This list of 183 questions was compiled by The Family & Youth Institute to help facilitate self-reflection and important conversations during courtship.

Personality and Personal Values

  1. Who are you? How would you describe yourself?
  2. If your family or friends were asked to describe you in a few words, what would they be?
  3. What values are important to you? What is your top core value?
  4. When are you at your best? What does your best look like?
  5. When are you at your worst? What does your worst look like?
  6. What is your greatest passion/joy?
  7. How do you practice gratitude in your life?
  8. What is one thing you love doing no matter how tired or busy you are? Why?
  9. How often do you think about your own mortality?
  10. What do you consider to be your strengths? What do you consider to be your weaknesses?
  11. What types of people do you find yourself gravitating towards? Why do you think that is?
  12. What would you consider to be a fulfilling life? If you were on your deathbed looking back on the life you’d lived, what would give you a sense of success?
  13. What type of legacy do you want to leave behind?

Personal Development

  1. What does personal development mean to you?
  2. Who are the people that you admire?
  3. Who is someone who has been influential in your development?
  4. What are some things about you that you wish you could change, or that you try to work on?
  5. What do you find challenging to accept about yourself?
  6. What are your short term goals (personal and professional)? Long term goals?
  7. What are you most proud of in your life?
  8. What is one failure in your life that you have learned from?
  9. What limiting beliefs hold you back?

Relationships and Marriage

  1. What are your expectations for marriage?
  2. What are your fears/concerns about marriage?
  3. What would attract you to a person?
  4. What are you looking for in a partner?
  5. What ideal would you be striving towards for yourself as a spouse?
  6. What are the signs of a meaningful relationship to you?
  7. In general terms, how do you think Islam informs the dynamic between a husband and wife?
  8. Based on our personalities, how do you think we would interact as a couple?
  9. Have you had any past relationships?
  10. How have past relationships impacted you and impacted your expectations for marriage?
  11. Do you have any lingering romantic feelings for your ex? Do you have any romantic feelings toward anyone else?
  12. What are your thoughts about polygamous relationships?
  13. Fast forward to the end of your life – what would you need to say about your marriage for you to consider it to be fulfilling/successful/positive one?
  14. Would you be willing to participate in premarital counseling?
  15. Should you encounter any problems in your marriage, would you be willing to seek counseling?  

Emotions and Intimacy

  1. How do you deal with stress and other negative emotions? Do you internalize them? Express them to others? To yourself?
  2. How comfortable are you with vulnerability? How should your spouse respond to your own vulnerability?
  3. What is your love language? What would that look like for you in a relationship? Refer to the Five Love Languages website/book.
  4. Do you find it easy to forgive those who have wronged you or do you hold grudges?
  5. What makes you feel unhappy or dissatisfied in relationships?
  6. What stresses you out the most? How do you behave when you are very stressed out?
  7. Are you a jealous person? Do you believe there is such a thing as healthy jealousy?
  8. When would you say you feel truly happy?
  9. What makes you sad?
  10. What makes you angry?
  11. How do you behave when you are angry? What do you do to manage your anger?
  12. What makes you cry? When was the last time you cried?
  13. Tell me about your attachments.
  14. How do you express love? How would you like your spouse to express love to you?
  15. What are appropriate expressions of affection in your family and in your culture?
  16. What are your expectations about sex and intimacy?

Conflict and Communication

  1. How would you describe your communication style?
  2. On a scale of 0 (no conflict ever) to 10 (loves to fight about everything), where are you?
  3. On a scale of 0 (never express a thought) to 10 (open book/TMI), where are you?  
  4. On a scale of 0 (never complains) to 10 (always complains), where are you?
  5. How do you respond to conflict?
  6. How does your family/cultural background inform what kinds of emotions you express outwardly and which you keep internal?
  7. How would you behave if you were upset with me?
  8. How would you resolve problems in marriage?
  9. Under what circumstances is divorce legitimized?
  10. Have any of your conflicts ever evolved into a physical fight? Have you ever been a perpetrator or survivor of domestic violence (physical, emotional, mental, etc)?
  11. Have you ever had any trouble with the law?
  12. What are some friction points or pet peeves that exist in some of your current relationships?

