Most divorces in the modern world were avoidable*. 

And the largest percentage of those relationships that ended in divorce should have ended in a break-up long before two people made the bone-headed mistake of walking down the aisle together. 

In short: they were simply incompatible and didn't really know each other well enough for such a big relationship commitment.


ONE BIG REASON: Most individuals in heading-toward-marriage relationships don't ask the tough questions nearly enough before taking such a big, life-altering action.

Marriage can be an excellent source of high-quality, remember-it-forever memories.

But it’s not really meant to be one of those 'try-it-and-then-I'll-buy-it' deals.

We titled today’s piece “20 Questions” like the old game show…but a wedding is not a parlor game. And marriage shouldn't be for moonlighters.

Thinking of a wedding? 

Then please listen up, because today's article isn't meant to make an already-married couple feel insecure-- or a divorced single for that matter to feel judged. 

We're simply gonna do our best with these words to equip a guy or gal out there thinking about getting married to know what we believe are the most important questions to get answered from him/herself and his/her intended spouse-- before the reader makes a lifetime commitment to marriage.

TLDR: Compatibility plays an important role in marital success. Use these questions to help you determine how compatible you and your significant other really are before you walk down the aisle.

Why Do You Want to Get Married?

This is one of the most important decisions we make in our lives — or, as it unfortunately too often turns out, one of the most important questions unhappily married and heading-for-divorce couples fail to answer decisively.

Many couples tie the knot because it's the 'expected' thing to do. 

Is making a lifelong commitment a genuine desire for you? 

Why do you want to marry? 

Are you compelled by feelings of romance? 

Do material concerns influence your decision? 

Is your partner making you feel pressured to marry? Or someone else in your life? 

Consider what's motivating your willingness to marry, and if that motivation is healthy-- because there's a time that comes in every romantic relationship when a decision is made, a decision that is made only once...and then reaffirmed daily.

When it comes to a long-term relationship that progresses to marriage, you will either decide you are going to be there for this person for the rest of his or her life… or not. It all starts with your own WHY. 

And while it's not popular or politically correct to say so in a world where so many weddings end in a divorce, we don't apologize for saying that a marriage should be a lifetime contract. Therefore, someone ought to have REALLY GOOD REASONS for getting married. 

Life is so filled with uncertainties. Whether your marriage is going to last shouldn't be one of them. That's why we compiled this list of what it means to say "I do": Every Happily Married Person Can Answer This Question

Do You Want Children?

Conflicts related to children are among the most serious that couples face-- but in our opinion none are more serious than whether or not to have kids at all. Many couples split up because one partner wants to have children but the other does not. That's a serious crossroads to reach-- and we advocate that it’s better to reach the crossroads and see the way forward (or backward) clearly SOONER rather than LATER. 

The answer to this question might change, but it might not; moreover, because of biology, there's a limited window of opportunity in terms of fertility.

If your road to relationship-foreverland is just a bunch of “Hey, this feels good, let's try something save money and move in together!” that rolls right into engagement and planning a wedding…mixed with parental pressure and society saying "you need to get married, too"... and despite having unprotected sex you’ve never had ‘THE TALK’ about whether you want kids…that’s just not smart, ladies and gentlemen.

There’s a reason this is first on the list.

Are You Open to Alternative Ways of Becoming a Parent?

Many couples face infertility issues. We won’t get into statistical specifics here, but it’s far more than you probably think (unless you’ve experienced this pain yourself or in shared grief with a lover, close friend or family member).

Have you discussed how the two of you would face this? Will both of you be willing to stick it out with one another even if it is not possible to have biological children together? Have you discussed adoption? Fostering? In vitro fertilization? Surrogates?

Better to know going into marriage that children are a must for one or both of you-- and plan out a strategy you agree mutually that you will pursue if, God forbid, the old-fashioned way of increasing your family isn’t going to work. 

How Do You Envision Raising Children?

How we each want to or expect to raise children in a family can sometimes demonstrate serious-- possibly even insurmountable-- differences of opinion in a relationship. Trust us, you don’t want to find this out with a 2 year old and number two on the way. 

