Twenty questions to ask before you say 'I love you'. Initial questions Pt 1.
Note: This is the first of atleast 3 posts on this topic with successive series of twenty questions as your relationship progresses (or doesn't)
Introduction When Ange and I were getting to know each other we were quite young but we were both were quite ‘feisty’, ‘opinionated’ and had clear convictions about many things. To many people’s surprise, most of these core convictions have not changed and were sown by our parents. However, there were also key points of difference that we needed to wrestle with, some of it personal, some of it cultural and some of it biblical perspective (not necessarily from our Parents but broader influences).
This meant that our discussions were often long, in-depth and even conflicted. Though some of the ‘posturing’ and methods we used in finding common ground were not helpful, that we embraced tackling difficult questions and made sure we were on the same trajectory was of utmost importance.
What matters in life is not that we have all the right answers but that we start by asking the right questions. These questions have been put together to help you and your possible future spouse cut through to the deeper issues of life, where values and priorities, convictions and principles come from so that you can make decisions for your future with greater understanding.
Ange and I are of the opinion that many people start formalising relationships far too early. Believe it or not, friendship is normally enough for any relationship that is ‘finding its feet and exploring possibilities’. There is often social pressure to ‘define the relationship’, however, the only real definition biblically speaking that is needed is ‘engaged’ (in the Biblical context betrothed) and ‘married‘. That is not to say we are against ‘going out’ but we do tend to believe that once a relationship does take a more serious angle one starts to heat it up and unless it is placed in the correct place it can become more destructive than beneficial.
"..do not stir up or awaken love until the appropriate time" Song of Songs 2;7
‘Going out’ carries a myriad of pressures built into it by our society and even those in the Church. Pressures to get married ‘now’ from friends and family, natural desires for affection increase and expectations from each other can be drastically different and the list really goes on. Many people have not even asked the most basic questions that could likely scuttle any real trajectory toward marriage (and this is positive).
Even asking these questions directly and intently will likely act to progress or impede a relationship. If a relationship is stopped in it’s path by asking these questions or if it takes a more focused approach that enables a healthy approach both are positive outcomes.
TWENTY INITIAL QUESTIONS In general we imagine people ask these questions BEFORE they cement any real definite sense of relationship. We are all led to one degree or another by simple attraction, loneliness, the need for companionship, even our libido. None of these are bad things but when in isolation from the clarity that good questions bring they could lead us into an unhealthy relationship.
Please take your time answering these questions. Some of them may be quick and simple to answer. Others may draw out much deeper feelings or bring up issues that you will need time to think through and pray about. The point is to learn more about each other.
1. Tell me the story of how you came to Christ. What other events have marked your progress as a disciple?
2. If you’re your friends (even past boyfriend or girlfriend) were to note your worst traits or habits, what would they be?
3. Are you comfortable continuing to explore this relationship if there are things from my past that I am not willing to share with you? (ever or yet)
4. Are there bad habits you have been able to overcome? What were they?
5. In what ways do you think we are different? How could these cause conflict? In what ways are we similar and how might that help?
6. If you were to define marriage, what would it be and what informs this idea? (biblical, family, experience etc)
7. When do you need space away from me? What does ‘space’ look like?
8. What did you admire about the way your mother and father treated each other?
9. Are you more like your mum or your dad? In what ways? (good and bad)
10. Name 3 – 5 pursuits in your life that take up most of your time? Why do these things matter to you?
11. Are you closer to your mum or your Dad? Why?
12. What makes you fearful? What makes your excited for the future?
13. What influence should our families have in our relationship if it were to progress? Why? What do you think that might look like?
14. What makes you anxious? How do you handle anxiety or stress?
15. Name five things you would like to do / achieve in life
16. Name three people of the opposite gender that inspire you. Why?
17. Name three people of the same gender that inspire you. Why?
18. Who is your favourite character in scripture. Why?
19. What spiritual disciplines do you practice to maintain focus and health in your spiritual life?
20. What place does Christian community (Church) have in your life? Why?
Continue or cease - Should we continue to explore this relationship?