by Naielah Ackbarali
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:
“Marriage is from my sunna, and whoever turns away from my sunna is not from me.” (ibn Majah)
Wanting to get married is normal. Love is a human need. AlhamduliLlah it is also from the sunna of the prophets (may peace be upon all of them).
When choosing a spouse, people frequently ask about which questions to ask during their meetings.
After almost a decade of marriage counseling / coaching experience, I created a list of over 100 sample questions.
The upshot is that when seeking a spouse, it is important to ask about matters that will directly or potentially impact how you live together in the short-term and the long-term.
Thus, the goal of asking the forthcoming questions is to gain a better understanding of your prospective spouse’s character and views on married life.
Keep in mind:
1) There are no right or wrong answers. Rather, it is dependent upon what you believe is best for you. Use the other person’s responses to determine if you are willing to commit to a lifelong relationship with this person.
2) You can ask these questions in person or by email, but avoid overloading a prospective spouse with too many questions at once.
3) At the same time, make sure that you ASK whatever you need to know in order to make a proper decision, and do not assume anything.
4) Some topics may be awkward to inquire about directly. If this is the case, then have your parent or a third party ask these questions.
5) Begin with asking the start-up questions, and then ease into more practical topics, especially those that are known to cause conflict between married people.
6) These questions are in no particular order. Feel free to choose whichever ones you think are helpful for your situation.
7) You do not need to ask all of the questions. To help you determine which ones to prioritize, I have bolded questions which I think are vital to ask.
May Allah Most High give you tawfiq on your journey to find a righteous spouse.
- Why are you seeking to get married?
- What are your most important goals in life?
- What are your most important values in life?
- Which words would you use to describe your overall character?
- Name three of your top positive qualities and possible negative traits.
- What is something that you are passionate about? Why does that mean so much to you?
- Where do you see yourself five years from now? How about ten or twenty years from now?
- What role does religion play in your life? How would you define what type of Muslim you are?
- What are your expectations of married life?
- What is your vision of a happy household?
- What are you looking for in a spouse? Which traits are a must?
*If you like their answers, proceed to any of the following topics and ask more detailed questions.
- What have you accomplished so far in your religious and secular studies?
- Do you plan on continuing your religious or secular studies in the future?
- How much time do you think it will take to achieve your educational pursuits?
- Are you comfortable with your spouse continuing with their religious or secular studies?
- How would you support your spouse while they study?
- What things would cause you to be uncomfortable with your spouse pursuing their studies?
FAMILY & IN-LAWS
- What is your relationship like with your family?
- Are you closer to a particular relative from your family? Why?
- Is your family cultural? How cultural are you? Please describe your culture.
- Did you grow up in a happy household? How has that impacted you?
- Do you expect your spouse to live with your family? For how long?
- How would you handle a situation where your spouse’s cultural practice clashes with your personal cultural practices? (Have an example in mind in case you are asked)
- How would you handle disagreements between your spouse and family members if that ever happened? (Have an example in mind in case you are asked)
- How much time do you expect to spend with your family on a weekly basis after marriage? What are your expectations from your spouse in regards to this?
- How do you want your spouse to treat and interact with your parents and siblings? What is ideal for you?
- What type of interaction do you have with your cousins of the opposite gender?
FINANCES & WORK
- How would you describe your work ethic or motivation to work?
- Who do you want to manage the finances in the marriage?
- Do you see yourself more as a saver or a spender?
- How do you spend your money? Do you budget?
- How good are you in repaying debts on time?
- How do you think your use of money will change after marriage?
- Do you want your wife to work? What about after having children?
- Do you want your wife to financially contribute to the household income? If so, how much?
- If the wife works, who owns her money and decides what will be done with it?
- What things would cause you to be uncomfortable with your wife working?
- If your wife does not work, would you be willing to give her a monthly allowance/pocket money so she can have money to spend on herself?
- Do you believe the husband and wife’s wealth/assets/property should be jointly shared?
- Do you have any debts now? If so, what steps are you taking to resolve them?
- What’s your view on interest (riba)? How do you try to avoid it, if you do try to avoid it?
- How important is diet and exercise to you? How often do you exercise?
- Do you have any expectations about the types of diet and exercise that your spouse must do?
- What are your expectations with cooking? Do you need to eat freshly cooked food on a daily basis?
- Do you have any food allergies or restrictions?
- Does your spouse need to maintain a certain weight? What about after having children?
- Do you take any medications for anything? If so, what for?
- To the best of your knowledge, are you able to have children?
- Do you suffer from any chronic disease or illness?
- Have you ever suffered from trauma? Have you sought professional help for it?
- Do you smoke?
- What are your most important life values?
- What are your most pressing life goals and ambitions?
- How do you plan on achieving them?
- How do you expect your spouse to support you in those goals?
- Are you a night person or a day person? How does that impact the way you organize your schedule?
- Are you spontaneous in your decision-making or someone who thoroughly thinks things through before deciding?
- How much do you rely on your istikhara prayers for making decisions?
- Do you plan on relocating to another place after marriage?
- What are your expectations of marriage?
- Have you ever attended any courses or seminars about marriage?
- Have you ever studied the rights and responsibilities of spouses?