Having an evolving series of open discussions about this topic can spare considerable frustration-– even heartbreak. You need to know:

  • What behaviors your significant other won’t tolerate in children-- and why. 
  • How you plan to discipline any kids you have-- and why. 
  • Who will be responsible for meeting certain needs for the child-- especially in the early years that come first! 
  • When you think the kids ought to be more independent and when each partner should expect them to be closer to Mommy and Daddy.

We’re not saying plan out pre-K to move-out, but some forethought and discussion together before bringing another person into the damn world is a good idea. A degree of preparation can allay 212 degrees of boiling anger once you’re in the  family circus with kids and there’s no enjoyable, desirable or honorable way out after you realize your parenting ideas are the COMPLETE OPPOSITE of your husband/wife.

When parents can’t be on the same page regarding the raising of children, it can create conflict for the children (duh!) but it’s also among the primary reasons for a couple falling out of love…and the big reason behind more than one once-promising marriage and family household coming to a bitter end.

Are You Religious? 

This has been one of the most important questions to ask before getting married since time immemorial. When it comes to religion, people tend to have strong feelings. Religious differences can substantially impact everything from lifestyle choices to the way kids are raised. It’s especially strong when one partner has a long family tradition of children being raised in a certain faith tradition. After all, you very well could feel like you’re planning to get married to a man or woman who seems like he or she is already married to his/her parents’ religion! 

And cross-cultural, interfaith marriages? Whoa, now you’re looking at some serious spiritual dynamite on the road to the earthly altar! 

What about you and your intended husband/wife? Is your potential spouse religious or not religious at all? How do you feel about their religious choices and values? 

The fact is, our spouse’s religious beliefs can have a strong impact on our lives. We aren’t at all saying compatibility means you must share a certain faith. Not at all. But it’s imperative that you and he/she be okay with your religious differences, if any, and resolve to go in to a marriage together with eyes wide open.  

What Are Your Political Beliefs?

Do you or your potential spouse have strong political beliefs? Political leanings often relate to a person's values (or even their identity). We all know that politics can divide a country, but did you realize how hard it can be to find a middle ground with a couple so far divided to the left and the right on certain topics? 

People form strong allegiances to political parties, and those allegiances, if rigidly strong enough, can have a negative-- even disastrous–- impact on relationships when allegiances are not aligned. But 95% of people aren’t going to have marital fights because of simple party affiliation differences with their spouse. No, normally, something so simple as a Democrat marrying a Republican is not a problem. 

Where it gets dicey is if you hold very polar opposite beliefs on certain controversial and universally-held, hot-button issues that very well may make up a big part of your identity. Maybe your thing for or against is guns, abortion, immigration, or non-traditional couple’s rights. Any one of these core-of-who-I-am issues might be enough to divide a couple if both he and she hold strong opinions-- and are on opposite sides.

If it’s important enough to you, we recommend trying very hard to educate your partner on why you believe what you do and seek for you each to be heard and understood. Try for compatibility on your big belief before getting married-- or at least a compromise among two persons who agree to disagree but promise each other not to let differing politics negatively affect their relationship.

What Are Your Career Goals?

Talk about your career goals with your partner before you get married. You may have plans that involve significant schooling, expense, and/or risk. If you want to get that masters degree, open that business or change careers, these are the kinds of things that just-dating boyfriends and girlfriends can do casually with no worry…but when you’re married, you need to realize that the decision to do things like these will materially affect your partner as well.

Your risk choices, training and occupational goals may take considerable time and money away from your marriage. You don’t have to plan out your whole future, but if you’ve had a recurring inkling you MAY want to do something different professionally in the next 2 to 20 years, we believe your partner deserves to hear about those thoughts even before-- and well in advance of when-- you’ve made any sort of concrete plans. He or she deserves a chance to mentally prepare for the changes instead of having something sprung on them as a future surprise. 

Here's how lots of marriages fail: one of the partners develops some interest that he/she is scared to talk to his/her partner about. They say nothing for days, weeks, months, or years, until the secret gets exposed.

Don’t blindside your partner one day and make them feel like they married a stranger when they find out you’ve always wanted to move to Spain and become a trapeze artist because you hate your job, love daydreaming about the high wire and were just pretending to like your life for years: Talk, talk, talk (no secrets).

