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As we saw in part 1, it’s a Baha’i requirement for both partners and their parents to become acquainted with the character of those wanting to marry.  Here are some more questions for each of the parties to consider and discuss with their parents, based on the most common problems in marriage.

There are a lot of questions to consider and it’s important to take your time and not rush through.  You’re making a decision that will last through all the worlds of God and you want to make sure it’s a wise decision!

Attraction:

What attracted you to your partner in the beginning?

How has this changed?

What qualities does your partner have that you don’t, but would like to acquire?

What qualities do you have that your partner wants to acquire?

What steps can you take to help each other acquire them? 

Childhood Baggage:

What are the three most important events to have shaped your life?

What lessons did you learn from them?

How would your partner answer this question? 

Children: 

How will you decide when to start your family?

How many children do you want?

How many does your partner want?

What kind of labour and delivery do you want?

What expectations do you have of your partner?

What expectations does your partner have of you?

If for some reason you can’t have children, what will you do?

What are your feelings on fertility tests?

What are your partner’s feelings?

What are your feelings on adoption?  From another culture?

What are your partner’s feelings?

Who will raise the children?

Who will discipline the children?

How will the children be disciplined?

How will differences of opinion be handled? 

Consultation and Communication:

When there is a problem with the communication in your relationship, how do you handle it?

How does your partner handle it?

What changes need to be made to ensure that both of you have a chance to speak and be heard?

What areas of your life are open for discussion?

What areas are not open for discussion?

What aspects of yourself are you particularly sensitive about?

How does your partner handle this sensitivity?

What are your partners areas of sensitivity?

How do you handle them?

What would lead you to a state of “irreconcilable antipathy” towards your partner?

What things do you need from your partner, in order to trust?

Cultural and Racial Differences 

What are some of the racial or cultural differences that you will have to face?

How will you find solutions to them?

What aspects of your culture do you want to keep?

What aspects of your culture do you want your partner to let go of?

What aspects of your culture or your partner’s are not acceptable in this country?

What aspects of your culture or your partner’s culture are considered abusive?

What will you do about it?

How will these differences be resolved? 

Equality:

What does “equality” mean in terms of a marriage?

What are the barriers to equality in your relationship?

How will equality change once you are married?

Once you have children?

What do you give to the relationship?

What do you take from it?

What are you willing to give up to ensure equality?

If you had a marriage of equals, what would it look like? 

What are the power struggles in your relationship?

How do they get resolved?

How do you think your partner would answer this question?

Who holds the power in the relationship?

What makes you think so?

How would your partner answer this question?

What abuses of power have you experienced in your lifetime?

How has this affected you?

How would your partner answer this question?

If you had the power to change your partner (and you don’t!), what would you like to see changed?

How do you define “justice” in the relationship?

What actions do you take to ensure that justice is adhered to?

What would you like from your partner, to ensure justice?

What is your definition of “unity”?

What steps do you take to preserve the unity of your relationship?

What steps does your partner take?

Family Ties and In-laws:

How strong are your ties to your family of origin?

How strong are your partners ties?

How much interference are you likely to encounter with inlaws?

How will this affect the marriage?

How will you handle a conflict of needs between your parents or parent’s in law and your new family?

How much time should be spent with parents and inlaws?

How much time do you want to spend with your parents and siblings when you are married?

How much time does your partner want to spend?

What kinds of support will you need to provide to aging parents and parent’s in laws and how will this be provided?

What’s a realistic amount of time and support to provide to parents and parents in laws?

How will you handle differences of opinion in this area?

Fears:

What are your top 5 fears (in general)?

What are your top 5 fears (about the marriage)?

What are your partner’s top 5 fears (in general)?

What are your partner’s top 5 fears (about the marriage)?

Food and Diet:

What kind of food do you like to eat?

How much junk food do you eat?

What are your attitudes towards the food you put into your body?

What are your partner’s attitudes?

How do you take care of your physical health?

How does your partner? 

Fortress for Well-Being:

Marriage is defined as a fortress for well-being and salvation.  What does this mean to you?

What concrete actions are you willing to take, to ensure that your marriage becomes a fortress for well-being and salvation?

Friends:

Who are your partner’s 5 best friends?

How do they spend time when they get together?

How do you feel about this?

Holidays and Vacations:

How do you like to celebrate holidays (Christmas, Birthdays etc)?

Which holidays are the most important to you?

Which are most important to your partner?

Which aspects of holidays do you want to avoid?

How do you want to spend vacations?

How does your partner want to spend vacations?

Housework and Chores 

How do you think family tasks should be divided?

How will you and your partner decide on the division of labor?

Which tasks are you willing to do?

Which tasks are you NOT willing to do?

How will the tasks that neither of you want to do get done? 

Irritations: 

What are some things that irritate you about your partner?

Which of your partner’s behaviors do you expect to change after your marriage?

Which behaviors does your partner wish you could change?

How will each of you make the changes? 

