The New York Times released an article with fifteen questions that people should ask before they get married according to “relationship experts.” Lets start this off with me telling you that I am very doubtful of the existence of experts in the relationship field because relationships are complex and individual. Having experts suggest that there is a right or wrong way to be in relationship, to me, is a bit of an untruth.
Nonetheless, my fantastic editor Scott from the Ask Scott column, sent me a list of questions for my boyfriend and I to answer that turned out to be enlightening. The back story of my relationship is that we have been together for over a year and are over-the-moon in love. Very happy, but we are also very different people.
The questions range from “Who holds there purse strings?” to “Will there be a T.V. in the bedroom?” to “What do you think about your sex life?” They seem to run the proverbial relationship gamut.
At our anniversary dinner, I pulled out the questions and we ran through them. I cannot understate how different my boyfriend and I are; we even had a family friend ask us why we’re a couple over Thanksgiving. I was nervous our answers may not align as I was hoping. But as we moved through the questions, we kept landing on the same answer.
Unexpectedly, as we would discuss how we arrived to our conclusions, the two journeys were totally different. Same answer, different means of arrival.
Answering these questions one-by-one provided me with solace in two areas:
One, knowing that no matter how different we think we are, we have very similar goals and understandings. Our moral compass points the same way.
Two, understanding how someone arrives at a conclusion is just as important as the conclusion itself. Learning how your partner analyzes situations, what they value, what they disdain, all of it, paints a much clearer picture than taking their conclusion at face value.
There are countless lists of questions you’re “supposed” to ask, exercises that require long uninterrupted staring contests, and everything shy of “trust falls” and “two truths and a lie”. The New York Times article, albeit somewhat dated (it celebrates its 10-year birthday on the 17th of this month), asks questions that are still relevant, actually poignant, and will likely spark much needed deeper conversation with your partner.
The best advice I got from my mom (married to my dad for 43 years) was this, “Marriage isn’t just about making it through a bad day, it’s about making it through bad weeks, bad months, and bad years. The hard times come and go but everyday you have to choose your commitment.”
Marriage is work. If you are considering a lifetime commitment to your partner, do all the legwork you can well in advance, answer the cheesy questions and the tough ones, make it through some holidays together, take a vacation, do the trust falls.