What Are Your Financial Goals?

Despite a pervasive culture that often teaches the opposite, money doesn't define your love-- and never will. And it doesn’t buy happiness, either. Still, your financial goals and accomplishments are tied to many important aspects of your life as a person-- and as a couple-- including: home ownership, vacations, investments, children’s upbringing, leisure time options and much more.

Some of our customers are extremely affluent couples. Hello $80,000 diamond wedding set affordable travel replica buyers! Others among our customers haven’t yet had much success with money (heck, even just basic financial stability seems like a fond dream as they scrape by working entry-level jobs whose income is consumed paying for basics like food, rent and household bills). 

A man in either circumstance may choose an alternative to diamonds for an engagement ring, and at we offer well-made, quality precious metal 5A cubic zirconia jewelry visually indistinguishable from flawless diamonds to the naked eye AND less expensive than diamonds— but not cheap, and backed by a lifetime warranty.

For the affluent, it’s a way to milk the Diamond Mystique and keep status while spending those “Diamond Dollar Difference” dollars somewhere else. For the broke-and-in-love, it’s a way to move forward in life towards engagement and a wedding without saving some arbitrary amount of salary for a diamond proposal ring. Either way, it’s good dollars and sense in our opinion! 

What about you, dear reader? Where do you see yourself in five or 10 years financially? 25 years? Does your intended spouse share the same vision? Or does he/she have an entirely different view? 

Our number one and number two best financial tips? Get married to someone who has similar financial goals. Then stay married: one of the most common killers of wealth is the nefarious "divide by two" financial hammer-blow of divorce.

Different financial goals don’t have to spell disaster for a couple, but it’s gonna be a regular stressor in marriages-- especially if one of you is a saver and the other a spender. In that case, be sure to see the next bullet point, ok?

Spender or Saver?

Finances are among the primary reasons why couples fight. Decisions regarding spending and saving can trigger strong emotions, not to mention have a major impact on a couple's current financial well-being and future possibilities. 

Not knowing whether your partner is a spender or saver could wind up being that missing bit of awareness that drives your relationship to the brink. Can a saver ant marry a spender grasshopper? Sure, but there’s some things to think about: 9 money-saving tips (a saver ant marries a spender grasshopper).

Some people get married and sadly they do it with basically “no questions asked”. You can’t just tentatively tiptoe into marriage and expect it to be a magic matrimony machine because you have good feelings about the other person. Life is more than emotion. Your individual and mutual relationships with money do matter, too.

How Do You Divide Labor Inside / Outside of the Home?

Division of labor affects the way you and a partner will live each day. It's not something you should ever overlook if you are contemplating marriage. Will you both earn income? Will you both contribute to household chores? 

Do you have strong feelings about traditional or evolving marital roles? A man who expects a wife to stay home as a cook and cleaner, raising children while ironing, sewing and budgeting ought to find a wife who wants that role. Anything else is going to end in bitter tears.

We don’t care what you do, but the division of household labor and work are topics that need discussing before you make a legally and/or spiritually–binding lifetime commitment. Here’s one way Mr. and Mrs. Cubic Zirconia figured these questions out for ourselves: Spending a little money for a housekeeper: easy way for couples to avoid stress, buy more time alone and time together.

What Are Your Deal Breakers?

If your marriage is anything like ours, you’ll end up tolerating certain annoying quirks, habits and idiosyncrasies in your spouse over the course of your marriage. However, that’s not to say everything is-- or should be-- tolerable. But BEFORE you get married is the best time to discuss where you don’t have any flexibility or sense of humor around a certain topic. They may call it a deal-breaker or a ‘hill to die on’ but what he or she is saying is that there are certain behaviors in a romantic relationship which are simply intolerable.

Common deal breakers for some couples are things like: spending large sums of money without consulting your mate, sexual infidelity, or substance abuse. Yet in other couples substance usage is mutually agreeable (and even desirable). Still other couples define “infidelity” much differently (‘have sex with whomever you want, but always use protection, and don’t lie to me about it’). 