Family and In-Laws

  1. Tell me about your family.
  2. Describe your childhood. How did your socioeconomic status and ethnic culture impact your upbringing?
  3. Tell me about your siblings and your family dynamics.
  4. What personality trait would you say you have most in common with your father? Your mother?
  5. How did your parents’ marriage impact your own expectations, hopes, and fears about marriage?
  6. What have you observed about your parents’ relationship that you would like to emulate or not emulate?
  7. Have you experienced or witnessed abuse in your home? How has this affected you?
  8. In your family, which matters are considered private and which matters are considered public? Who are private matters discussed with?
  9. What does “family time” look like in your family?
  10. What are your expectations for your in-laws?
  11. What type of relationship would you like with your in-laws?
  12. What expectations do your parents have for my relationship with them?
  13. What expectations do you have for my relationship with your parents? What about members of your extended family?
  14. What adjustments do you think I will have to make as a new member of your family?
  15. What are some things that your parents and family may find offensive?
  16. What are some things that I can do to honor them and develop the relationship with them?
  17. What involvement will your parents and your spouse’s parents have in your family life and decision-making?

Gender Roles and Decision Making

  1. What role do you envision for yourself as a partner? What do these roles look like on an everyday basis, and how flexible are they?
  2. How do you feel about traditional gender roles? What are your expectations for your spouse in this regard?
  3. Who will manage household responsibilities in marriage, for example cooking, cleaning, shopping for groceries, paying bills, etc?
  4. Would you be supportive of a working and activist spouse? What about when children are in the picture?
  5. How do you expect your spouse to interact with someone from the opposite gender?
  6. What are your expectations for your spouse regarding your friendships?
  7. How much access should each partner have to each other’s computers, phones, emails, etc?
  8. How do you make decisions? How long do you typically take to make a decision?
  9. What was the most difficult decision you’ve ever had to make?
  10. Who do you go to when you are dealing with problems or have to make major decisions?
  11. Which decisions do you expect us to make together? What kind of decisions do you expect to make independently?

Lifestyle and Career

  1. What type of lifestyle do you hope for when you are married? What lifestyle would you consider ideal for your family?
  2. What family traditions did/does your family uphold? What’s the story or significance behind these traditions?
  3. Which of those traditions do you plan to honor within your own family?
  4. Are there new traditions you would like to create with your spouse and children?
  5. What role has education (both formal and informal) played in your life?
  6. What does your career pathway look like, and where are you in that journey?
  7. How do you make the decision to stay or leave if you are unhappy in a relationship or a job?
  8. How do you feel about my career choice?
  9. Are you planning to go back to school?
  10. Where is “home” for you? Do you plan to settle there, or do you envision yourself moving frequently?
  11. What places would you like to live?
  12. Do your career goals and life goals bind you geographically? Would you have an issue moving?
  13. Are you a homebody? Are you adventurous?
  14. What does your typical day look like?
  15. What would an ideal weekend look like for you?
  16. What does “relaxation” mean to you? What do you like to do in your free time? How important is it for you to share time in some of these activities with your spouse?
  17. How much of your time do you currently spend in leisure?
  18. Do you volunteer? Why or why not?
  19. When was the last time you voted?

Finances

  1. How would you describe your relationship with money?
  2. How would you describe your family’s relationship with money throughout your upbringing and now?
  3. What is your current financial state (savings, debt, income), and how will this impact your potential spouse?
  4. How do you currently spend, and how does this reflect what you value financially?
  5. What do you consider to be a “major purchase?”
  6. How much money do you normally spend on a monthly basis?
  7. How will you plan for your family’s financial needs?
  8. Which financial decisions do you plan to consult your spouse about?  
  9. How many bank accounts do you think should be active in a marriage?
  10. How much of your annual income do you donate to charity?
  11. Do you have any outstanding debt?

