination. It takes time and energy. Ignorance of what this process involves is what makes many singles sad and discouraged or rush into mismatched marriages.
The truth is, finding just any type of life partner is easy; you can pick anyone off the street and go to the altar with her/him. But the heart-breaks and rejections from failed relationships are not easy at all. If you must find that one who would do you good, that one who is tailor-made by God to fit you, then you must invest time, even if it means waiting for some time. After all, the Bible says, “a virtuous woman, who can find?” Proverbs 31:10. This indicates that finding a good person, whether a man or woman does not come easy – you have to search diligently for them.
Experiencing a long delay before marriage is not a bed of roses, neither is it easy to keep waiting when all your peers, friends and younger siblings are all getting married. I sincerely do sympathize with my fellow peers going through all of this, but it is better to suffer some pains now than be sorry in marriage. You need to be patient and never hurry. Based on my observations and experience in my parents’ marriage alongside others, I can safely say that ten broken relationships are far better than one divorce. You’ve got to take time and get it right so that you will not suffer later.
There are only two kinds of pain: the pain of regret and the pain of discipline.
The pains of regret are delayed pains. You suffer these pains in the future by not doing things right in the present. But the pains of discipline are the pains of today; you suffer them for doing things right, now, but you will definitely enjoy the rewards later in life. Many today are suffering the pains of regret.
Let’s consider this true experience shared by a lady called Alice, to illustrate the point:
“I met my husband at a time when I was really desperate and anxious about getting married. We got married after a four-month courtship. Things were fine up to a point, but thereafter, the struggles and pains started. I found out, to my dismay that my husband was given to anger and a violent temper. He was also very jealous and uncomfortable with my success, things I never suspected before marriage.
“I was into business before I married and was doing well. He told me that he did not want me to do business anymore because I was a married woman and it would bring too much attention from men to me. So he closed my flourishing business. I got pregnant eight months into the marriage but discovered, even after I had my first child, that having a child did not improve the situation.
“Today, I am neither fulfilled nor happy. My husband oppresses me a lot. He talks down at me in public and in front of friends and family. It is even worse now that I am not working and I have to depend on him for everything. He compares me with other women who are working and making money, and he calls me a liability and a lazy woman. Worse still, he has entirely refused to take care of our first child!
“There is no respect anymore and no love if it ever was there at all. I look at my husband and I look at myself and I wonder how I ever got to this point. We are so different, poles apart in everything!
“Today, I am 32 years old and I see an old woman when I look into the mirror. I am so unhappy. Obviously, the issues that I should have raised before marriage are now my undoing. I was busy preparing for my wedding, but I never prepared for my marriage. (Wedding is only a day- or two-day event, but marriage is an event of a lifetime). I realize now that they are two different things entirely. What was I ever thinking to mess up my life this way?
“I am pregnant with a second child. And recently in an angry rage, he beat me up in my pregnancy. I am afraid for my life. I do not love this man and I think that I probably never did. I guess I was in love with the idea of getting married than with him. I have decided to move out and raise my children alone…”
Young people must understand that the altar is not the end of a marriage, rather the beginning. And there is absolutely no way you can make it successfully in marriage without knowing yourself and your partner. And in relationships, knowledge does not come by gazing into each other’s eyes, fondling each other and playing on each other’s emotions, but by asking relevant, necessary and informative questions. Your mouth is the tool God has given you to save yourself from future pains and pitfalls. The mouth is not for unholy kissing outside marriage, but for talking, asking questions and for effective communication.
Who you choose to marry will either make or mar you. Unfortunately, a lot of people forsake wisdom because they believe that the solution to a bad marriage is divorce and single parenting. This is even worse because the only thing divorce does is that it makes you exchange one set of problems for other greater ones. Therefore, the wise thing to do is to take care and choose right. For those of you who are yet waiting, please wait some more and get it right. It may appear a long wait for you right now, but I tell you the days and years are longer in a bad marriage.
God desires for you to have peace and enjoy your marriage. He has prepared someone good for you and somewhere in this world is that someone who would be compatible with you spiritually, socially, intellectually, mentally and physically. However, the responsibility of finding this person is yours. It is a serious task but it is not as difficult as some have made it to be; if you know what to look for and how God thinks.
Often times, people have a special desire for a particular person, but if at the end of the day the person you desire cannot walk with you, you will be frustrated. Therefore, God’s intention is not so much about Him giving you your heart’s desire, but giving you who can walk with you. That is why. When choosing a life partner, you must be very prayerful than any other thing. God will lead you but at the end of the day you are the one who would have to choose for yourself; He will not choose for you but only when you allow Him to influence your choice. (Psalms 37:3-9). That is why the Bible says, “He that finds…” and not “God that finds.”
The reason behind this is that your maturity may be tested. Marriage is about two mature people joining as one, therefore if you are not mature enough to choose right; it follows that you would also not be mature at taking the right decisions in marriage.
Life is all about decisions. The questions we would be looking at here are designed to help us make right, matured and spiritual decisions on our marital partner:
- Who Am I?
Before you can know the person who is right for you, you must know yourself. If you do no know who you are, it would be impossible for you to find the right person to fit you. The Bible asks rhetorically, “Can two walk together except they agree?” (Amos 3:3). It is very vital that you too should have in you the qualities you are looking for in your future partner. For instance, if you want a prudent wife/ husband, you must be prudent yourself or else you will have confusion in your home. Do you want a sincere, faithful and honest/truthful husband/wife; you must be sincere, faithful and honest/truthful alike. Do you want a perfect gift from God? You have to be a perfect gift yourself or else that perfect gift will intimidate you.
- Am I Obsessed And Committed To The Will Of God?
