Communication Exercises for Those Planning to Marry

Congratulations. I hear you’re engaged to be married, and you have come to me, a marriage therapist, and have asked what the two of you should do to prepare for marriage. So here’s my advise: Sit down with each other and address the following questions. Make sure both of you have an opportunity to address each question thoroughly.

  • What do you hope I will contribute to our marriage? (Income, my role in the home, child rearing, etc.)
  • What do you hope you will contribute to our marriage?
  • What personal goals do you have in your profession? Are you thinking of a career shift?
  • How important is work to you? Where does work (long hours, the amount of time we can spend together, etc.) fit into our relationship? How much time and energy will be left for our marriage after work?
  • What issues that we disagree on are most important to you?
  • How do you feel about abortion, the death penalty, euthanasia, feminism, homosexuality, racism, violence, gun control, sexual harassment?
  • What is your idea of a good marriage?
  • What do you hope to receive from marriage?
  • What do I do that hurts you?
  • What should I do, or say, that will calm you down and make you feel loved when you feel I have wronged you?
  • What is the best way to calm you down when you are angry?
  • When do you feel unappreciated by me?
  • When do you feel lonely around me?
  • What habits or mannerisms do I have that bother you?
  • How can I encourage/support you?
  • What do I do—or what could I do—that would make you feel good about yourself?
  • What do I do that hurts you?
  • Do I need to offer an apology or make amends for anything I have said or done to you?
  • What do you think are the woman’s and man’s role in a marriage?
  • Do you have any insecurities you would like to share with me?
  • Are you depressed? To what degree?
  • What do you hope I can contribute to make our sex satisfying? Are there any requests you have of me sexually?
  • What are your sexual fantasies and desires? Could you describe what a “10” sexual experience would consist of for you?
  • What is your idea of romance? How much romance should we have day in and day out, year in and year out, once we’re married?
  • What is your concept of God?
  • How big a role does religion play in your life?
  • How did you handle confrontations in your past relationships? What did those experiences teach you about solving disagreements?

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