Why we should all be concerned about declining marriage rates
“Did you know that nearly 50 percent of U.S. adults are single?” In recognition of Singles and Unmarried people week, the US Census Bureau released data showing marriage trends in…
As a recently engaged millennial, I often catch myself staring at my hand.
Yes, it’s partly because I have a beautiful new piece of jewelry adorning one of my “piano fingers”—as my mother likes to call them.
But, the significance of my engagement ring is more precious than the gem it holds. It’s a symbol of what is to come through marriage: a once-in-a-lifetime commitment, a priceless and sacred covenant.
It’s also a symbol of the journey my fiancé and I took to get to this point in our lives. The time we invested to discover who the other person is and what it would mean to do life together. The questions we asked that weren’t always easy or comfortable, but important nonetheless for a couple looking to get married.
Last week, an article by John Elliott took a stab at what some of these questions should be, calling them the “7 Awkward Questions Millennial Women Should Ask a Potential Husband.”
While I agree awkward conversations are inevitable, I believe the author should have targeted both millennial men and women. I did ask my fiancé most if not all of these questions, but my answers to these questions were just as important.
I also want to note a lot of this information was offered up by both of us without any prodding. When you spend time getting to know someone, these topics should come up naturally.
Here are some of my thoughts on a couple of the questions. You can read all seven here.
“How much debt do you have?”
My fiancé and I met in college. I was pursuing a four-year degree and he was pursuing a two-year degree. We took different education paths that led us both to land secure jobs. But my degree cost a lot more.
I will be bringing student loans into the marriage, he will not.
He does have other financial commitments, and while they are not as hefty as my college debt, I was made aware of them, and it allowed us to have a healthy heart-to-heart about “earnings, spending habits and priorities,” as Mr. Elliott encourages.
“Do you have a problem with drugs or alcohol?”
I’ll just directly quote Mr. Elliott on this one: “If the answer is yes, you walk. Period.” (Although I hope you have spent enough time getting to know the person and being around him or her to know the answer to this question before the marriage question comes up.)
“Do you like my mother?”
My mother is one of my best friends. So, I do get why Mr. Elliott wants millennial women to ask this of their future spouse.
Not only is it “important that he gets along with your mother,” as Mr. Elliott notes, but it is equally if not more so important that she approves of him. I would have a very difficult time marrying someone my mother did not like.
But my answer to this question mattered to my fiancé, as well. He grew up in a house of women and is closely connected with his female family members.
It takes two
Marriage is one of the biggest decisions my fiancé and I will make in our lives. We have spent time investing in each other through a lot of talking and asking a lot of questions. I wanted to know all about him, his hopes, his dreams, his fears, and especially his expectations for marriage. And he wanted to know the same about me.
There are uncomfortable questions millennial women should ask when choosing a life partner, but it’s important to remember these questions are just as relevant for men to ask. In fact, I would be concerned if my fiancé didn’t want to have those awkward talks.
So, here’s to the uncomfortable questions that revealed the true value of communication and confirmed the start of a lifelong covenant.