While I don’t necessarily recommend that everyone hand a list of questions to their romantic interest right after the first date, I do think that couples should discuss important issues fairly early in the relationship. If dating (or courtship) is for the purpose of finding a spouse (and I believe it is), then it should focus on determining compatibility first, before building emotional attachment.
Here is the slightly modified list of questions I sent Doug (which we jokingly refer to as the “million questions”). I have divided them up by topic for simplicity. They are mostly open ended because the purpose is to encourage discussion of these issues, not simply to provide a checklist. This list assumes that both the man and woman are Christians and want to have a God-honoring relationship (and possibly a marriage). Some of these questions should definitely be addressed early on in the relationship while others can wait until later. This is not a complete list of everything a couple should discuss before becoming engaged, but it serves as a framework for finding out how compatible they are on major issues. Discussing these major issues can help dating couples make wise and informed choices in their relationship. And in the long run, having compatible views on these issues will lead to a stronger, closer marriage.
· What does a God-honoring dating/courting relationship look like?
· What kinds of character traits should a man look for in a wife? Or a woman look for in a husband?
· What topics should (or should not) be discussed by two people who are trying to determine whether or not they are compatible for marriage?
· What types of situations/behaviors should be off limits before marriage? What physical boundaries are appropriate? Should hand-holding, kissing, cuddling, or other types of physical affection be reserved strictly for marriage (and, if so, which ones)? If you and your girlfriend/boyfriend disagree on these limits, would you still honor his or her standards and abide by them?
· What romantic relationships have you had and do you think that your relationship(s) maintained Godly purity and integrity? If so, what factors do you think were important to that success? If not, have you taken steps or made decisions to prevent similar problems in the future?
· What do you see as the role of the husband in a marriage? The role of the wife? Should men and women have different roles in a family? If so, how should they differ?
· How should a man treat his wife? How should a woman treat her husband?
· Should the husband be the leader in a marriage relationship? If so, in what areas, and what does that look like?
· Should a woman submit to her husband? If so, what does that look like?
· What is the purpose of marriage? What should be the focus of a marriage relationship, and how should couples endeavor to keep that focus?
· Do you think divorce is ever an option for Christians? If so, in what circumstances? Is remarriage after divorce ever a valid option? If so, in what situations?
· Are you open to having children? If so, how many children do you want? What do you think about birth control?
· How should children be raised? How should children be disciplined? How important is it to teach children to work? To give them a good education? To teach them to study and understand the Bible?
· How should married couples address differences in views on how and what children should be taught?
· What tasks or responsibilities should be designated to the husband? To the wife? To the children?
· Who should make the final decision if a disagreement arises? How should that decision be made?
· Should a woman work outside the home? Should that change if/when she has children? Should a wife be expected to make some income after having children or is that the responsibility of the husband? If a wife wants to work outside the home (before or after having children), should she? If so, what types of job situations might be acceptable and what types (if any) are not?
· What schooling options would you consider for your children? Public school? Private school? Home school? How important is your school preference to you?
· What should be the role of media (especially entertainment) in family life? How do you decide what is and isn't appropriate to watch or listen to? Are there entertainment choices that are appropriate for adults, but not for children? If so, what criteria should be used to discern that?
Parents and Extended Family
· What consideration should dating/courting couples give to parental (or other relative) approval and/or concerns?
· Should a man ask a woman's father before beginning a romantic relationship with her? Before asking her to marry him? After asking her, but before marrying her?
· What are the major considerations when choosing a church to attend? Should doctrine be the only/most important concern? Should worship style (music, volume, enthusiasm) be an important consideration? What about the qualifications and reputation of the pastor and other leaders? What about programs and opportunities for ministry involvement?
· How important is church membership? Or church involvement? Is tithing important to you?
· If a husband and wife disagree on some doctrinal points, how should that be handled when looking for a church home? How should it be handled when raising children?
Are there any other questions that should be included here? What other topics or questions should be discussed before becoming engaged? Comment if you have additional ideas.