The greatest lessons we learn in life come from asking the right questions. Not the simple inquiries that we can answer quickly, that don't require much thought and only poke at the surface. The best answers come when we are challenged to think deeply, when we get really honest with ourselves and we don't overlook our own short sightedness or our limited view of what makes life and relationships work.
And so it goes with love and the journey of two lovers through engagement and into a lifetime of mutual love. Here are 8 critical questions every couple should answer before they get married. Please -- ponder these for all your worth. Success in marriage needs to ride on more than the high-spirited emotions of dating that drive two lovers together.
Take turns asking these tough questions:
• What is love? Share your definitions with one another.
Be thorough. Dig deep. Is love, for example, an emotion? A thought or belief? What makes love unique and why is it important?
Speak from your heart about the energy, motivation and determination you'll capture in your love journey together.
• What role models, if any, have taught me about love and intimacy?
What did I learn about how to make love last?
• What kind of lover am I?
What kind of love will I bring to the marriage? Be specific. What does your love look like?
Couples that understand "love is a verb" that needs to result in actions, have a better shot at making love last for a lifetime.
• Why me? Why you?
In other words, why do you love him? And why do you love her? Do you have a clear idea of why you are choosing one another and how well you truly know your fiancé? Do you even know who each other are? Or are you still looking through a fantasy lens?
Couples who can see each other clearly and like who they are choosing, are more apt to honor their partner's individual differences over time.
• What are your hopes and dreams -- your expectations of one another in all areas of your relationship?
Includes expectations about finances, time spent with in-laws, sex, fun, religion, children, etc. Develop a clear vision together about what you want your marriage to look like.
How are these playing their way out now?
• What are my strengths and weaknesses and how do I plan to mature in this relationship?
Both need to be able to define their individual strengths and the areas they hope to mature. Two people, who admit to a need for ongoing growth and commit to the process, have a much greater chance of growing the marriage.
What are you doing now to grow and mature individually?
• What is working right now and what do you hope to continue?
Examine your love and connection as you experience it right now. What works? What do you like about the bond you've created?
• What obstacles do you see right now that would get in the way of having an amazing marriage?
Most often, love and intimacy don't get explored before marriage. Two lovers believe the energy they feel in dating will continue into the distant horizon, only to find out that the complexities of life challenge love more than they imagined.
So gather your courage and desire to experience an amazing marriage and look deep into the bond you have and the relationship you hope to grow over the years. The tough questions -- your answer to the tough questions -- can pave the way into an exciting romance that lasts and never fades.