God’s desire is to affect our entire lives for our own good. His commandments are therefore all-embracing. In determining your commitment level, you need to ask how far you are willing to go in walking with God and whether there are areas you consider too sacred for God to touch. Also, consider how obedient you are to His Words written in the Bible.
- Do I Hate Sin With My Entire Being And With A Passion?
Through self-examination, one should be able to say whether one abhors sins or there are areas in which one is willing to accept compromises. It is true that no one is perfect, but if you marry someone who compromises and who does not see sin as sin, then you have problems in your hands.
- Is He/She A Committed Believer Or Christian?
The Lord says that “Do not be unequally yoked with an unbeliever…” 2Corinthians 6:14-18. He is the Manufacturer, Author and Maker of marriage and relationships. He alone knows what is best and has given this instruction for our good, peace and bliss. For perfect spiritual compatibility, a Christian (devoted follower of Christ) should choose a Christian, a Muslim should choose a Muslim and other non-Christians should choose non-Christians. If you marry a non-Christian, be ready to be an in-law to the Devil (idols).
- Who Am I Intellectually?
You must also be able to know your intellectual strengths and abilities, that way you can determine who can agree with you in this regard. Based on your academic accomplishments, you should be able to say whether you are likely to be threatened by your spouse’s intellectual accomplishments or whether you will be able to provide leadership, and in fact, enhance her.
- What Ignorance Would Disturb Me?
Some people are very exposed and well informed about life, social etiquettes, world politics, fashion, current affairs, etc; but others are not. And such ignorance may be irritating; therefore, it is advisable that you look into this area carefully.
- What Physical And Emotional Qualities Do I Have?
Apart from the spiritual and intellectual knowledge of one’s self, the emotional, sexual and physical aspect is also equally very important. In the aspect of emotions, you must find out if you are an extrovert or an introvert; if you make friends easily or not, etc.
- Can I Love This Person For Life?
You need to be sure that this person you have chosen to marry you will live him/her till death separates you, come what may. Matthew 19:3-8.
- Do I Know The Qualities I Am Looking For In My Intended Spouse?
You must know what you want in an intended spouse or else you could see him/her but not recognize her/him. Possibly list them and let the Holy Spirit guide your listing against selfishness.
- Does He/She Have Qualities I Cannot Live Without?
A lot of people settle for qualities that they can live with, but this is an error. It is wiser to choose a partner with qualities you cannot do without. As we cannot live without air and water, there are some traits/things that we need our partners to have that will make life more comfortable and bearable for us.
- Can My Intended Complement My Efforts To Fulfill My Purpose In Life?
This is very important, but first of all, you need to identify your purpose. That way you can now tell who would be able to compliment you and who cannot. Your spouse must be committed to you as well committed to your purpose.
- Can I Help Or Allow Her/Him To Accomplish Her/His God-Given Purpose In Life?
If you desire someone who will help you to get to where you are going in life, you should also be willing to reciprocate the gesture.
- Is He/She Flexible And Understanding Or Rigid And Uncompromising?
You need to have a person who can adjust to your needs. If he/she is not, it is indicative that the choice you have made is a poor one.
- Am I Proud Of Him/Her?
Can I proudly introduce my intended partner to my family and friends or am I embarrassed to take him/her out to visit people? Can we walk together along the street, sit together in the car or any other public transport means? Am I always excited when people see us together? Can we wear the same clothes?
- Do I Know My Intended Partner’s Strengths And Weaknesses?
Concentrate therefore on knowing the person you are intending to marry rather than indulging in sex, petting or necking as these would create false intimacy, arouse unguided and unguarded emotions and blind you to objective judgments.
- Am I Ready To Accept Him/Her With His/Her Faults?
You need to decide if you can celebrate your intended partner with all his/her faults and weaknesses. If you cannot, you’ll end up frustrating yourselves. You must understand as you take steps to the altar, that marriage requires unconditional love, an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person. In spite of his/her faults, you must love and celebrate your partner in marriage. Therefore, care must be taken to know the faults and imperfections of the person you have chosen to marry.
- Do I Accept His/Her Friends As My Friends?
If you are uncomfortable with your intended partner’s friends, it is a pointer that you probably do not know him/her enough and you can’t afford to marry a stranger. Marriage will commit you to accept his/her friends, family and all she/he stands for and show that you have fully accepted him/her.
- Have We Discussed Our Differences?
You need to discuss those basic things that are very different between you two. For instance, family background, educational background, differences between a man and a woman (physiology, mannerism, characters and traits/habits, etc).
- Can We Play Together?
Life isn’t all about work, business and all that seriousness. A couple needs to relax sometimes and just play. Do you play together? Can you indeed play together? Can you cope with his/her hobbies?
- Do We Bring Out The Best In Each Other?
Do both of you encourage and inspire each other to greater heights? How does your presence or intervention affect his/her performance? This is very important.
- Am I Marrying Him/Her Because I Believe I Can Change Him/Her, Because My Friends Like Him/Her Or My Parents Presses Me To Marry?
It is instructive for you to note at this time that you can’t change anybody. If you don’t like what you see now there is every tendency that it will still not change in marriage. People are unhappy in marriages today because they believed at one point that they could change their spouses.
The list of questions is not exhaustive, but they are pointers in the right direction.
- Do You Know The Behavior Patterns Of The Opposite Sex?
You have to keep in mind men and women psychological construction is different. Different people process information, react or even show different traits. Take the time a learn what sparks your spouse and how he/she processes information or expresses themselves.
PS: Am taking the steps, learning more, investing time and emotions but one thing for sure is, love is built and not just chance, many will take it for granted while others will take advantage of your kindness. Simply rise above them all and walk away… for you have no time to waste absolutely.