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Many couples fail to ask each other critical questions before commitment and marriage, so they end up becoming strangers to each other and later find themselves at the centre of a hot-headed dispute with regrets and consequences. However, this can be avoided, if the following questions are asked:
- What do we truly want in a relationship?
Not what someone else (family, friends or society) thinks it should be but what you both want in a relationship. You will be living together 24-hours per day and 7 days per week for the rest of your lives and blending your life with another is very crucial. Is it only love, fun, affection, sexual satisfaction, shared responsibilities, open mindedness, support for each other’s goals?
- What are you unwilling to accept and tolerate?
This is an important question with an endless list that includes: abuse, addiction, control, emotional manipulation, co-dependent tendencies, financial irresponsibility, self-centeredness, lying, infidelity, laziness, etc. The erroneous belief that love is enough to sustain and tolerate these isn’t always the case afterwards. Talking about this before commitment will help to prevent conflict eventually.
- How will we handle money?
This is a major cause of conflict among couples. Will you both operate joint accounts? Attitudes on spending and saving? This is an issue that often leads to divorce if couples don’t handle their views on spending and savings in a collaborative way. Discuss many specifics about money before commitment in order to avoid a potential split and daily arguments.
- How many children do we prefer to have?
It is unsafe to assume that your partner feels the same way as you do regarding having children without both of you discussing it. Questions regarding sex of the children, number of children, addressing fertility issues in case it arises, adoption, infertility treatments are important. Ensure you both have similar perspective on this crucial topic before commitment in order to prevent separation later in life.
- How involved can our in-laws and extended family be in our lives?
It is crucial to draw clear boundaries of your parents’ or extended family’s interference into your lives. Ensure there is clarity on what you will both accept and what you will not accept. However, consider that here in Nigeria, when you marry someone, you also enter into a relationship with their family and loved ones too.
- How important is religion, especially if we have different beliefs?
Couples in love can compromise and manage this issue properly and allow each other to practice their own faith. However, when the children arrive there is usually an intense disparity in their initial opinions. Therefore, make sure you both talk about what religion you want your children to practice.
- Would we share domestic duties?
Although, women still bear more domestic responsibility than men, but many women prefer house chores are to be shared between a couple. Endeavour to ask this important question, if you are to have a fifty-fifty split when it comes to cleaning, cooking, washing the dirty clothes, bathing the children, etc. These lifestyle factors can determine how frequently you will argue. Sort these issues out before commitment!
- Do you feel comfortable discussing sex, passion and our intimate life?
Are you both completely satisfied with your sex drive? Is there anything either party wants but isn’t getting? Your sex life won’t always be easy and intensely passionate eventually. Often times, several couples do have a relationship or sexual issue at some point. However, proper communication will help to prevent this problem from escalating and adequately help a couple to resolve it. Sexual in-satisfaction usually leads to masturbation, infidelity, and eventually divorce if not managed properly.
Hence, before commitment, you should ask each other these salient questions above and endeavour to have clear answers, convictions in order to have a happy and long lasting marriage.