Are you considering taking the plunge into matrimony with your significant other? While it’s an exciting prospect, marriage is a huge commitment that shouldn’t be entered into lightly. Before you walk down the aisle, there are several crucial questions you and your partner should discuss openly and honestly. Reflecting on these 15 research-based topics can help set your marriage up for long-term success and happiness.

The Science of Relationships Blog is staffed by some of the best relationship researchers publishing today. We all want to know the best questions to ask before you get married.

We have come across an incredible list of 15 questions to ask before you get married (or go into couples therapy for that matter). For the curious, each question has a link to the specific research which informs the question.

Because of the links to the relevant research, these 15 questions to ask before you get married are powerful science-based questions. These are important questions for couples to ask at any point in their relationship.These questions get to the very heart of what science tells us are the most important factors in relationship success.

These 15 questions could also be questions to ask before you consider any change in your relationship. These questions can encourage deep and powerful conversations that can offer clarity and confidence to the decisions you will make about your life-partner.

These are important questions. Consider each question and answer truthfully with a simple yes or no response:

15 Research-based Relationship Questions to Ask Before You Get Married

  • Does your partner make you a better person, and do you do the same for them? Healthy relationships bring out the best in each other. Partners should inspire growth, support each other’s goals, and foster positive traits like kindness and patience.1
  • Are you and your partner both comfortable with sharing feelings, relying on each other, being close, and able to avoid worrying about the other person leaving? A study found that couples who were comfortable with intimacy and confident in their partner’s love had higher relationship satisfaction.2
  • Do you and your partner accept each other for who you are, without trying to change each other? Research shows that feeling accepted by your partner is linked to greater relationship quality and personal well-being.3
  • When disagreements arise, do you and your partner communicate respectfully and without contempt or negativity? Psychologist John Gottman found that criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling during arguments strongly predict divorce.4 Aim to communicate respectfully even when disagreeing.
  • Do you and your partner share decision-making, power, and influence in the relationship? Healthy marriages are an equal partnership where both individuals share in decision-making. Unequal power dynamics can breed resentment. One study linked perceptions of equal power to greater marital stability and satisfaction.5
  • Is your partner your best friend, and are you theirs? Research consistently shows that couples who consider their spouse to be their best friend are happier in their marriages.6 A strong friendship is the foundation of a strong marriage.
  • Do you and your partner think more in terms of “we” and “us,” rather than “you” and “I”? Couples who think in terms of “we” and “us”, rather than “I” and “you”, tend to be more satisfied in their relationships and stay together longer.7 You’re a team now.
  • Would you and your partner trust each other with the passwords to social media and bank accounts? If you’d hesitate to share your phone password or email login with your partner, that signals a lack of trust. Secrecy can slowly erode a relationship. Being transparent with each other shows your commitment.8 
  • Do you and your partner have good opinions of each other – without having an overinflated positive view? Rose-colored glasses are nice, but it’s also important to see your partner realistically, flaws and all. Research shows that having overly idealized views of each other can lead to disillusionment and dissatisfaction down the road.9
  • Do your close friends, as well as your partner’s, think you have a great relationship that will stand the test of time? Your loved ones often have good intuition about your relationship. A study found that when friends and family approved of a relationship, the couple was more likely to stay together and be happy over time.10 Take their opinions into account.
  • Is your relationship free of red flags like cheating, jealousy and controlling behavior? Issues like infidelity, jealousy, controlling behavior, and emotional or physical abuse are serious red flags.11 Don’t ignore your gut if something feels off. These issues often get worse with time, not better.
  • Do you and your partner share the same values when it comes to politics, religion, the importance of marriage, the desire to have kids (or not) and how to parent? Incompatible values can lead to constant clashes.
  • Are you and your partner willing to sacrifice your own needs, desires, and goals for each other (without being a doormat)? A great marriage requires some sacrifice. You don’t have to lose yourself, but you do need to consider your partner’s needs alongside your own. Research shows that couples who are willing to make sacrifices for each other tend to be happier.12
  • Do you and your partner both have agreeable and emotionally stable personalities? Let’s face it, some people are easier to get along with than others. Studies consistently find that having an agreeable, emotionally stable personality bodes well for relationship happiness and longevity.13 You can’t change someone’s innate personality.
  • Are you and your partner sexually compatible? Being on the same page about your sex life – your desires, needs, boundaries – is key.14 Don’t be afraid to talk openly about this intimate topic.

In the end, there’s no magic formula for a great marriage. But taking the time to reflect on these 15 questions can help you enter this commitment with eyes wide open. You’ll gain clarity on your compatibility, shared values, and potential growth areas as a couple. Remember, a happy, healthy marriage is something you create together, day by day, through love, communication, and dedication.


  1. Fowers, B. J., & Owenz, M. B. (2010). A eudaimonic theory of marital quality. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 2(4), 334-352.
  2. Brunell, A. B., Pilkington, C. J., & Webster, G. D. (2007). Perceptions of risk in intimacy in dating couples: Conversation and relationship quality. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 26(1), 92-118.
  3. Murray, S. L., Holmes, J. G., & Griffin, D. W. (2000). Self-esteem and the quest for felt security: How perceived regard regulates attachment processes. Journal of personality and social psychology, 78(3), 478.
  4. Gottman, J. M. (1993). A theory of marital dissolution and stability. Journal of Family Psychology, 7(1), 57-75.
  5. Rastogi, M., & Wampler, K. S. (1997). The role of marital power and equality in marital quality. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 25(2), 173-184.
  6. Helliwell, J. F., & Grover, S. (2014). How’s life at home? New evidence on marriage and the set point for happiness (No. w20794). National Bureau of Economic Research.
  7. Agnew, C. R., Van Lange, P. A., Rusbult, C. E., & Langston, C. A. (1998). Cognitive interdependence: Commitment and the mental representation of close relationships. Journal of personality and social psychology, 74(4), 939.
  8. Elkins, J., & Peterson, C. (1993). Gender differences in best friendships. Sex roles, 29(7-8), 497-508.
  9. Murray, S. L., Holmes, J. G., & Griffin, D. W. (1996). The benefits of positive illusions: Idealization and the construction of satisfaction in close relationships. Journal of personality and social psychology, 70(1), 79.
  10. Sprecher, S., & Felmlee, D. (1992). The influence of parents and friends on the quality and stability of romantic relationships: A three-wave longitudinal investigation. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 888-900.
  11. Amato, P. R., & Rogers, S. J. (1997). A longitudinal study of marital problems and subsequent divorce. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 612-624.
  12. Van Lange, P. A., Rusbult, C. E., Drigotas, S. M., Arriaga, X. B., Witcher, B. S., & Cox, C. L. (1997). Willingness to sacrifice in close relationships. Journal of personality and social psychology, 72(6), 1373.
  13. Kelly, E. L., & Conley, J. J. (1987). Personality and compatibility: a prospective analysis of marital stability and marital satisfaction. Journal of personality and social psychology, 52(1), 27.
  14. Sprecher, S., & McKinney, K. (1993). Sexuality. Sage Publications, Inc.