- What do you believe the role of a husband is?
- What do you believe the role of a wife is?
- Do you think those roles should change after having children?
- How clean and organized do you want your household to be on a daily basis? Can you give an example?
- What do you think women need in order to feel loved by a husband?
- What do you think that men need in order to feel loved by a wife?
- How would you spend your free time with your spouse? What type of activities do you think couples should do together?
- How much of your free time would you spend with your spouse?
- What do you think about second wives? Are you personally interested in it, even for the future?
- How would you let your spouse know that you are pleased with them?
- How would you let your spouse know that you are upset or angry with them?
- If there is a dispute in the marriage and you and your spouse could not resolve it together, what should be done?
- Who would you turn to for advice if you and your spouse got into a dispute?
- To what extent do you expect your spouse to consult with you on decisions?
- When do you think that it is appropriate to initiate mediation in a marriage? Who would you want to go to for mediation?
- Are you addicted to video games, movies, or anything that would be deemed harmful for yourself or a marriage?
- Are you planning on officially registering your marriage in your home country?
PERSONALITY & EMOTIONS
- Which words would you use to describe your personality best?
- Which words would you use to describe your overall character?
- How would you describe your usual temperament? Cheerful? Serious?
- What are your pet peeves?
- What are the types of things that make you angry?
- Are you easily angered or does it take you a long time to get angry?
- How do you tend to react when you are angry? Can you give an example?
- Would you describe yourself as a jealous person? How do you handle your jealousy?
- How do you tend to react when you are sad? Can you give an example?
- How do you express/show your gratitude when someone has done you a favor?
- How do you expect others to express/show their gratitude towards you when you’ve done them a favor?
- If you wrong someone, how do you apologize/make up to them?
- If someone wronged you, how much time must pass before your forgive them?
- How did your first marriage impact your life?
- Do you believe that you have fully moved on from your previous marriage?
- How much interaction do you have with your previous spouse?
- Did you have children in your previous marriage? If so, how many and what are their ages?
- What is your relationship like with your children now?
- How will your children react to you remarrying?
- How will your family react to you remarrying?
- What are your expectations with your new spouse and your children from your previous marriage?
- Do you want to have children? How many do you want to have?
- Do you want to have children immediately? What is your ideal timeline for having children?
- Are you okay with your wife taking contraceptives or other methods of birth control?
- What type of life do you want to give your children?
- What type of religious and moral values do you want to instill in your children?
- Who should do the majority of the work when it comes to child-rearing?
- What type of parent do you want to be? How involved will you be with raising your children? Can you give examples?
- What do you think is the best method for raising children?
- What do you think is the best method for disciplining children?
- How were you raised?
- How were you disciplined?
- What type of relationship should children have with their parents?
- What type of relationship should children have with their grandparents?
- What type of relationship should children have with their non-Muslim relatives/non-practicing relatives?
- What type of relationship should children have with their non-Muslim friends/non-practicing friends?
- How important is giving your children Islamic and/or secular education?
- Do you believe that children should watch television? What types of programs should children be able to watch/not watch?
- Do you believe that children should play sports or participate in extra-curricular activities? What types of activities should children be able to participate in?
- What role does religion play in your life right now?
- How would you define a Muslim who is practicing?
- How would you define a Muslim who is not practicing?
- Do you regularly pray, pay zakat, and fast Ramadan?
- What acts of worship do you do to feel spiritually connected?
- Do you have any spiritual goals?
- What is something that you find difficult to follow in Islam? Why?
- Do you follow a school of Islamic law (madhhab), and if so, which one?
- Who are the sheikhs/scholars you most often listen to and rely upon for Islamic knowledge? Why do they appeal to you?
- What are you expecting from your spouse in regards to religion?
- How would you handle a disagreement in religious practice between your spouse and yourself? (Have an example in mind in case you are asked)
- How would you want your spouse to help you to be more spiritual?
- Do you take part in any Islamic activities, and if so, how much time do you spend in such activities?
- Do you watch television or movies? What type of programs do you watch? Do you restrict yourself from watching certain types of films?
- Do you take pictures or agree with taking pictures?
SOCIALIZING & RECREATION
- Are you a very social person?
- Who are your best friends and why?
- What do you like to do when socializing?
- Do you expect your spouse to participate in those activities with you?
- Do you like to go out to restaurants, parks, nature outings, or travel?
- Do you like to host guests? How often do you expect guests?
- Do you like to spontaneously invite people/friends to your house?
- What type of expectations do you have for your spouse with regards to hosting guests? What would make you happy?
- Do you read? How often?
- What do you like to read about? Why does that interest you?
- Do you have any social media accounts? What do you use social media for?
- Are you okay with your spouse using social media for leisure?
- Do you believe men and women can be friends?
- Do you have friends of the opposite gender? What’s your interaction like with them?
- What type of interaction do you have with co-workers of the opposite gender? What do you think is acceptable and not acceptable?
For more advice on marriage, check out these resources:
“Garments For Each Other” Premarital Coaching Sessions (for men and women)
Single Sister Coaching Sessions (women only)
Do Happy Marriages Exist? (video)
Emotionally Intelligent Spouse (video)