Love

Dr. Gary Chapman has written a book called “The Five Languages of Love”.  In it, he identifies 5 ways in which people demonstrate their love for each other:

Which of the following ways do you express love?  Want to receive love?

Which of the following ways does your partner express love? Want to receive love?

  • Words of Affirmation:  If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.
  • Quality Time:  In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.
  • Receiving Gifts: Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.
  • Acts of Service:  Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.
  • Physical Touch:  A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.

How will you handle the differences?

How will you meet your partner’s needs?

How will you respond when your needs aren’t met?

Money

How do you plan to handle money in your relationship?

Who will make the decisions about how it is earned?

How it is spent?

Who will be responsible for the bills?

What debts do you bring into the marriage?

What debts does your partner bring?

How will these debts be paid back?

What is your opinion on the use of credit cards?

What are your spouse’s views on the use of credit cards?

How much debt are you comfortable carrying?

How much debt is your partner comfortable carrying?

How important is having savings for emergency expenses?  Vacations?  Children’s Education?  Children’s weddings?  Retirement?

What are your partner’s views on savings?

How much money will be set aside for savings?

What are your top 5 financial priorities?

What are your partner’s top 5 financial priorities?

How will these priorities change once you have children?

What material possessions do you think are necessary to keep harmony in your marriage?

How will extra money be spent?

How will major purchases be decided and paid for?

How will differences of opinions about money be settled?

How do you approach giving to the fund?

What is your partners approach?

Is your Huquq up to date?

What plans do you have for regularly contributing the Right of God?

If there are differences in perspective on these two issues, how will they be reconciled?

 Needs and Wants:

What are your top 5 priorities in life?

What are your partner’s top 5 priorities?

What steps are you willing to take to meet these?

What steps are you willing to take so you partner can meet theirs?

What needs and wants do you have from a relationship?

Are they being met?

How?

What are your partner’s needs and wants?

What are you doing to help your partner get their needs met?

What habits and quirks does your partner have, which you find irritating?

What is in this relationship for your partner?

What is in it for you? 

What opportunities do you want from the marriage, in terms of your own growth and development?

What opportunities will your partner want?

How will you help your partner accomplish their goals?

How do you want your partner to help with your goals?

What does “transformation” mean to you?

What are the areas you are working on, in your own transformation?

What areas is your partner working on?

How do you help each other with this process?

 Religion

What religion are you?

What religion is your partner?

What role does religion play in your life?  Your partners?

What is your relationship to God?

What does it mean to you, to be a Bahá’í?

What do these things mean to your partner?

What do you do to be of service?

How does your partner serve?

If you’re a Baha’i, how important are the following activities to you and to your partner?

  • Obedience to Baha’i laws in general
  • Daily prayer and reading the Writings
  • Teaching the Faith
  • Making Home Visits
  • Tutoring and attending Study Circles
  • Hosting and attending devotional gatherings
  • Hosting children’s classes
  • Hosting junior youth classes
  • Active participation in Baha’i community life
  • Attending feasts and Holy Day celebrations
  • Participating on an Assembly
  • Travel Teaching
  • Pioneering
  • Sacrificial giving to the Fund
  • Paying the Right of God

Which of these things do you want to share together?

What role do I want religion to play in my partner’s life?

How important is it that you share this aspect of your life together?

Ring: 

What kind of a ring do you want?

What kind of ring does your partner want to give you?

How much money should be spent on a ring?

How much can you afford?

Will you both have rings?

How will they be paid for?

How will differences of opinion be settled? 

Role Models:

What did you learn about marriage from your parents?

How has this influenced you?

What will you to the same?

What will you do differently?

In what ways is your partner similar to your mother?  To your father?

How do you feel about the similarities?

How is your partner different from your mother?  Your father?

How do you feel about these differences?

How does your partner treat his father and mother?

How do you feel about the way they are treated?

Sex 

How many sexual relationships has your partner had?

How many were unprotected?

Does your partner have any children?

What responsibilities does your partner have toward their children?

Does your partner have any sexually transmitted diseases?

What discussions have you had about the sexual aspect of your marriage?

Who will assume responsibility for birth control?

What form of birth control will you use?

What are your sexual preferences?

What are the sexual preferences of your partner?

How often do you like to have sex?

How often does your partner want it?

What limits have you set for a sexual relationship?

How has your partner responded to your limits?

How will these limits change once you are married?

What are you willing to do, sexually?

What are you unwilling to do? 

Spending Time Together:

When there are no plans, what do you like to do?

When there are no plans, what does your partner like to do?

When there are no plans, what would you like to together?

What is your ideal “date”?

What is your partner’s ideal date?

Wedding: 

What kind of a wedding do you want?

What kind of wedding does your partner want?

Where do you want to have it?

Where does your partner want to have it?

How much money are you willing to spend on it?

How much money does your partner want to spend on it?

Where do you want to go for a honeymoon?

Where does your partner want to go?

How will differences of opinion be settled?

 See Part 1:  Consent to Marriage  

 How has this been helpful?

What other questions can you think of?

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