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Questioning Marriage

Jan
8
2007

It’s always tough to get back into the regular routine after the holidays, but I’ve got some good news on that front for you. To perk yourself up, you can start planning a summer getaway; there’s no need to save any vacation days for those June weddings that you thought were coming since they’re probably all going to be cancelled.
Why? Well, since mid-December, every time I went to read the New York Times on the computer, here was this article, hanging out in the top ten most-emailed list: “Questions Couples Should Ask (Or Wish They Had) Before Marrying.” Sounds interesting – innocuous – you’d probably click on it yourself.
But forget it, those questions are deal killers. Find the article in your in-box, give a few honest answers and you’ll be posting your dating profile online faster than you can say, “We did try couples counseling.”
I mean, look at the first question: “1) Have we discussed whether or not to have children, and if the answer is yes, who is going to be the primary care giver?”
Obviously the real answer for most couples is, “Ask me after I’ve had a few drinks,” and “I thought you were going to take care of them.”
But this answer is not going to put the wedding planner on your speed dial. And I know therapists say that it’s not about right and wrong, it’s about communication, but that’s what their business is all about, isn’t it? If the goal is to get the registry gift list purchased, or to avoid having to divide up household goods, some responses are clearly better than others.
For example, for this one, “2) Do we have a clear idea of each other’s financial obligations and goals, and do our ideas about spending and saving mesh?” Saying, “I’ve got $35,000 in credit card debt from a shopping and/or gambling habit that’s not under control yet and $150,000 in student loans I’ll never be able to pay off, and I’d like to stop working for a few years to get my head together,” is clearly not the correct answer.
Or for this one, “3) Have we discussed our expectations for how the household will be maintained, and are we in agreement on who will manage the chores?” Answering, “I’m afraid I don’t know anything about taking care of a house, so I know you’ll do it much better than I will,” won’t cut it either.
There are some other answers that clearly won’t work. Like for “8) Do we truly listen to each other and fairly consider one another’s ideas and complaints?” Do not say: “If they’re not ridiculous.”
“Are you kidding” is a wrong answer when talking about “10) Do we like and respect each other’s friends?”
Or for “12) What does my family do that annoys you?” Avoid saying, “Where to start?”
And answering “my girlfriend/boyfriend” is not going to get you points for “13) Are there some things that you and I are NOT prepared to give up in the marriage?”
Just a few tips if you’re trying to keep an engagement going.
And by the way, for the last question on the list, “15) Does each of us feel fully confident in the other’s commitment to the marriage and believe that the bond can survive whatever challenges we may face?” do not answer, “Yes, depending on how the prenup’s written.”

Share  Posted by Deborah Klosky at 11:39 PM | Permalink

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