Before Marrying Again...Ask These Questions

By: Christine Hammond, LMHC

The first marriage ended in divorce. The second one is going to be different. But how can a person be sure that they are not making another mistake of a different caliber?
This is a checklist that I use with clients during premarital counseling. It has been developed over the last 15 years spent counseling thousands of couples prior to marriage.
Ask clients to look through the following checklist and check all that apply.

_____ 1.   Are there frequent arguments over nothing with little resolution?
_____ 2.  Do you or your partner use biting sarcasm to confront issues?
_____ 3.  Are you staying in the relationship out of fear or worry?
_____ 4.  Do you have few areas of common interest?
_____ 5.  Are you or is your partner overly dependent on parents or children?
_____ 6.  Are there any signs of physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, mental, spiritual, or financial abuse both present and in the past?
_____ 7.  Do you avoid discussing sensitive topics or are you afraid of their reaction?
_____ 8. Does your partner frequently complain about unreal aches and pains?
_____ 9.  Does your partner make excuses for not finding a job or keeping a job?
_____ 10.                      Does your partner frequently change jobs or have they been fired more than once?
_____ 11.                       Are you or your partner participating in any addiction such as alcoholism, drug use, gambling, work, or pornography?
_____ 12.                      Are there uncontrollable outbursts of anger?
_____ 13.                      Is your partner inflexible and unwilling to see things from another perspective?
_____ 14.                      Does your partner avoid contact with others and prefer to be alone?
_____ 15.                       Is your partner afraid to be alone and constantly seeks out approval from others?
_____ 16.                      Have there ever been incidents of cruelty to animals or people?
_____ 17.                       Do you find yourself always doing what your partner wants to do?
_____ 18.                      Does your partner have extreme irrational fears, inappropriate reactions, odd beliefs, or bizarre behavior?
_____ 19.                      Does your partner constantly crave attention from others?
_____ 20.                     Does your partner know more details about your life while you know very little about theirs?
_____ 21.                      Does your partner lack healthy long-term relationships with friends or family?
_____ 22.                     Is your partner overly jealous, questioning you all the time about your whereabouts?
_____ 23.                     Is your partner overly critical and demanding that you adjust to their expectations?
_____ 24.                     Are you and your partner dishonest about your sexual past?
_____ 25.                      Do you have an uneasy feeling about the relationship?
_____ 26.                     Does your partner have a criminal record or show signs of criminal behavior?
_____ 27.                      Does your partner hear voices or see people that aren’t there?
_____ 28.                     Is your partner overly suspicious about mundane things?
_____ 29.                     Are there two contrasting sides to your partner like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?
_____ 30.                     Does your partner obsess about a topic and wear you down until they get their way?
_____ 31.                      Is your partner a habitual liar, deceitful, or do they skirt around the truth?
_____ 32.                     Does your partner blame you or others for mistakes, misfortunes, or missed opportunities?
_____ 33.                     Does your partner refuse to accept responsibility for mistakes and displays inappropriate remorse?
_____ 34.                     Is there a disregard for your safety or minimizing of your concerns?
_____ 35.                      Does your partner overstep your or other’s boundaries?
_____ 36.                     Are your parents, children or friends strongly against the relationship?
_____ 37.                      Do you have a feeling of settling?
_____ 38.                     Does your partner lack the ability to be intimate (not the sexual act)?
_____ 39.                     Is there a lack of care, genuine concern, and empathy?
_____ 40.                     Does your partner threaten to harm themselves or others if they don’t get what they want?
_____ 41.                      Do you feel manipulated by your partner?
_____ 42.                     Is there a callousness, coldness, or distance that is unexplained by your partner?
_____ 43.                     Has your partner refused to heal from past traumatic incidents?
_____ 44.                     Is your partner unaware of how their behavior and actions impact others?
_____ 45.                      Are there regular discussions of separating when things don’t go your partner’s way?
_____ 46.                     Do you feel like you are walking on eggshells around them never knowing what will happen next?
_____ 47.                      Does your partner have inappropriate emotional reactions on a regular basis?
_____ 48.                     Does your partner have poor impulse control?
_____ 49.                     Does your partner exploit others to get what they want?
_____ 50.                     Do you constantly wonder what your partner is thinking or doing?

Answering yes to a few of these questions does not mean a couple is doomed. Rather it signifies a need to better evaluate the situation and seek counsel outside the relationship.  Some of these issues can be resolved quickly so that the foundation of the marriage is stronger than ever. 

However, if clients answered yes to numbers 3, 6, 11, 16, 24, 26, 27, 34, 40, or 49 please seek professional help immediately as these issues are more long term in nature. Marriage will not fix the problem it will only make it worse.

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