Children

  1. What are your expectations about children? How many children do you hope to have and when?
  2. Who do you think should care for them? Will nannies and daycare be an option?
  3. What if we can’t have children?
  4. What type of parenting style did your parents use with you growing up?
  5. What type of upbringing, education, and parent-child relationship do you wish to provide for your own children?
  6. What kind of character would you want your children to embody? How do you envision developing these character traits in your children?
  7. Did you live in a bubble growing up? Would you want to raise your children in a bubble?
  8. Do you believe your children should go to an Islamic school?
  9. How do you feel about adoption?
  10. What are your thoughts about using contraceptives for family planning?

Health

  1. How do you take care of your health?
  2. Are you at an elevated risk for any diseases, whether hereditary or self-induced?
  3. Have you ever been diagnosed with any illness (physical or mental)?
  4. Are you on any medications?
  5. Have you ever dieted before?
  6. Have you ever been a smoker? Do you currently smoke?
  7. Do you expect that you and your spouse will test for STIs before marriage?

Religion and Spirituality

  1. What did your religious education look like?
  2. What are your goals around religious education for yourself?
  3. What expectations do you have about religious education for your spouse and your children?
  4. How would you navigate religious differences and practices with your spouse?
  5. When do you feel most spiritual? When do you feel least spiritual?
  6. Have you ever had a spiritual crisis?
  7. What’s your favorite verse of the Quran?
  8. What type of friendship/relationship do you have with the Quran?
  9. Do you know how to read the Quran in Arabic?
  10. Do you have any expectations about how men and women should dress? What does modesty mean to you?
  11. What are your expectations about gender relations in social, professional, and community settings?
  12. What are your thoughts about music?
  13. Do you prefer a thabiha diet?
  14. What do you think of the unmosqued phenomena?
  15. How do you define “community”?
  16. How often do you participate in activities at the mosque?
  17. Are you involved in any Muslim community? Why or why not?

Culture

Note: While these questions will help you understand more about the role that culture plays in someone’s life, understanding a potential spouse’s family dynamics will also shed light on the cultural expectations he/she may have for you as a potential spouse. Be sure to pair this list with questions from the section on FAMILY & IN-LAWS.

  1. Tell me about your country of origin or the cultural/ethnic identities you identify with.
  2. What is the cultural background of your closest family friends? Did you grow up around people who were predominantly of your own culture?
  3. How often are you in spaces where you are of a minority culture? How do you navigate such spaces?
  4. Have you considered someone with a different cultural background as a potential spouse before? If so, what are some challenges you faced?
  5. Are your parents open to a daughter-in-law or son-in-law from another culture or race?  
  6. What conflicts do you perceive us having to manage because of our cultural differences?
  7. How will we address cultural differences and misunderstandings between us and between our families?
  8. What language will we speak with one another? What language will we speak with our children? What language will we speak with one another’s parents and extended family?  
  9. Are you willing to invest time in learning another language in order to better relate to your in-laws?
  10. How can we form a relationship with extended family members with whom we don’t share a common language?
  11. What kind of food will we eat in our home?
  12. What cultural traditions are important to you?
  13. What are the expectations for a spouse in your culture? Do your expectations align with these expectations?
  14. What culture(s) do you envision your children marrying into?
  15. What motivates you to invest in an intercultural relationship?

Courtship and Wedding Traditions

  1. Ideally, what would the process of getting married look like to you?
  2. What are your expectations about how we get to know one another/the courtship process?
  3. What are your family’s expectations about how we get to know one another/the courtship process?
  4. Do you feel comfortable moving forward? Why or why not?
  5. Do you have a specific timeline in mind?
  6. How did previous courtship processes look like for you?
  7. If a visit where to happen, what are your family’s expectations from this visit? Is this a normal part of the consideration process for them, or does this step signify anything more?
  8. What do you wish for your wedding to look like?
  9. How much does the average wedding in your community cost? How do you feel about that?
  10. What are your family’s expectations about the wedding?
  11. Which traditions and customs are important for you and your family to incorporate into wedding celebrations?