One of the most frequent reasons given for divorce today is financial struggles and disagreements. To the extent that a couple is making different financial assumptions, it is likely that they will go through their marriage with some severe strains in this area. Here are some pre-marriage questions to help you start again.
The financial pressures of remarriage are frequently greater than a first marriage. This is because of alimony, child support, and a wide variety of second marriage complications. Caution: These questions need to be addressed somewhat delicately but, at the same time, openly and honestly.
Make doubly sure your assumptions are compatible in this area today, and you will be half as likely to divorce tomorrow!
Ask each other the following questions:
1. If we inherited a million dollars, what would you want to do with it? What percent of our income should we give to the church we attend? Why?
2. What percent of our income should we give to charitable organizations?
3. How much income would you like us to make (together) this next year?
4. How long do you expect both of us to continue working outside the home?
5. Where would you like to live in five years?
6. What do you think about credit cards? How many credit cards do you have now? What are the debts on each? Which cards should we continue to have (if any)?
7. Will our income support the standard of living to which we are accustomed? If not, what adjustments are we willing to make after the wedding?
8. What should we do with my car? Your car? What kind of car would you like to drive in five years? Ten years?
9. About how much should we spend on clothing a year? How much do we currently spend a month?
10. Should we change our checking account arrangements (joint versus separate accounts)?
11. Who should write the checks for our monthly bills? Who should balance the bank statement each month? Why?
12. If we need a larger (or smaller) house, when should we begin planning for it? How can we afford it?
13. Do you think our children should be given a car at age sixteen? Why or why not? If so, how expensive a car, and for what reason?
14. Do you think children should be given an allowance? If so, how much at ages five, ten, fifteen, twenty-one? If not, why not?
15. How much should we spend a year on luxury items such as jewelry, furs, athletic equipment, trips, etc.?
More Questions to Ask:
16. What percentage should we tip a server who does an outstanding job? A poor job? An average job?
17. How much should you have to pay to have your hair cut? Styled? What is a suitable tip for these services?
18. How much life insurance should we have? Health insurance? What company? Which agent?
19. How do you feel about borrowing money from our parents, friends, or relatives?
20. How do you feel about loaning money to our parents, friends, or relatives? What if they couldn’t pay it back?
21. What percent of our income would we be saving?
22. How would you have the most amount of fun if we only had five dollars to spend some evening?
23. How much should we spend on special occasions like:
• Birthdays: each other’s, parents, children, friends, others
• Anniversaries: our own, parents, friends, relatives, others
• Other special days: Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day
• Christmas: each other’s gift, parents, children, other relatives, coworkers, friends, Christmas tree, decorations
24. Who should do the gift buying for birthdays? Anniversaries? Christmas? Other special days?
25. How do you feel about declaring bankruptcy? Is it ever OK?
26. What should be the dollar limit on purchases made without the other person’s knowledge? Why?
27. What are your feelings about a monthly budget?
Additional Discussion Points and Questions:
28. Prioritize the following household items as to their importance to you.
____ Athletic equipment ____ Compact disc player ____ Color TV
____ Dining Room furniture ____ Food dehydrator ____ Dishwasher
____ Food processor ____ Hobby items ____ Freezer
____ Bedroom furniture ____ Living room furniture ____ Piano
____ Washer/Dryer ____ Microwave ____ Video camera
____ VCR or DVD player ____ Stereo system ____ Other: ________
29. What are your total financial obligations right now? Which debts should we try to reduce or eliminate first?
30. What are your financial obligations relating to alimony and child support?
31. What are your feelings about a will? How will each of our families be cared for in our new will?
32. What should the children inherit when we die? If there are children from separate families, how should our assets be distributed?
33. What investments do you have today? How do you see these investments after we are married? Who will manage them? Are they now a part of our will? Do you want to invest more money? How? When? [Key discussion at this point in the relationship].
