I'm sure that your engagement period, just like mine, is an amazingly romantic and exciting time. But, please don't forget that it also one of the most crucial times in your relationship. By this I mean that, for some couples, this is the chance to find out some previously hidden secrets and new aspects of their personality. It's only human nature that when you first start dating you tend to be on your best behaviour to try to impress the other person. But once you have agreed to live together and pledge to spend your future together, surprises are bound to start coming out. So, in between all the wedding ceremony planning, I hope you can find time to go through this questionnaire with your partner. These 100 questions broadly cover the common areas of conflict but bear in mind that this is hardly an exhaustive list. This article will be divided into 10 sections each with 10 questions. This is Part 1.
Questions About Your Partner
1. Do you think you have achieved your ambitions?
If you are with someone who thinks they have achieved their ambitions, then you might be with someone who is accomplished, rich, popular or driven. They have gotten out of the rat-race and are freely able to enjoy their time and money. On the other hand, this might also mean that since they have already achieved their ambitions, they will find it difficult to discover a new way of being motivated. This sense of having no direction might lead to depression or laziness.
If your significant other feels that they have not achieved their ambitions, then it helps to find out why. It could be that their ambition is really so great and takes so much time that they just haven’t achieved it yet. But, now would be a good time for you to figure out how to help, how to motivate them and how to support them in their goals.
2. Do you enjoy the work you are in?
This might give you an insight into whether your partner will be going to work with a smile on their face or whether you should be expecting them to come home and unload their work problems on you. It is equally important to understand why or why they do not enjoy their work. Is it because they were forced into that career? Is it external factors like the commute to work? Is it because they are an employee and have problems with authority figures? This aspect of their personality will inadvertently spill into your home life together. We spend one third of our lives at work. And, even though we have left our workplace, sometimes we still carry the problems or projects home with us. You need to know what kind of person you will be facing when they come home everyday.
3. What makes you smile in tough times?
This is obvious one. All marriages no matter how perfect they are in the beginning will run into some kind of trouble or disagreement or problem. Part of the challenge of being married is learning how to get over the hurdle together. And part of your job as their future partner is to keep from being depressed during these times. A kind word, a little dance, a favourite food or game are all things which might help. It is important to have an arsenal of things which you can use to keep your partner afloat.
4. What do you tend to do when you are angry?
Personally, I tend to keep quiet. I know that when I am angry I tend to say mean things which will only make the situation worse. I try my best to keep my mouth shut until I am calm and can formulate proper sentences. But, if my partner does not know this about me, and suddenly during an argument I keep quiet, then they might take that to mean I am in agreement with them. This is bound to lead to more arguments in the future. This question is best tackled when you are both on great terms and before any disagreements arise.
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5. What is your greatest strength and weakness?
This is a question often used in job interviews. So, why not use it now as well? After all, he/she is applying to be your partner for life, a job that comes with complicated, ever-changing and numerous expectations. Knowing what they believe are their strengths and weakness will not only help you to divide responsibilities as a couple, it will enable you to get the most out of each other. The other person will know when to step back and let the other one lead because that is their strength. One partner will know when to pick up the slack when the other partner is in a situation they feel is their weakness. That’s what being a team is all about.
6. What makes you most afraid?
This might be something as simple as spiders. It might be as complicated as finding the courage to talk to your overbearing relatives. Whatever it is, knowing when your partner is afraid is knowing when they are most vulnerable and in need of your support.
7. What is your idea of perfect relaxation?
Big problems are obvious. But everyday annoyances are commonly overlooked as stressors. Screaming kids running around the house when you are trying to write your Infobarrel article and forgetting to leave the toilet seat down are examples of this. In fact, everyday annoyances that add up can contribute to heart disease, high blood pressure and high cortisol levels in the body. This can lead to lack of sleep and a constant state of agitation. Let your partner know when you need time alone. Let your partner know what relaxes you so that they can provide a haven for you to release that stress. One of the best things about being married is having someone on your corner to fight with you during tough times. The other great thing is, that once you have past those hurdles, you have periods in your life together where everything is bliss. Everything is happy. Enjoy those moments together.
8. Do you think you fight fair? Why?
There is nothing more irritating that hearing the phrase “You always….” or “Why do you never….”. This type of generalisation of your partner’s personality is unfair. I am, however, guilty of using this phrase. I try to remind myself in the heat of the argument that in fact, it’s not an “always” or “never” situation. It’s merely a “sometimes” or “this time” situation. When I focus on the current problem, not only does my anger level reduce but the solution seems much more simple. You might have a different definition of fighting fair. Your partner might have their own definition of fighting fair. Understanding the differences in these definitions is the key to open communication.
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9. Do you believe that marriages are stronger if a woman defers to her husband in most areas?
This is again an obvious source of conflict if not anticipated early. When there is a boss and there is a follower, then things might be smooth-sailing as roles are easily divided. But that boss or that follower might not want to be in that role. Maybe the boss feels undue responsibility on their shoulders. Maybe the follower wants to be the boss. In many cultures, the woman is still expected to submit to her husband. She might need her husband’s consent to apply for a job, to have an operation done, to go out with her friends or even leave the house. But in this era of feminism, many women want to be seen as equals. It would prevent a lot of miscommunications in the future if this was discussed beforehand.
10. How important is it to you to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays, etc?
I’m sure you have seen many jokes, articles or memes on the internet about how husbands forget their anniversaries and suffer the wrath of their wives. But wives can be guilty of forgetting too. Ask your partner if it’s important that they receive a gift every year. Is it the everyday smiles and little thank-you notes at home which they prefer or do they crave the lavish attention and gratitude that comes with celebrating yearly anniversaries? This is not to say of course that you have to choose one or the other! You can always acknowledge yearly anniversaries and still have daily mini celebrations at home.
Questions 11-20 will be in part 2 of the article. Remember, keep an open mind. Happy interrogating!