When buying a car, it’s customary to shop around. Before making the purchase you’ll ask about the car’s history, check under the hood for any current damage and make sure that you’ll be able to keep up with any maintenance requirements. And that’s all for something that will only be a 5-10 year commitment.

Getting married is a huge life step, but surprisingly, many people tend to jump right in without doing proper research, and with a commitment this serious (we’re talking the next 50-60 years, people), there really are a few things you need to ask yourself before you walk down that aisle, and these are the top 10.

1.) What am I expecting to change or remain the same? From a psychological standpoint, a person’s habits can change, but their character typically does not. For example, if someone has a gambling problem, that can potentially change through effort. Belittling everything you are passionate about, however, is more a character trait, and is probably not going to change.

Plus, it might be an issue if you’re expecting something to change in a few years and your partner is expecting it to stay the same. If you work in a dangerous profession, for example, your mate might be okay with it right now, but they might not be prepared to live with the stress for the next 30 years.

2.) What about this person do I love so much? You want to make sure you aren’t in love with someone for short term reasons. It’s great if they have a great job or they have a great ass. These are all components of a person that change; he could lose his job or get really sick. Instead, it’s important that you’re in love with your mate for reasons that are consistent, like his sense of humor or his caring nature. In essence you want to make sure that you not only “love” your partner, but also “like” them as a close friend.

3.) Why are we getting married? You should be getting married for one reason and one reason only: because you’re in love. Not because it’s been three years and it’s the next logical step, not because your parents want you to, not for insurance purposes and not because you’re pregnant.

4.) How well do we communicate? There are many aspects of a marriage that need to be hashed out, such as finances (all current debts, financial goals and spending habits), having children (what forms of discipline will be used, who will stay home when you can’t get a sitter) and which holidays you are going to be spending with the in-laws. This also includes anything sexual. You need to comfortable with expressing your needs and wants in your relationship.

5.) Do we know how to fight? Believe it or not, many couples do not know how to fight. Screaming until you feel you’ve gotten your point across is not going to accomplish anything, and after 10 years it could lead to a lot of damage. Fighting fair means no name calling or belittling, and allowing the other person a fair chance to speak. A few quick counseling sessions will often give you some great ground rules for fighting in the future.