34. How would you feel about paying bills that my former spouse created, and I am now obligated to pay?
Finally, Ask Each Other:
35. What was the financial settlement from your divorce? May I see your divorce papers?
36. How would you feel about facing financial pressures that may develop in the future relating to my previous marriage? (e.g., How would you feel about appearing in court several more times, costing $5,000 each time?)
37. What are your feelings about a prenuptial agreement? Do we need one to protect ourselves and our assets? [A prenuptial agreement is a written legal statement made prior to marriage, stating your intentions regarding each of your assets, debts, etc.]
38. Where should the child support money go? Into a general fund, a separate checking account specifically for the child, etc.?
39. Are you willing to pay for counseling for my children? Children who don’t live with us?
These thoughts are a portion of the questions that come from a small booklet titled, “Pre-Remarriage Questions: Helping You Start Again” by Bobb and Cheryl Biehl. It may still be available through Amazon.com as a used book, as it is no longer being published. As the authors say, “The questions in this book are designed to help you in the process of seeing your fiance so clearly that you make a wise decision in the choice of your lifemate.” We so agree that this is important to do before marriage. You can’t ask too many questions. You need to know all you’re possibly getting yourself into by marrying this person.
– ALSO –
Please click onto the Crosswalk.com link provided to find more questions on this topic:
• MONEY QUESTIONS FOR DATING COUPLES
If you have any additional tips you can share to help others, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.
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Filed under: Remarriage
13 responses to “PRE-MARRIAGE QUESTIONS: Helping You Start Again”
(USA) I would like to see some information on Christain dating on this site for those like me that are not married yet
(UNITED STATES) HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO GET A PRE-NUP FROM SOME BODY IN THE STATE OF SC AND N.C.?
(USA) IS THERE SOMEONE CAN HELP ME WITH THOSE ANSWERS?
(USA) I love your site: It has helped me with many questions. I do have a very important question. How do I go about getting an answer?
I’m going to be getting married soon. Both my future husband and I are widows and have grown children. His 40 year old daughter lives with him and his past wife’s mother. My future husband wants me to move into his house and do with mine as I wish. What are your thoughts on this?
Think about this. A marriage is between a man and a woman, not included is his 40 year old daughter and mother in law. That is not a marriage. What kind of marriage do you want and does he want?
(USA) Hi Tracie, You’re right; you DO have an important question — one that cannot be taken lightly. Even though you and your husband are both widows, you still will have the influence of your deceased spouses, and grown children, and making sure each of you is ready to go into a new marriage again.
Some people aren’t ready to quit “cleaving” to the spouse who left them through death. You need to make sure that you have each properly dealt with their deaths and you are ready and committed to cleave to each other.
I’m particularly concerned because of his daughter and wife’s mother who will be living with you. I think it’s noble and shows great character that he is having them live with him, but there can also be problems. You want to make sure that you aren’t entering into a marriage where his former wife and the family he had with her trumps over the place of priority you should have in his heart and the way he treats you in what will be your marital home together.
It’s important to work through your decisions together now BEFORE you marry, as to how you will make your marriage work so you are a marital team who approaches life together rather than living out a parallel existence in the same home. I’ve sadly seen that happen over and over again. Make sure you are both healthy and respectful in the way you handle conflict resolution and differences that will come up between you (and that you stay that way).
Tracie, I have to say that I’m a bit concerned with the 40 year old daughter and the past wife’s mother living with you. It might work out fine, but you really need to think through how all of this will play out when a new woman comes into what has been their home and family unit before you came into the picture. Boundaries and family rules will need to be put in place ahead of time or I’m certain you will live to regret it.
I HIGHLY recommend that you both go to a counselor together to work through these issues NOW. It MIGHT work out ok if you move into their home, although I’m a bit skeptical. They usually say it’s best to find a home that becomes BOTH of yours — not a home that was once his or yours and you or he moves into it. A lot of times territorial issues come up.
The fact that he has his daughter and former mother-in-law living with him reflects that he probably has a wonderful heart — which is most likely one of the reasons you fell in love with him. And I can understand that. But even so, don’t assume that this will carry over into your marriage relationship. The Bible is pretty clear about “counting costs” and wisely planning that which you should beforehand. Even without them living in your home, you will have A LOT of adjustments to make.