Still, we haven't really met any married man or woman who wants his/her partner to spend a bunch of money without a heads-up or a request-- but we do know couples whose threshold of how much money to spend without checking in with the other partner is 100x greater -- and 10x lesser-- than our own. Our advice: you should mutually decide as a couple the dollar amount threshold before marriage you’ll each be okay with the other spouse spending on a single thing without checking with each other.

It's important to discuss you and your partner's ‘deal-breakers' so that each is aware of your values, boundaries and what behaviors you are not willing to tolerate. Not sure how to bring up the topic in a non-threatening way, dear reader? Relax, it’s as easy as watching a movie together with him/her: List of Top Movies to Set the Stage for Crucial Couples’ Conversations

How Do You Feel about Professional Counseling?

Most couples face challenges when they find it difficult to get on the same page. Before tying the knot, we think it’s imperative to know each other’s answer to the question: “How willing are you to seek professional help when it's needed?”

Sure you can see, hear and feel what your future spouse looks like, sounds like, feels like, walks like, talks like.  Your physical senses may say ‘yes’ but your common sense might tell you  a resounding ‘NO’ if you just have the courage to give your thinking brain ALL of the information it needs to make a smart decision.

But in order to know if you’re gonna be compatible for a lifetime takes…*drumroll* a friggin’ lifetime. Yet making a lifetime commitment for marriage invariably happens before you’re at the end of your life. Oh, the quandary!

In our opinion, one pre-marriage question helps answer many others after you get married: in case it’s needed, how do you feel about counseling? Ask him/her that question now, and don’t risk finding out later that he/she has a totally different opinion of the value of counseling to your own. If he believes a good shrink mind wrap is necessary to get out of bed each week and she thinks therapists are only for weak people with no self discipline, that’s a recipe for disaster.

CAVEAT: We as a couple have not entered couple’s counseling together, but we’ve both availed ourselves at numerous times of professional counseling services-- especially when suggested to do so by our partner to tackle one specific issue we feel is coming between us. We aren’t big fans of counseling-as-a-forever-service; we do the sessions, come to grips with the issue, and try to move on with our lives.

Today, it's much more common for individuals and couples alike to seek outside help with their struggles, but some people may feel uncomfortable about sharing issues related to their marriage with anyone. It's helpful to know up front if you’re gonna be on your own...or able to seek help and know that he/she will not close the door on that possibility for counseling help without considering it.

How Do You Feel About Pets?

Pets can sometimes drive couples apart. Some people are animal lovers and some people are most decidedly not. It's important to know if your dog or cat-- or desire to own a four-legged bestie (or other critter)-- is going to be a dealbreaker for your partner before your impulsive actions to adopt-a-pet drive your partner to distraction-- or even out the door!

In our case, Mr. and Mrs. Cubic Zirconia have both had or brought home prospective pets the other didn’t really want. And while we’ve navigated this minefield respectfully through quiet conversation, firm boundaries and definite decisions together to keep a critter or not-- and yes, some tears and a few flying saucers, too-- there’s still some bitter blood if one of us steps on kitty litter.

2023 UPDATE from Mrs. Cubic Zirconia: OK, on re-reading this, I can’t let this stand unchallenged. After all, I trained MY cats to pee and poop in the bathroom toilet (yes, it can be done, check Youtube!). It’s my husband’s fault he literally scared the shit out of one who lost his training after being yelled at for going potty in the “human” toilet (seriously Mr. Cubic Zirconia?).

Who Are the Most Important People (Other Than You) In Your Significant Other's Life?

Couples can sometimes run into issues when it comes to individual friends as opposed to friends of the ‘couple.' Do you already have a good number of friends in common? That’s great if you do, but if not…the question is: are you willing to try to make friends with some of the people-- and/or their significant others-- that your future husband/wife already likes? Or does the idea give you bad feelings?

How comfortable are you with the people you partner spends time with? Do you feel he/she has good relationships with-- and boundaries with, too-- their family members? Have you expressed your dislike or distrust of someone in your partner’s family and felt you’ve been heard and understood? 

What about his/her co-workers? So many friendships in the 21st century seem to revolve around work friends. Are these the kinds of people you want coming to dinner in the years after you get married to this person? 

