He gets down on bended knee and pops the question. But "Will you marry me?" is only the first of many questions engaged couples should be asking each other.
Don't let the sparkle of that diamond ring blind you to life's realities. Susan Piver, author of "The Hard Questions for an Authentic Life," writes on Oprah.com that couples need to ask each other the questions that will make the marriage work, specifically those regarding income, work, children, home life, chores, religion and friends--all of which can be major areas of disagreement.
Piver has made this task a little easier. She's given you the 20 questions. Now all you have to do is answer them.
Money, Money, Money
1. What percentage of our income are we prepared to spend to purchase and maintain our home on a monthly or annual basis?
2. How much money do we earn together? Now? In one year? In five years? Ten? Who is responsible for which portion? Now? In one year? Five? Ten?
3. What is our ultimate financial goal regarding annual income, and when do we anticipate achieving it? By what means and through what efforts?
4. What are our categories of expenses (rent, clothing, insurance, travel)? How much do we spend monthly, annually, in each category? How much do we want to be able to spend?
The Honey-Do List
5: Who is responsible for keeping our house and yard cared for and organized? Are we different in our needs for cleanliness and organization?
6. How much time will each of us spend at work, and during what hours? Do we begin work early? Will we prefer to work into the evening?
7. If one of us doesn't want to work, under what circumstances, if any, would that be okay?
8. How ambitious are you? Are we comfortable with the other's level of ambition?
Love, Lust and Sex
9. Am I comfortable giving and receiving love sexually? In sex, does my partner feel my love for him or her?
10. Are we satisfied with the frequency of our lovemaking? How do we cope when our desire levels are unmatched?
Hi, Honey! I'm Home!
11. Do we eat meals together? Which ones? Who is responsible for the food shopping? Who prepares the meals? Who cleans up afterward?
12. Is each of us happy with the other's approach to health? Does one have habits or tendencies that concern the other (e.g., smoking, excessive dieting, poor diet)?
The Pitter Patter of Little Feet
13. Will we have children? If so, when? How many? How important is having children to each of us?
14. How will having a child change the way we live now? Will we want to take time off from work, or work a reduced schedule? For how long? Will we need to rethink who is responsible for housekeeping?
15. If we have children, what kind of relationship do we hope our parents will have with their grandchildren? How much time will they spend together?
Friends and Relatives
16. What place does the other's family play in our family life? How often do we visit or socialize together? If we have out-of-town relatives, will we ask them to visit us for extended periods? How often?
17. Are we satisfied with the quality and quantity of friends we currently have? Would we like to be more involved socially? Are we overwhelmed socially and need to cut back on such commitments?
18. What are my partner's needs for cultivating or maintaining friendships outside our relationship? Is it easy for me to support those needs, or do they bother me in any way?
19. Do we share a religion? Do we belong to a church, synagogue, mosque or temple? More than one? If not, would our relationship benefit from such an affiliation?
20. Does one of us have an individual spiritual practice? Is the practice and the time devoted to it acceptable to the other? Does each partner understand and respect the other's choices?
--From the Editors at Netscape