We’ve all asked our kids, What do you want to be when you grow up? Some of their answers may have been an astronaut, a teacher, a baseball player, a firefighter, a veterinarian, even the President of the United States. And it’s fun to dream with them. But have you considered having a similar conversation about their future spouse? That is: What kind of person do you want to marry one day?
In recent years, many have claimed that marriage is a dying institution, with some abandoning it altogether. But the truth is that marriage is here to stay, and most kids and young adults still have a desire to get married someday. [Tweet This] You can guide them in that choice, whether they are 10 or 20 years old, by discussing it with them long before they walk the aisle.
So sit down with your child. Ask the following questions and write down their answers so you can keep it as a reference. You and your child may want to use it to evaluate future potential mates.
1. What character qualities do you want in your future spouse? Ask them to describe the traits of the person they want to marry. Don’t judge their answers. Listen to them, and ask why they chose certain traits. Help them figure out which are important and which are trivial.
2. Do you imagine marrying someone a lot like you or totally different than you? Some say, “Opposites attract.” Some say, “Opposites attack!” There’s really no scientific formula on what’s best. So just listen to their answer and then ask how they came to that conclusion.
3. What do you want to accomplish with your spouse in life?
As author Gary Thomas says, “There isn’t a person alive who can keep you enthralled for the next five or six decades.” He adds that no matter how intensely in love spouses feel when they marry, they will get bored and drift apart if they get married without a shared mission. See if your child values purpose over infatuation in their marriage ideals.
4. What are the three most important “must haves” or “must be” in a potential spouse?
For example, they might say, “He must be cute or smart.” And hopefully, they will say that they must have a spouse who likes your family! And that their spouse must be a Christian. Susan and I have consistently told our children that is the #1 requirement.
Some of your child’s answers to these questions will seem silly, and some will seem heavy. Either way, remember to listen well because every answer reveals a little bit of your child’s heart. It’s never too early to start these conversations…and it’s never too late.
Author Gary Thomas mentioned above has written several books including Sacred Search. It is an excellent book that every child should read well before they get married. I’m going to encourage all of my children to read it.
To hear more from Gary Thomas, check out our podcast. And for more ideas on topics to discuss, check out this list of premarital questions to ask before saying, “I do” here.
What other questions do you think are important to ask your kids about their future spouse? Share them in the comments below.