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 ensure you can keep up with any maintenance requirements. 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 jump right in without proper research. With a serious commitment (we’re talking the next 50-60 years, people), there really are a few questions to ask before getting married that you need to ask yourself before you walk down that aisle,

Questions to Ask

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. However, belittling everything you are passionate about is more a character trait and will probably not change. Love can’t change it all. Plus, it might be an issue if you expect something to change in a few years, and your partner expects it to stay the same. For example, if you work in a dangerous profession, your mate might be okay with it 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? For short-term reasons, you want to ensure you aren’t in love with someone. It’s great if they have a great job or a great ass. These are all components of a person that change; he could lose his job or get really sick. Instead, you must be in love with your mate for consistent reasons, like his sense of humor or caring nature. In essence, you want to ensure 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. This is a great question to ask before getting married.

The final 2 questions to ask yourself

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 must be comfortable 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.