By Sammie Gallo, Creator of Abundant Life: You Were Made for More
We’re coming up on three years since my husband asked to marry me. If you aren’t familiar with our love story, we met on an international mission trip when we were both leading student groups from separate churches. We became friends on that trip, saw each other serve intentionally, learned about each other and our hearts for the Lord, and I personally heard God speak to me audibly for the first, and only time, in my life. Long story, short: we started dating, were engaged three months later, and married six months after that. Looking back, it was a whirlwind, and I’m sure to some, we seemed crazy. But we were following God, leaning into Him, and had mentors who were guiding and helping us navigate our relationship and prepare for marriage which is where we knew we both wanted to end up.
I was thinking back to practical, helpful things that we did (besides premarital counseling) during that crazy season, and I wanted to share them with you all. Mainly, we asked each other a LOT of questions. I knew there was something special about Juan when I met him, and I’m so thankful that he is my husband. We’ve kept learning about each other throughout our marriage, but the dating and engagement season are so important for learning your partner. Being unified and well-communicated on major issues is so important and being willing and able to ask big questions and little questions is vital. It helped me see that we could work through differences, navigate disagreements, and respect each other through hard conversations. You want to be confident that you’re not just attracted to your life partner, but you’re looking and working together in the same direction.
These questions are phrased in a very direct manner – you don’t need to read them off, interrogation style! It’s possible to have these questions answered in a casual conversation. Juan and I frequently went to coffee and discussed these topics of our own accord, or they’d come up as a part of other conversations we were a part of. Some of them even were obvious because of the manner that we met. Go on fun dates – and have serious conversations while you’re doing it – it is so much lighter that way!
Another note: You CAN talk about these things if you are already engaged, but I definitely don’t think they are “too serious” for a serious dating relationship. For us, some of these were deal-breakers that would mean we weren’t on the same page enough to move toward marriage, so we did talk about them before we were engaged. It also may depend on your age, your seriousness about marriage, and pace of your relationship.
Here we go!
PARENTING AND KIDS
- What was your childhood like? How did your parents raise you?
- Do you agree or disagree with their parenting? How?
- What would you do differently or the same?
- Who is someone whose parenting or kids you admire? Why?
- Do you like kids? Why or why not? What might be contributing to your feelings on that topic?
- What school did you attend (public, private, home)? How would you want to school your own kids?
- What are your thoughts on birth control? Have you researched this?
MONEY AND FINANCES
- Do you have any debt? What kind and how much?
- Do you have a plan to pay it off? Do you use a budget? Why or why not?
- Did your parents teach you any money habits? Are you willing to learn them?
- Are you willing to take a financial class together so we can get on the same page about this?
- If we needed to pay down debt in our future, what would you be willing to do without in order to do so?
- What items do you think are absolutely necessary (cable, game tickets, clothes shopping)?
CHURCH AND THEOLOGY
- In what denomination or faith did you grow up?
- What did you agree or disagree with?
- What church do you attend now? Why? What do you like most about it?
- Have you explored other denominations? What do you think of the ones you’ve visited?
- Are you open to attending several different churches and discussing them?
- What is your theological perspective (e.g. Calvinist, Arminian, Catholic)?
- Can you see merit to other theological views within conservative/biblical Christianity, or do you think yours is the only way to interpret these passages? (Say this nicer, but you get my drift: are they teachable and open-minded?)
SEXUALITY AND SEXUAL PAST
- Do you have a history of sexual or porn addiction?
- What are you doing to actively combat this or prevent it?
- What are your physical boundaries in this relationship?
- How did your parents teach you about sex? Was that a positive or negative to you?
- How did the church talk to you about sex?
- When you are engaged and close to marriage, it may be helpful to have a “sexpectations” talk together or as part of your premarital counseling!
QUESTIONS TO ASK AN OLDER COUPLE
- What drew you two to each other?
- What three things have made your marriage last?
- If you could advise your younger selves, what would you say?
- What things did you find most important to agree upon?
- How do you seek Christ together/individually?
Again, many are answered naturally as you spend time in settings that promote discussion OR go on dates to talk about the topic. If you are single and reading this, think and pray about where you stand on these issues so you’re ready to have a conversation when you meet your person!
Some books we benefited from were Sacred Marriage and The Meaning of Marriage. Highly recommend them if you’re looking for a basis for premarital counseling or if you’re looking for a book to work through with a wiser couple. Most of all, remember that the Lord will guide you, as long as you seek His wisdom and root yourselves in Him.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.Ephesians 4:2
Sammie graduated from Robert Morris University in 2017 with a background in biology and psychology and started working with Anglicans for Life (AFL) shortly after. In addition to her work with AFL, she spends time pouring into high school students in her community and is a full-time nursing student, hoping to work in the labor and delivery unit upon her graduation in December 2022.
Sammie married her best friend, Juan Gallo, in May 2019. During her free time, she cares for their sweet baby girl, Ofelia, who joined their family in August 2020.
Sammie spends her day-to-day making sure that every person hears and believes the words: “you were made for more.” You can follow Sammie on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! She’d love to get to know you!