(Adapted from material originally written by Doug & Nancy Olsen, St Helen’s Bishopsgate, London. Used and modified with permission by Denesh & Deborah Divyanathan.)
In any relationship friction occurs when the people involved have differing expectations and assumptions. Members of families tend to have many expectations and assumptions in common, and a newly married couple, each coming from a different family, can expect differences! It helps to have talked through these things in advance. This worksheet aims to highlight areas basic to everyday living. Each of you complete a copy on your own. Then swap sheets and use your various answers as discussion starters. Take as long as you like for discussion – it is time well invested. The areas are not listed in any special order.
1.1 What do you think is the point of getting married (especially in today’s culture)? 1.2 Does your view differ from that of your friends, colleagues, parents, etc? Why? 1.3 Why do you want to marry this particular person?
2.0 Spiritual Life and Ministry
2.1 How do you want your relationship and your home to reflect your Christian life?
2.2 Name some specific ways you envisage your spouse being able to help you grow as a Christian.
2.3 Name some specific ways you envisage you being able to help your spouse grow? 2.4 Do you disagree with your fiancé/e about any major theological issue? 2.5 If so, how do you believe you should resolve this? 2.6 Who are you spiritually accountable to? How open are you with them? 3.0 Daily Living 3.1 Are you a ‘morning’ or ‘evening’ person? 3.2 What time do you like to go to bed in the evening and get up in the morning? 3.3 How important are music, TV, the Internet and sports to you? 2
3.4 If you won $25,000 what would you do with it as a couple?
3.5 How important is punctuality to you?
3.6 Men/ Husbands: Can you and are you willing to cook?
Are you willing to share in domestic responsibilities? Car maintenance, shoe cleaning, etc. Be specific. Women/ Wives: Can you and are you willing to, for example, wire a plug, unblock a drain, etc? Are you willing to take responsibility for domestic tasks? 3.7 Do you expect to keep some secrets from your husband/wife? eg: earnings? savings? how you spend your money? weight? private letters/ emails? use of Internet? conversations with others/ parents? 3.8 In what areas do you expect to disagree most? money? in-laws? leisure? life-style? 3.9 How was conflict (in any area) dealt with in your family? (eg by quarrelling, ignoring, etc) 3.10 Will you get a maid? Why or why not? 4.0 Social 4.1 How will you celebrate your first anniversary? Your tenth? 4.2 How do you view your (future) in-laws? How often will you visit them? Them you? 4.3 How will your parents/in-laws be cared for in old age? 4.4 How do you view your fiancé’s friends? Will you encourage these friendships? 4.5 How many evenings a week would you expect to be: out with partner? 3
out without partner? in together with friends? in together, alone? at home alone? Involved in ministry? 4.6 Are you somebody who relaxes best in company with others or do you prefer your own company? 5.0 Physical relationship 5.1 Are you willing that your spouse be frank with you regarding any personal habits you have that he/she finds unpleasant or just unhelpful? How best might he/she address or initiate the subject? 5.2 What was the attitude of your family towards nudity and sex (eg discussed, inhibited, open)? 5.3 Regarding previous relationships/ experiences, is there anything you feel needs to be talked about together? 5.4 Do you feel your relationship with each other, pre-marriage, is setting a good foundation for your future physical relationship? Why? 5.5 Will you use contraceptives? What will you use as a couple? 6.0 Children 6.1 How many children would you like? How does economics rate in your calculations? What other factors apply? 6.2 In the raising of your children, what would you consider most important? 6.3 What sort of education would you want for them? Why? 6.4 Would you move homes for the sake of getting into a particular primary school? 6.4 How do you see your responsibility as regards ‘bringing them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord’ (Ephesians 6:4)? 7.0 Church 7.1 Describe your present church involvement. 7.2 Is there any responsibility you should consider giving up once you’re married? 7.3 What particular contributions do you anticipate having as a married couple? 4
8.0 Recreation 8.1 What do you really enjoy doing? How do you relax? Would you want to involve your spouse in this? How? 8.2 What sort of holidays do you like? 9.0 Money 9.1 How do you feel about money? 9.2 Do you budget carefully? Are you giving in a disciplined way? How much will you give? 9.3 Who will be in charge of money? Who will be responsible for bills and how? 9.4 How will you save? Will you invest in shares/ unit trusts/ bonds etc? What will you do about Life Assurance etc? 9.5 How much will you spend on holidays? 9.6 Do you want to be free to spend your own money without feeling accountable to your partner? 9.7 How much do you think you need to live on each month? As you earn more in the years to come, how will this change? Should it change? 10.0 Work 10.1 How do you feel about your job now? His/ her job now? 10.2 What sort of job do you expect to be doing in 10 years’ time? 10.3 What expectations or hopes do you have for your career? 10.4 How do you feel about the role of housewife and mother? 10.5 As a mother, how soon would you consider returning to paid employment – if at all? 10.6 As a husband, how do you feel about working mothers? 10.7 How do you think a single family income will affect your standard of living? Are you prepared for this? 5
11.0 Housing 11.1 How important to you is where you live and what sort of flat/house you live in? Now? In 10 years? At retirement? 11.2 What sort of housing would you expect in, say, 5 years? 11.3 How important is it to you to be buying your own home vs. staying with parents/ in laws? Why? 11.4 How tidy are you? How would you like your home to be? 11.5 Who will clean your home/ do the laundry/ ironing/ cook etc? 11.6 What do you think of having a domestic helper?