The 1 Question to Ask Before You Say “I Do”

The 1 Question to Ask Before You Say “I Do”

So many couples end up in therapy looking for a way to save their relationship. If only they had asked themselves this one question before they got hitched, they might have known if they were compatible for life or doomed for the psychiatrist’s couch. What is this insightful question?

Are you the person I’d be happy to be stuck with during a pandemic?

During the months and months of quarantine due to the pandemic, millions of couples are finding out whether or not they picked the right partner. With stay-at-home orders and business closures, you can’t escape each other by playing golf for 5 hours, going shopping, or hitting the local bar. Some couples are feeling blessed that they have a spouse who is loving, caring, and kind and whose company they enjoy. Others are discovering that spending more time together is shining a harsh light on major problems and fueling marital conflict.

Before getting married or getting engaged, you and your significant other should think about how well you would do being stuck together nearly 24/7 for months on end in a high-stress, high-anxiety situation. If you both think you’d like the other one by your side under these dire circumstances, then you can feel more confident that your union is built to last.

Create a Marriage One Page Miracle

A good way to gauge if you and your partner are marriage material and if you could survive—and thrive—in challenging situations is to write out your relationship goals. This exercise is called the Marriage One Page Miracle, and it has proven to be very insightful in pre-marriage counseling and in marital therapy. Here’s why.

The simple act of sitting down together to talk about your future is an opportunity to connect on a deeper level and make sure you both want to head in the same direction. It also lets you identify possible challenges so you can address them rationally before it’s too late and they become a problem. It also cements the idea that you are a team and that your decisions should always benefit the team, not just one individual. Goal setting together also helps you encourage each other along the way and provides accountability.

Here’s how to create your Marriage One Page Miracle. Before you sit down together, take the time to think about your individual goals for the following areas of your future life together: marriage, kids and parenting, finances, health, and spirituality.

  • Marriage: What do you want? Write some of the words that express the kind of relationship you want. (Examples: kindness, caring, love, passion, spontaneity, stability, excitement, dependability, considerate.) How much time do you expect to spend together? Individually with friends? How much involvement with your family/partner’s family?
  • Kids & Parenting: Do you want children (and how many)? What do you want for your (future) kids? How do you envision parenting your children? How will you share responsibilities? What about childcare? How do you envision rule-setting and discipline? What about scheduling?)
  • Finances: Do you expect both partners to work? What are your financial goals? Sacrifice time together to make as much money as possible? Live more modestly but have more family time together? What are your goals for homeownership?
  • Health: How committed are you to keeping your body, brain, and mind healthy?
  • Spirituality: How important is it to have a purposeful and meaningful life?

Once you’ve thought about your individual goals, make an appointment with your significant other to see where you mesh and where you have differences. If your goals are wildly different, take it as a red flag that you don’t want the same things out of life and that you may want to rethink a future together. But don’t expect to see eye-to-eye on everything either. Having some differences doesn’t mean your relationship can’t last.

Use this time to come up with a shared plan on how you will address any differences. If you’re able to communicate effectively and come up with solutions together, it’s a good sign that you’ll be able to deal with challenges that arise in the future. And remember, your marital plan isn’t set in stone. Re-visit it every year and update your goals.

Marital conflict, anxiety, depression, ADD/ADHD, addictions, and other mental health issues can’t wait. During these uncertain times, your mental well-being is more important than ever and waiting until life gets back to “normal” is likely to make your symptoms worsen over time.

At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, remote clinical evaluations, and video therapy for adults, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834. If all our specialists are busy helping others, you can also schedule a time to talk.

1 Comment

  1. I believe this is a “must-do” for anyone seriously contemplating marriage (with its long term benefits and possible pitfalls). Compatibility and commitment are musts, along with love and caring. It is so heartbreaking to witness breakups, especially in one’s own family.

    Comment by Willie Smith — August 8, 2020 @ 4:48 AM

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