Remember the many adjustments you had to make over the years with your first husband? Well, you and your new husband will now each be “breaking in” a new spouse. That will involve a huge learning curve and a lot of grace and needed wisdom in the upcoming years, even without the extra relationship matters that will come into play with your grown children and his and all the rest.
If you don’t know of a good counselor, please go into the “Remarriage” links part of the web site or the Marriage Counseling section to see the links we have posted there. You want to make sure you get a counselor who is pro-marriage, will ask the right questions and will help you to work through boundary and relationship issues. Not just any counselor will do. Please be diligent in this. Shop for the right one.
Sometimes we can go into marriage so starry-eyed that we forget to be wise in dotting our “i’s” and crossing our “t’s” as we should have and miss the red warning flags we should have heeded. This very well could be a GREAT marriage you will be entering into… but be wise in preparing properly first. Please know my prayers are with you. God bless!
(PAKISTAN) I request to be updated, regarding the work of your organization.
(IRAN) This was so useful and points to the most important things. Thanks a lot.
(ENGLAND) I got married in abroad 6 years ago, but it didn’t work out with me and my ex husband. We got divorced, but I’ve got a new boyfriend. Am I allowed to get married again abroad?
Jennifer, I’m confused. Are you a born-again Christian or just spiritually curious? Are you asking if you can get married legally or are you wondering if God would allow you to remarry? And what do you mean when you say “it didn’t work out with me and my ex husband?” What constitutes a marriage not working out?
(USA) My husband found this online, and passed them on to me to read. We have two 24 year old daughters with serious boyfriends. One has gone through a church provided pre-marital class with her boyfriend, and the other is contemplating this with her boyfriend. The class does cover the financial subject, but these are wonderful, insightful and in-depth questions that my husband and I both feel they would benefit from. Thank you for the great work… we’re passing these along to them for their future!
I’m just trying to find some answers to questions. This is very puzzling to me. Firstly I’m on my second marriage. In my first marriage I was not saved, young and had no clue as to what I was really doing. I know I wanted to do the right thing after I got a girl pregnant, and thought, well, now I need to marry her. So I did; we were married for 16 years.
I would have stayed in the relationship but she didn’t want it and filed for divorce. There was no physical abuse on my part, no infidelity. She just got tired of the relationship. We had three children. I chased her for a year trying to get her to reconsider, to no avail.
I wanted to be married I didn’t want to live in sin. So I remarried. I prayed and asked God to give me a wife. I met a beautiful lady who I thought had the same aspirations. We’ve been together for 9 years now. For those 9 years I thought the marriage was good. We had the usual ups and downs but always seemed to get through them. We are now in our marriage at a point where once again she is questioning her decision to accept my proposal. Admittedly there were some short comings on my part, some complacency, however no infidelity, or abuse of any kind.
I’m at a point where I’m even questioning whether I’m in God’s will, or if that really was God who put her in my life. Am I to pray for restoration I’m my marriage, or if it wasn’t God should I stop fighting? I’m very confused right now. I know as Christians we should pray to ask God for help, but I’m not sure if praying for my marriage is in God’s will for my life. If I don’t pray for my marriage am I not doing what I’m supposed to do? If I pray that my marriage is healed is that really God’s will for my life? I don’t know???
I’m at this point just praying God, let your will be done …whatever it is. I guess my question is, is this correct thinking??
God wants to be involved in all our plans. He is interested in every decision we make little or big. Basically, I will say that you are feeling this way because you didn’t seek God’s face first. But it’s never too late since you are still alive. The standard of God only gives room for remarriage when one of the parties is dead. Even on grounds of infidelity there is always room for forgiveness. Well, go back to God; seek His face firstly for forgiveness and then direction. Ask Him to reveal His will to you and He will surely speak. Note: It is needful for you to acknowledge your wrongs before Him. God help you.