It is hard to know if a person will be a good fit as a spouse. It is even harder to stop and evaluate a potential spouse from a logical, non-emotional point of view. Yet this is precisely what needs to be done.
Friends and family can be helpful in pointing out some concerns but their excitement for the couple may cloud judgement. Even the best premarital counseling can’t detect all of the potential pitfalls. Instead, present these questions to a couple and have them individually answer. This can provide a more realistic viewpoint and offer some areas of discussion prior to marriage.
- Are there frequent arguments over nothing?
- Do you or your partner use biting sarcasm to confront issues?
- Are you staying in the relationship out of fear?
- Do you have few areas of common interest?
- Are either you or your partner overly dependent on your parents?
- Is there any sign of physical, sexual, or verbal abuse?
- Do you avoid discussing sensitive topics to prevent an argument or because you are afraid of their reaction?
- Does your partner frequently complain about unreal aches and pains?
- Does your partner make excuses for not finding a job?
- Are you or your partner involved in any addiction such as alcoholism, drug use, gambling, or pornography?
- Does your partner avoid contact with others and prefer to be alone?
- Do you find yourself always doing what your partner wants to do?
- Does your partner harm themselves or have extreme irrational fears, bizarre behavior, or inability to be affectionate?
- Is your partner overly jealous, questioning you all the time about your whereabouts?
- Is your partner overly critical and demanding that you adjust to their expectations?
- Are you and your partner dishonest about your sexual past?
- Do you have an uneasy feeling about the relationship?
- Are your parents or friends strongly against the relationship?
- Do you have a feeling of settling for less than the best?
- Is there spiritual harmony?
Answering yes to a few of these questions does not mean the marriage is doomed. Rather, it signifies a need to better evaluate the situation and seek additional counsel. Some of these issues can be resolved quickly, allowing the foundation of the marriage to be even stronger.
However, if “yes” answers were given to numbers 3, 6, 10, or 13, please seek individual professional help immediately. Those issues are more long term in nature and marriage will not fix the problem, it will only make it worse.