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The 36 Questions That Will Make You Not Hate Your Husband After Having Kids

Mandy Len Catron’s “ To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This,” which highlighted a study by the psychologist Arthur Aron on how to build intimacy by asking 36 questions, has been among the most popular New York Times Modern Love columns ever.

“One key pattern associated with the development of a close relationship among peers is sustained, escalating, reciprocal, personal self-disclosure,” according to the study.

After reading so many articles and books about the unequal division of labor in the home between heterosexual couples after they have a baby, and how many couples never has essential conversations about becoming parents, it seemed like a good idea to shape 36 questions to see if your partner will be the kind of man you want to have kids with and the kind of father you want your children to have — and whether you’ll end up hating him or not. So I did.

You’ll definitely want to ask more than 36 questions if you’re planning to raise children with a romantic partner and hope to have an equitable partnership. But this is a good place to start.

SET I

1. Why is having children important to you?

2. In what ways would you want your child to have the same childhood you had? In what ways would you want it to be different?

3. What does a good mom do?

4. What does a good dad do?

5. In what ways are women naturally geared toward being mothers?

6. In what ways are men naturally geared toward being fathers?

7. Has a partner ever aborted or miscarried a child of yours? If so, what was that like?

8. What would you be willing to do if you couldn’t have a child of your own? Adopt, IVF, surrogate, be childfree?

9. Are you ambivalent about having children and, if so, why??

10. When have children ever annoyed you?

11. Is it important to you to have a son?

12. Is it more enjoyable to be with babies or older children? Why?

SET II

13. Is it important for you to have the mother of your child breastfeed?

14. What do you know about the changes a woman goes through in pregnancy?

15. What do you know about the changes a woman goes through post-partum?

16. Do you feel comfortable feeding, bathing, changing, comforting and caring for a baby?

17. How much time will you take off after your baby is born? Why?

18. Many parents talk about the lack of sleep and loss of sex that happens in the first year after having a baby. What will bother you more and why?

19. In what ways do you feel ready to be a father? In what ways do you feel you are not ready?

20. In what ways do you think being a father will limit your life? In what ways will it expand it?

21. In what ways was your father a good father?

22. In what ways was your mother a good mother?

23. What are your favorite memories of time spent alone with your father?

24. What are your favorite memories of time spent alone with your mother?

SET III

25. How did your parents handle the household chores? The caregiving? Did they enjoy it?

26. How neat and clean was your childhood home? Who cared more about the cleanliness of the house?

27. You and your partner are at work. Your child’s preschool calls because your child is sick and needs to be picked up; would you prefer the school call you or your partner, and why?

28. Your child’s birthday is coming up. In what ways will you be involved in planning the party, from the invites, decorations, food and gifts to the thank-you cards, and why?

29. How do you like to spend your time when you get home from work? In what ways do you think having a child will change that and why?

30. How do you like to spend your weekends/time off work? In what ways do you think having a child will change that and why?

31. You are solo-parenting for the weekend. Share in detail how you will be spending your time.

32. How important is it for you to know your child’s principal, teachers, doctors, dentists, coaches, friends, etc.? In what ways do you see yourself being in contact with them?

33. How important is it for you to know how your child spends his/her throughout the day? In what ways do you see yourself participating in his/her daily activities?

34. Your partner needs bed rest for weeks. What additional tasks do you see yourself needing to take on?

35. Who do you believe should adjust work schedules when your child is sick, has time off from school, has a medical/dental appointment, etc., and why, you or your partner? Why?

36. What does “family time” mean to you and what does it look like?

Want to know how to create a marital contract so you don’t have to deal with gendered bullshit? (Of course you do!) Then read The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels (Seal Press). You can support your local indie bookstore (please do) or order it on Amazon.

Originally published at http://omgchronicles.vickilarson.com

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