Questions before marriageThe first marriage ended in divorce. The second one is going to be different. But how can a person be sure that they are not making another mistake of a different caliber?

This is a checklist that I use with clients during premarital counseling. It has been developed over the last 15 years spent counseling thousands of couples prior to marriage.

Ask clients to look through the following checklist and check all that apply.

  • Are there frequent arguments over nothing with little resolution?
  • Do you or your partner use biting sarcasm to confront issues?
  • Are you staying in the relationship out of fear or worry?
  • Do you have few areas of common interest?
  • Are you or is your partner overly dependent on parents or children?
  • Are there any signs of physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, mental, spiritual, or financial abuse both present and in the past?
  • Do you avoid discussing sensitive topics or are you afraid of their reaction?
  • Does your partner frequently complain about unreal aches and pains?
  • Does your partner make excuses for not finding a job or keeping a job?
  • Does your partner frequently change jobs or have they been fired more than once?
  • Are you or your partner participating in any addiction such as alcoholism, drug use, gambling, work, or pornography?
  • Are there uncontrollable outbursts of anger?
  • Is your partner inflexible and unwilling to see things from another perspective?
  • Does your partner avoid contact with others and prefer to be alone?
  • Is your partner afraid to be alone and constantly seeks out approval from others?
  • Have there ever been incidents of cruelty to animals or people?
  • Do you find yourself always doing what your partner wants to do?
  • Does your partner have extreme irrational fears, inappropriate reactions, odd beliefs, or bizarre behavior?
  • Does your partner constantly crave attention from others?
  • Does your partner know more details about your life while you know very little about theirs?
  • Does your partner lack healthy long-term relationships with friends or family?
  • 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?
  • Does your partner have a criminal record or show signs of criminal behavior?
  • Does your partner hear voices or see people that aren’t there?
  • Is your partner overly suspicious about mundane things?
  • Are there two contrasting sides to your partner like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?
  • Does your partner obsess about a topic and wear you down until they get their way?
  • Is your partner a habitual liar, deceitful, or do they skirt around the truth?
  • Does your partner blame you or others for mistakes, misfortunes, or missed opportunities?
  • Does your partner refuse to accept responsibility for mistakes and displays inappropriate remorse?
  • Is there a disregard for your safety or minimizing of your concerns?
  • Does your partner overstep your or other’s boundaries?
  • Are your parents, children or friends strongly against the relationship?
  • Do you have a feeling of settling?
  • Does your partner lack the ability to be intimate (not the sexual act)?
  • Is there a lack of care, genuine concern, and empathy?
  • Does your partner threaten to harm themselves or others if they don’t get what they want?
  • Do you feel manipulated by your partner?
  • Is there a callousness, coldness, or distance that is unexplained by your partner?
  • Has your partner refused to heal from past traumatic incidents?
  • Is your partner unaware of how their behavior and actions impact others?
  • Are there regular discussions of separating when things don’t go your partner’s way?
  • Do you feel like you are walking on eggshells around them never knowing what will happen next?
  • Does your partner have inappropriate emotional reactions on a regular basis?
  • Does your partner have poor impulse control?
  • Does your partner exploit others to get what they want?
  • Do you constantly wonder what your partner is thinking or doing?

Answering yes to a few of these questions does not mean a couple is doomed. Rather it signifies a need to better evaluate the situation and seek counsel outside the relationship.  Some of these issues can be resolved quickly so that the foundation of the marriage is stronger than ever.

However, if clients answered yes to numbers 3, 6, 11, 16, 24, 26, 27, 34, 40, or 49 please seek professional help immediately as these issues are more long term in nature. Marriage will not fix the problem it will only make it worse.

 

Christine Hammond is the award-winning author of The Exhausted Woman’s Handbook available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBooks.