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What You Really Need to Know About
Your Partner Before You Commit

Experts predict that at least four out of five women in today's generation will eventually get married. And, according to the National Marriage Project, more than 90 percent of women from every generation in the records have ended up walking down the aisle. Meanwhile, Americans spend over $50 billion a year on weddings alone.

Thinking of taking your relationship to the next level? Don't walk down the aisle until you've found out everything on the list below.

Marriage is, indeed, still a mainstay of American culture, and something that most couples think about sooner or later. But before you take the leap toward a lifetime commitment, there are things that every man and woman should be sure they know about their significant other.

Jumping in too quickly, after all, is a good way to set yourself up for some potentially unpleasant surprises later on -- surprises that could cause your relationship to end up in divorce (as 50 percent of all marriages in which the brides are 25 or older do, according to the National Center for Health Statistics).

So if you see a commitment coming in your near future, take a minute to ask yourself how well you really know your partner first. Knowing the following information now is critical to building an open and happy relationship in the years to come.

Beliefs and Values

  • Do you and your partner share a religion? If not, do you accept and support each other's spiritual beliefs?

  • Do you value similar things? (For instance, will you eat meals together? How often will you have friends over?)

  • Does your partner engage in activities you don't like (such as smoking) or vice versa?

  • Are you and your partner on the same page when it comes to sex? (How often? Can you talk openly about it? Are you both satisfied?)

  • How will you handle disagreements?

Personal Lives

  • Do you know your partner's medical history (sexually transmitted diseases, chronic illness, special needs, etc.)?

  • Does your partner have a criminal record? If so, for what?

  • What was your partner's childhood like?

  • Do you and your partner have similar expectations about how you'll spend your free time? With friends? Together? What about "alone time"?

  • Are you aware of your partner's hobbies and passions? Do you understand and support them? Is he or she supportive of yours?

  • Will you and your partner discuss past relationships? If so, are you comfortable with the information it revealed?

Are you comfortable with your partner's parents? Getting along with your in-laws is an important part of the marital equation.

Finances and Career

  • What is your partner's financial situation, including outstanding debt, credit score, etc.? (You will eventually be joining funds to buy a house and make other financial decisions, so this is important.)

  • Are you comfortable with your partner's level of ambition when it comes to work (is he/she overly ambitious, or not ambitious enough)?

  • How many hours do you think should be devoted to work each week? How much time will you spend together?

  • How will we spend our total income? What portion will be saved? Do we agree on what to spend on (vacations, clothing, etc.)?

  • Who is responsible for your finances (investing, balancing the checkbook, paying bills, doing taxes), or will the responsibilities be shared?

  • Will you both work? Is one of you responsible for more of a share of the income? What about in 10 years?

Home and Family Life

  • Will you have children together? If so, how many?

  • Will one of you stay home and take care of the kids?

  • If there are step-children involved, how will they fit in with your home life?

  • How will you divvy up domestic tasks? (Who will do the cooking? The food shopping? The laundry?)

  • Will you buy a house? When?

  • Do you both envision living in the same location? Near your families? Relocating?

  • Are you comfortable with your partner's family? Is he or she comfortable with yours?

  • How will your in-laws fit in with your daily life? With your children?

  • Do you and your partner have similar expectations when it comes to cleanliness?

  • Will you have pets? What kind?

Recommended Reading

Married Men Really are Healthier & Respond Better to Certain Treatments

The Top 5 Things Couples Argue About


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