One partner may view a certain person as a negative influence on their significant other and/or on the couple’s relationship. Of the questions to ask before getting married, this one often gets overlooked…and it shouldn’t be forgotten, dear reader: “Are you willing to leave ___person in your life I hate/distrust__ somewhat/mostly behind when we move forward together?” Don’t be scared to talk these feelings over before you tie the knot (it’ll save a lot of regret years later).

Is Living Close to Family Important to Your Significant Other?

Each individual's family can definitely have an impact on the relationship. The general advice is to be sure you're comfortable with your partner's family as they're going to be ‘yours' too, but what about family as it pertains to distance? It’s something that often causes untold tension in couples and isn’t commonly tackled about during the courtship period of a couple before marriage (unless they are already planning a move!).

Living close to family members who are not supportive of the marriage or who have a negative impact on it can strain the relationship and become a chronic issue. 

And even when the family relationship is totally positive and you like living near them…what happens if a future emergency such as a child’s allergy, family illness, or lost job makes it imperative to move out of the area where his/her family or both of their families live(s)?

What about a time-limited opportunity like a new job, new business or other important desire that would be easier or requires a move away from the fam in order to secure?  Is that going to be a discussion a couple can have at that time? Or do you already know that your or his/her mind is already closed forever to the idea of living farther away from family than right now? Best to find out now, kids.

Let’s talk about Hobbies and Leisure Time…

A few of his hobbies you like most are making savvy investments, planning getaway vacations, giving massages without the expectation of reciprocation, buying flowers, and listening. That kind of guy exists, but unfortunately most ladies truthfully never do marry a man with all of those boxes checked!

Least-favorite hobbies might include dumpster diving, ant-keeping, spending entire days with fantasy sports, treating his prize-competitive-duck-herding alpha female dog like his wife, and obsessive meme painting (yeah it’s a real thing).

Frankly, most divorce attorneys have a business based on the fact that too many married couples are made up of 2 people who didn’t ask the right questions before tying the knot. Like “WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN WE AREN’T TOGETHER?”

One area that couples often overlook to examine for compatibility is how they each individually spend leisure time. Your hobbies can impact how you both want to (and can afford to) spend your time. While it's perfectly healthy to have hobbies that differ from your spouse, it's also nice to have shared interests.

Do you share many interests? Do you have ANY shared interests?

Are his hobbies things you consider dumb? Are her hobbies dull things you can’t possibly see yourself joining her in doing? Sure, couples ought to have plenty time apart-- and hobbies do provide that-- but you probably don’t want to marry someone whose hobby or hobbies you feel is/are so dull or dumb that you can’t even imagine listening to them talk about it-- much less giving up a night or a weekend of quality time to let them continue doing it after the wedding.

How Do You Like to Spend Vacation Time?

Have you discussed vacation time dreams with your husband- or wife-to-be? In our opinion, you should. We aren’t talking just about lake vs beach vs city vs country vs mountain, either. The “Where do you want to travel?” bucket list that gets checked off is cool, but it’s not the only thing to talk about. 

Do you prefer to take a road trip or take time off work being a homebody? When one partner likes to hike and camp out alone in the wilds and another prefers to bring the whole family along for a spending orgy of luxury cabins and five-star excursions, it can impact vacation enjoyment and finances, too.

Most of life for most of us won’t be vacation time. It’ll be the daily grind and the regular routine that make up the ordinary days, with vacation being the shorter, hopefully-hella-fun time in-between longer periods of work and sacrifice. 

So when we make a plan to ‘get away from it all’, we often have very specific ideas about what we want to do (and not do), who we want to be with (and who we’d prefer to leave behind). The best thing to do? Acknowledge your differences and make a pre-marital plan that sometimes you’ll vacation the way he enjoys most-- and sometimes the way she enjoys most. And who knows…maybe you’ll get lucky enough to just enjoy all the same stuff!

Are You and Your Significant Other Sexually Compatible?

Sex is among the most common issues about which couples argue the longest and the fiercest. Consider all the ways you and your partner may or may not be compatible and incompatible in your views on sex. The incompatibilities can prove disastrous. When one partner or both feels frustrated or dissatisfied, it may be a difficult-- or even impossible-- situation to fix. 

