From fun to fundamental, use these questions to illuminate shared values and potential differences—before taking the next big step.
It's easy to get lost in the newness of a budding romance or in the comfort of a long-term, best friend-like commitment. But according to relationship experts, the key to happily ever after is being able to break out of that day-to-day zone and have meaningful, honest conversations about your personalities and your values—the ones you share and the ones you disagree on. And, where you're willing to compromise.
The more you know about one another, the more you can be sure that taking the next step is the right decision—no matter what that next big step means to you. To help get this conversation started and set the foundation for a healthy relationship, we've rounded up a list of the top, most important questions to ask at important stages of your relationship, whether it's deciding to be exclusive, moving in together, getting engaged, or walking down the aisle.
1. What Do You Love Most (And Least) About Me?
Take an opportunity to gush about what you admire about each other, from your physical appearance to intangible qualities, but also work in a healthy conversation about pet peeves. Notice if you find yourself hoping that one day certain things will change. This may mean you have some deal-breakers on your hands. Annoyances are normal and commitment means accepting and living with both the good and the could-live-withouts.
2. How Sure Are We About Wanting (or Not Wanting) Kids?
More and more couples are choosing to forego having children, but it's important to have an honest discussion about it—and not just once. The thing is, people do change, including their stance on having kids, so make sure you talk about how certain you both are about offspring and revisit the topic throughout the growth of your relationship. If you're both sold on life with kids, dig into your future parental selves: What are your styles like? Do they align? When do you think you'll be ready to be parents?
3. How Do We Handle Conflict and Confrontation?
Remember that adage: "Arguing is healthy?" It's true! But what's important is how you go about arguing and disagreeing. The way you handle times of stress and resolve your differences will tell you a lot about how compatible you really are. Talk about your conflict resolution styles and see where you can improve, and discuss whether or not you'd be open to counseling in more difficult times.
4. What Is Your Love Language?
According to Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages, there are five main ways people can express love and appreciation: affirmation, quality time, gift giving, doing tasks, and physical touch. It's important to know your own and your partner's love language so you both can better understand what your relationship needs to thrive.
5. How Are We with Money?
In relationships, money matters. As with all things on this list, the key is talking. Discuss your individual relationships with money including spending habits, savings vs debt philosophies, earnings, financial goals, and how you each imagine those things functioning within your relationship.
6. How Is Your Relationship with Your Family?
As the saying goes, when you marry someone you're also marrying into a family. Talk about things like how important family and extended family is to you and your partner, the role you imagine they'll play in your lives, and how holidays might work. The trick here is simply avoiding surprises and setting a good foundation of expectations.
7. What Are Your Aspirations and Dreams?
Dreams can change, but it's important to understand your partner's passions, career ambitions, and even the places they want to travel to or live in. What do you both aspire to? What's your partner's dream job? More importantly, are you each willing to sacrifice for one another? What bucket list items do you have in common? Checking those off together would be a wonderful way to bring you even closer.
8. Do We Have Different Spiritual Beliefs and Philosophies?
What does spirituality mean to your partner? Do you come from different religious backgrounds? These types of questions are important to explore early on so you can understand the role religion and spirituality may or may not play in your lives. If there are some big differences here, the key question is if you can accept and respect them.
9. What Does Our Future Look Like?
Think about your lives 5, 10, 15 years from now. What does that look like to each of you? This question can be a more helpful way to get at some of the above topics more broadly, like jobs, living situation, marriage, kids. This will help bring to light your different expectations. It's a good sign if you both get blissfully lost in daydreaming about your future together.
10. Do You Like Surprises?
Okay, we may be biased here, but we think it's important to understand how your partner feels about being surprised vs making decisions as a team. For example, many couples today are broaching the subject of getting engaged earlier on, and even shopping for engagement rings together as opposed to the traditional way of, surprise, I want to marry you!
So, don't be afraid to be open about your thoughts if you feel like you've found the one. If you're both on the same page and you're ready to take that next step, explore our collection of engagement rings to find "the one" designed for your one-of-a-kind love.