A future marriage begins with the proposal of a serious four-word question: “Will you marry me?”
A positive response then launches thousands of questions to navigate together — from venues and colors to cake flavors and what items make the gift registry. But if couples put off planning for the marriage until after the honeymoon, they miss valuable time getting to know the one they’ve chosen to partner with for the rest of their lives.
Jared and I dated for four years, so by most standards we already knew each other pretty well. Yet as our wedding date drew closer, hypothetical questions gained real-life context. The deeper level of commitment we had made through our engagement helped cultivate a safe space not just for wedding planning but also for marriage planning and dreaming of how we wanted to build our life together.
Below are some conversation starters we found helpful as we began planning for our future marriage. As you approach these topics, I encourage you not to limit yourselves to the “what” questions. Leave space to explore the “why” and “what do you mean by…” behind each of your perspectives. This discovery process often unearths experiences and heart needs that may otherwise go unspoken. Searching your hearts and sharing answers to the deeper questions provide rich opportunities to better understand yourselves and each other.
Beyond wedding deadlines and decisions, create regular habits of checking in on how both of you are handling the wedding preparations and how you feel about your future marriage.
- What are you nervous about?
- What are you most excited about?
- What areas of life and teamwork are we excelling at as a couple? Where do you see room to grow?
- How can we consider each other throughout our wedding planning and on our big day?
As believers, personal faith is the first priority in our lives. And as a spouse, the relationship you have with God directly affects your marriage and your family dynamics.
- How would you describe the role God plays in your life right now?
- What role do you want God to play in our life and relationship moving forward?
- What aspects of faith are difficult for you?
- What do you want our children to know about God? How will they learn that about Him by watching the way we live?
Ready to Wed
The engagement season is often full of optimism and dreams for your future. It’s also a significant time to start (or continue) conversations about what you’d like your new combined future to look like, especially regarding hopes or assumptions for how things will change once you’re wed. Do you expect that he won’t play video games with his friends as often or that she is prepared to stop online shopping to save for the new house? Talk about it.
- What do you see in the way I live right now that you think may need to change in our future?
- What are your goals and how are you currently working toward them? (Use this question to talk about finances, education and career aspirations.)
- What are your perspectives on saving and stewarding finances?
- How do you envision our daily home life, including household responsibilities and parenting roles?
Dating life offers a variety of fun experiences. Most date nights don’t center around a trip to the grocery store or cleaning the bathrooms. As you begin planning for your future marriage together, it’s helpful to identify what life pleasures are priorities to each of you so you can plan accordingly.
- What creature comforts are important to you?
- Would you rather spend money on food, clothes, décor or activities?
- What lifestyle choices are most important to you (travel, ideal home, car, generosity)?
- How do you define career success? For example, is a fulfilling job more important than financial success? Would you rather have more free time and less money — or more money and less free time?
Marriage turns you and your spouse into an immediate family. Use this season to plan for how your new priority family unit will change your family relationships and how your family may grow in the future.
- What role do you see our extended families playing in our daily lives?
- What’s hard or concerning for you about the family dynamics you’re marrying into?
- What family traits, cycles, or traditions would you like to continue in our family? Are there any you hope to begin instead?
- What dreams do you have for growing our family (including children, pets, timelines and family roles)?
You’ve already talked about many dreams through the questions above. What other dreams remain?
Reflect on any promises you’ve made to yourself about what your future would or wouldn’t be like. I’d promised myself that I wouldn’t have kids until I reached a specific dollar amount in my bank account. Sharing that inner vow with my husband was helpful in addressing fears I had about our financial future and determining if I wanted to maintain that stipulation before our family could grow.
- What other dreams or goals haven’t you talked about yet?
- Do you find it hard to dream about your future? Why do you think that is?
- As you consider difficulties from your past, are there any dreams or promises you’ve made to yourself about avoiding these circumstances in the future?
- Sometimes internal promises we make as children or young adults can limit our dreams later in life. Do you have any inner vows holding you back as we approach this new season of life together?
One of the most beautiful things about planning for your future marriage is that you’re not walking into it alone. Not only are you there with your beloved, you likely have other people in your lives who can provide encouragement and counsel along the way. Better still, God offers himself to be the third strand, weaving His presence into your marriage relationship (Ecclesiastes 4:12). What questions have you discussed that you can now bring to Him in prayer? He’s ready as an active participant in this conversation and in all the ones to come.