How Do You and Your Significant Other Handle Conflict?

If someone goes into a lifetime commitment basically thinking nothing more than: “We love each other. This is meant to be. Let's join our lives together, forever” our humble opinion, it’s total marital suicide to act as cavalier as that simplistic attitude. 

It’s the kind of dumbness that makes some couples avoid conflict before marriage-- to bite your tongue, and pretend to be okay with something you aren’t (hoping that the problem will magically just  ‘go away’). Problems don’t usually solve themselves.

How you and your significant other handle conflict in your relationship is a HUGE predictor of whether your marriage will go the distance or sputter out in second gear. 

Do you clam up or go on a tirade? Are you confident in communicating feelings? Is your partner? Do you think it’s a good idea to use the silent treatment? To withhold sex or affection during an argument? It's not just a good idea to understand how the both of you will approach the challenges that inevitably come up in your relationship-- we think it’s a necessity. 

This is in our list of questions to ask before getting married, but really handling conflict is less a question to ask someone and more a show-and-tell that you’ve probably-- hopefully-- already seen just during the courting phase when the two of you have a strong disagreement about something.. 

It’s a question you ask yourself, too. Can you accept 20, 30, 50 years of the same kind of conflict resolution you’ve experienced during dating? The way in which you solve disagreements may get better, smoother and nicer as the two of you grow closer…but then again, it may not. 

How Does Your Significant Other Express Love?

Just because 2 people make vows and legally bind their lives together, doesn't mean they know how or will make a consistent effort to make their partner feel loved, desired, or even noticed. Some people are more innately expressive than others. Others have a difficult time expressing tenderness and love.

We’re big believers in the 5 love languages model of showing and telling someone you love them-- not just romantic relationships but with friends, family, parents and children, too. Never read the book? In short, the ways people express love most and want are usually one of these: acts of service, words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, and gifts. Find out which love language your lover wants and needs most…and you’ve got a head start on pleasing him/her and showing them how much you love, respect and appreciate them.

In closing, let’s say this…

These days, there's a lot of “Look how many LIKES I got on my engagement ring photos!”. Social media is full of lots of pre-wedding excitement in our little echo chambers. But unfortunately, in our experience, there’s very little real conversation about what comes after the altar.

Frankly, the two of us can personally tell you about multiple "permanent unions" someone we know made more or less just to try to keep feeling that temporary endorphin rush of being the center of attention that starts with announcing your engagement.

Add that to family pressure, societal pressure and peer pressure from it really such a surprise to anyone that a decision to take the plunge and get married in the midst of sipping from this calamitous cocktail often ends in divorce instead of just a new apartment and a roommate sharing the bills?

We’re not saying we have all the answers. If you’ve followed us for long, you know:
A) that isn’t true, B) we aren’t perfect, C) we’ve had significant challenges as a couple.

All we’re saying is that couples heading toward matrimony ought to discuss these questions, ideally, before they're married and in the heat of conflict. 

Ignoring these questions is a mistake you won’t pay for until it’s too late. 

Give yourselves the gift of knowing in advance of wedding plans if your issues are surmountable or not.

With love and gratitude,

Mr. and Mrs. Cubic Zirconia (online since 1999)

September 2023 UPDATE: Our soon-to-be-completed marriage compatibility quiz will help aspiring newlyweds define the questions to ask BEFORE getting married-- to help ensure you've got the right person and avoid major mistakes that are likely to end in divorce. 

* Yeah, we’ve been asked by business partners and part-time workers not to say controversial things like “Marriage is a lifetime’s commitment”, “Many marriages never should have happened”, or “Most divorces were avoidable”. 

Yet despite knowing some people might be offended, we still speak our truth. Honesty is part of our business philosophy-- and a strange thing happened on the path to deciding we’d tell the truth before worrying about making sales…we began attracting engagement ring customers who think the way we do-- including not only first-time newlyweds but also men and women about to embark on a second or third marriage (and hoping to hell they won’t repeat the mistakes of the first failed attempt on the marriage-go-round). 

Truth to profit! Who’d a thunk it?