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He popped the big question, and now you are both talking wedding bells. Wedding planning requires a lot of time and effort, from selecting invitations and centerpieces to finding that perfect dress.

Long after the first kiss and cutting of the cake, when your first dance is nothing but a memory and a photograph to hang on your walls, that’s when the reality kicks in. Are you putting as much of an effort into the marriage that will follow your big day as you did into the celebration itself? Here are 18 important questions you should discuss with your partner prior to tying the knot.

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  1. Do we share any mutual friends? This is a topic that many couples are quick to shrug off, but this has a bigger impact on your lives than you may realize! You don’t want to live entirely separate lives outside of your marital home. Do you have friends whose company you both enjoy?


  1. Where do you both stand in regards to televisions in the home? Believe it or not, this can be a big bone of contention in a relationship. While some people are comfortable having a television in every room, others are dead set that the only place a television belongs is the living room space. How do you both feel in regards to televisions in the bedroom?


  1. Are you both familiar with one another’s health history? This includes not only being aware of health issues your partner may have dealt with first hand, but also any genetic issues that exist within their family that may impact future children. This doesn’t just pertain to physical health, but also to mental and emotional health.


  1. Where do you both stand in regards to religion? Do either of you identify as religious? Do your religious beliefs line up with one another? If you have differing beliefs, are you able to respect and support your spouse and their views? Where do you stand in regards to religion and any potential future children?


  1. Do you share a similar financial system? The biggest cause of conflict in most marriages is the way in which you handle your finances. Take the time to discuss spending versus saving, what your plans are for long term investments and how you decide on larger purchases.


  1. What are your needs and expectations in regards to affection? There are many ways that someone can show love and affection to their spouse, so do you understand which are going to resonate with your partner?

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  1. How much of a priority will your career be in your life? While some people simply work as a means to pay the bills, others consider their careers to be an important part of who they are fundamentally as a person. How much time are you prepared to spend at work? What will your usual weekly schedule look like? Where does your partner fit into everything?


  1. Are you and your partner open to relocating if one of you should need to for your career? This isn’t always something that couples consider prior to marriage, but it can have a LARGE bearing on your future. If either of you consider your career to be a high priority, and you receive an amazing offer, would you both be onboard t make the necessary sacrifices to act on it?


  1. Do we clearly communicate and listen to one another’s needs? Communication is a two-way street. If you aren’t listening to one another this is going to be a constant cause of stress in your relationship.


  1. Are you both happy with one another’s current health related choices? It is important that you recognize any habits that may concern one another such as smoking, lack of exercise or poor diet. Do either of you place a high level of importance on physical fitness? Are either of you a vegan or vegetarian?


  1. Where do you stand in regards to one another’s family and relatives? When you get married you aren’t just marrying your partner, but rather you are joining a whole new family. Do you respect and value those loved ones that your spouse sees as important? Are you able to, at the least, remain civil and friendly during family gatherings?


  1. Does your family do or say things that upset your partner? It is better to get this out in the open before bringing your families together. If there are things that your family says or does that offends or upsets your spouse you need to address it with them now.

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  1. What are your expectations in regards to cleanliness, and duties surrounding housekeeping? You need to decide how you are going to split the house work in your marital home. What jobs do you consider important? What constitutes ‘clean’ in your opinion?


  1. Are you open and comfortable with discussions surrounding sexual needs? Communication is important, especially when it comes to your sexual needs and desires. You should be able to openly communicate with one another to ensure that you are both satisfied and happy with where you are at in your relationship.


  1. Are there any views or beliefs that you refuse to bend on? Are there beliefs that you hold so dear that you will not even consider changing them, even for marriage? You need to be sure that your partner is aware of this and comfortable in accepting these beliefs.


  1. What are your plans in regards to parenting? Should you decide to have children, how are you going to handle the responsibility of childcare? Will one of you be staying home while the other works outside the home, or maybe you will both split the role evenly. It is important you both communicate your expectations of one another.


  1. Do we fully trust one another in all areas of our lives? Relationships are build on a strong foundation of mutual trust. Without this foundation, your marriage will be shaky at best. If you are unable to answer yes to this question this is a big red flag!


  1. Are you both entirely certain that you and your spouse are committed to this marriage for life? If there is any doubt in your mind at this time that either of you are prepared for a life long commitment to one another, you are moving too fast and need to take a step back to re-evaluate this decision. It is a lot easier to take your time now and do this right then to look back with regret later.