Rev. Janice Carter

Wedding Celebrant and Officiant in the Seattle area

Premarital Discussions

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Before we get married, we feel we know our future spouse so well.  Couples tend to view themselves through the lens of how much they are alike and tend not to look too deeply into how they are different.  Yet after the wedding bells, the marriage begins and we start learning things about our spouses that we didn’t know before.  Or things that we thought were so endearing before we married can start irritating us afterwards.

We think we have talked about things before we get married, but it is very different experience to have an outside person asking the questions and each person having to think about and write the answers to the questions.  Many interesting discoveries – both good and not so good – are made during this process.

As says: “Why is it that we argue and fight with the ones we love the most? Couples fight over a variety of issues, but commonly over topics such as finances, in-laws, their children, household duties and sex. Expectations about any of these topics can be broken, leading to disappointment and even resentment.”

I have developed a set of 33 questions which cover many different areas – money, children, goals, conflict resolution, careers, religion, leisure time, where to live, and more – to start exploring these areas that are so important when we are sharing and building a life with another person.

The first question in the list is:  Have you taken a premarital class to prepare for marriage? Why or why not?  I think most couples will say that they know each other so well and get along so well that they don’t need it.  Yet, all the couples who have taken one of my premarital discussion courses have discovered things about their partner that they did not know.  Or sometimes, they comment that they knew their partner felt a certain way, but didn’t understand why they felt that way.  It gave them a greater understanding of the other person’s point of view.  The classes give couples a safe environment in which to explore these different areas.

A line from my all-time favorite comedy play, “The Importance of Being Earnest” is spoken by Lady Bracknell.  She declares, “I am not in favor of long engagements.  They give people the opportunity of finding out each other’s character before marriage, which is never advisable.”  This is funny in the play, but in real life, it is the exact opposite of what should happen!  The more we know about our beloved, the better prepared we will be to build a strong and lasting relationship with them!

To help build a more solid foundation for your marriage, I strongly recommend that every couple takes a premarital class.  The new class I developed is short enough that every engaged couple – or couples thinking of becoming engaged – can find time to take it.   It is merely 33 questions, but these questions cover a lot of territory and can lead to some very interesting and enlightening conversations!  You might be surprised about what you find out about your partner – including some wonderful things that he/she may have been too shy to tell you!

To find out more, contact me at


Author: Jan Carter

Jan Carter Wedding Officiant Services are no longer available.

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