There are so many things that go into this list.  And realistically this is just my list, since everyone has a different set of standards and values that are going to make some things more important that others.  For me I tried to narrow down the most important things that are not the most obvious.  Questions like  “Do you want children?”, “Where do you see your life in 10 years?”, and ” What are your political views?”, are not the types of questions that I am including because this is the sort of common stuff that you get through in a about a year of dating.  Me and my friends call this a vetting process.  It’s what government officials do when they are interviewing for their highest and most important positions.  (Like someone is really gonna jump through hoops to be with my obnoxious ass!)

10.  How many kids do you want to have?  Obviously we ask questions about how we feel about having kids but I think it is important to narrow down a number.  Because if a woman wants 6 and she marries a cheap skate like me who is only willing to have no more than 2 then this could be a problem.  All these things are contingent upon health, financial progression blah, blah.  But in true negotiator fashion maybe we can strike a deal.  I would commit to two with an option on a third child with further negotiating.

9.  How do you feel about Ass-whoopings?  Again….a question about children.  I take parenting very seriously even though I am not a parent.  (Maybe because of all the badass kids I see on the metro)And as a parent I will certainly not “spare the rod”.  Now I don’t forsee myself as being loose with my usage of the belt but I will absolutely not take it off the table as a measure of discipline.  I can proudly say that a little beating every now and again made me the man I am today.  Along with proper parenting of course.  I never saw the inside of the principal’s office in all my years of school unless it was for him/her to ask me about what happened with someone else.  But just like Riley on the Boondocks…..”I ain’t no snitch!”  Sincerely, this question is really just about coming to a solid consensus on how you both feel about raising kids.  Spankings or not.  I think it sucks when you have one parent who wants to be buddies and one who wants to be a disciplinarian.

8.  How much debt do you have and what is you plan for paying it off?  You have to be a damn fool to blindly inherit another grown persons debt without asking how much it is exactly and what sort of plan do you have to pay it off.  I am serious!  Most grown, single people do the right thing  and don’t stop living just because they are single.  They live.  They travel.  They go back to school.  And they spend!  Cars, Homes, Jewelry, Wardrobes, etc…these things are not cheap.  And it is not so much about the debt as it is being honest about the debt and showing your fiance that you have a plan to get rid of it and not just plan on waiting for the new dual income to knock it out.  Seems kind of rude to get a PhD in Economics and then go look for a spouse to help you pay off the loans!  So if they can’t produce an accurate account of the debt to income ratio then this engagement is a no-go!

7.  How much do you intend on still being in the street once we get married?  This is one of those sorts of questions that a lot of people don’t seem to feel the need to ask…But I damn sure do!  Let me be clear.  I have no problem with my wife going out every now and again.  I don’t mind her taking trips with her friends out-of-town for a girls weekend and I see nothing wrong with her hitting happy hour to keep connected with her friends.  Any woman who I marry will have the luxury of being with a man who doesn’t like to go out too often outside of hitting the gym with the fellas.  And I think it is important for a woman with children to be able to get breaks from being Mommy.  However, (you knew there was a but) if you are an habitual traveler then we are going to have a very serious problem.  If you are the type to go to every First Friday’s party, every Essence Festival, every Carribana, every new club opening,every College Homecoming, every sorority convention, every Vegas trip with the girls and every Ladies Cruise that the women in your family plan, then we are going to have a problem.  It’s just really important to get a sense of what a future spouse thinks is “doing too much.”  Cause all those destinations on a yearly basis, for me, is taking your recreation time to a Whole….nuva…levol!

6.  How do you feel about your relationship with your extended family and how do you feel about my relationship with mine?  I think it takes people time to figure out that they are someone’s spouse more than they are mom and dad’s son or daughter.  Your first responsibility has to change to your spouse and that is important for a couple to understand and to make their parents understand.  But beyond that often times people relate to their families differently.  For instance, I am super cool with all my cousins, aunts and uncles.  Further more I like to got to family reunions to connect with relatives that I don’t know so well.  That’s just me.  And I am not going to be comfortable with scaling that back because my significant other does not have a similar relationship with her family.   Ideally I would want her to bond with my family too, but at the very least respect the closeness that I have with my family.  As long as it does not impede with my closeness and responsibility to her.  If my fiance doesn’t like me going fishing with my uncles, calling my grandmother every other day or having my cousins over to my house to watch the game…………we might have a problem Houston!