Bilal Dannoun is a renowned Islamic and Civil marriage celebrant based in Sydney, Australia. He is an experienced marriage counsellor, offering marital advice with a blend of Islamic texts and modern day research.
Why do you want to get married? What are your expectations?
Have you been married before? How many times?
Are you married now?
Tell me about your education?
Do you have any particular habits I should know about?
Would you call yourself an introvert or extrovert?
What are 5 things that make life wonderful?
Have you learnt any lessons from a previous relationship?
“Keep your eyes wide open before marriage and half-shut afterwards.” Is this approach beneficial at times
Describe your top three perceived gender differences.
Do you have a grand vision for your marriage? If so, what is it?
What are your needs in a relationship?
What can you offer your spouse; spiritually, emotionally, materially?
What do you expect from your spouse religious-wise, emotionally, and materially?
How do you believe the relationship between a husband & wife should be?
Do you believe that technology would enhance or disrupt your relationship?
Do you think it’s important to go to bed with your spouse at the same time?
Could you manage in a relationship that increased your personal power/wealth/social status, even if it lacked somewhat in love?
When you see me, do you think “There you are!” or “Here I am”?
Is life too short to stay in a marriage that hurts?
Would you like for your spouse to share your perspective and world view, or do you enjoy differences?
What do you perceive as your worst imaginable marriage partner?
How important is intellectual compatibility to you?
If trust is broken, are there ways it may be regained?
It has been said that “A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person” (Mignon McLaughlin). What ways can this be achieved?
Do you think that some things should be left unsaid or is honesty the “best policy”?
“I never knew what real happiness was until I got married. And by then it was too late.” (Max Kaufman). Do you think these sorts of comments are hurtful or humorous?
What foundations do you think relationships should be built upon?
What do you think is the best preparation for a long term committed relationship?
Do you know how to give comfort?
What do you think your greatest strength would be as a spouse?
Describe two things you have in common and two differences (each).
How do you demonstrate/express love?
What is the greatest fear that you have for your spouse?
What things increase feelings of love?
Do you make assumptions about gender roles? (follow up question: “What role should your spouse have in the relationship?”).
What is one word that would describe this relationship?
Prince Phillip once said that “When a man opens the car door for his wife, it is either a new car or a new wife.” How would you rate the importance of manners and etiquette
in a relationship?
What means considerably more to you than your significant other?
To what extent do you think that a sense of individual freedom is a necessary component in a relationship?
Do you think falling in love is a big part of a relationship?
If one of us is in the public eye, how can we preserve our relationship?
Do you believe that there is a fine line between engaging in separate activities that will either enrich or move relationships apart?
“What counts is not how compatible you are but how you deal with incompatibility” (Leo Tolstoy). How does this quote make you feel?
Is there a project that you would like to collaborate with your spouse on?
In what ways do you think mutual encouragement can be facilitated to promote growth for your spouse?
In what ways would you like your spouse to provide assistance in.
“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” What place does comedy and laughter have in a marriage?
How do you think power in a marriage should be distributed?
In which areas are competence and incompetence attractive?
Is exclusivity a factor in experiencing love?
Does religion play a major role in your life? Do you practice its fundamental teachings?
Can you read the Qur’an in Arabic?
How many chapters from the Qur’an have you memorised?
Have you memorised any hadiths from the Prophet (peace be upon him)?
Do you adopt the ideas of any particular group? If so, why? Since when?
What is your relationship between yourself and your Muslim brethren in your area?
Have you ever volunteered for any Islamic, religious or social activities?
Is there anything in the religion that you feel doesn’t make sense? If so, please give your reasons why.
What is your stance on meat slaughtered by the people of the book in this country? Do you consider it Halal?
Do you eat food that contains ‘Gelatin’ that does not have any halal endorsement?
What would you sacrifice to achieve your goals? Would you bear in mind any Islamic principles or repercussions?
How does Islam infuse with your life?
Allah(SWT) encourages to reflect upon his creation. How is your relationship with nature?
Family & Home
Describe to me an ideal night in.
What’s the meaning of family for you?
How is your relationship with each of your family members?
What do you like to do with your family, and how often?
What do you expect your relationship with the family of your spouse to be?
What do you expect your spouse’s relationship with your family to be?
Is there anyone in your family living with you now?
Are you planning to have anyone in your family live with you in the future?
Do you mind having guests in your home on a regular basis?
What is your opinion of speaking other languages in the home that I do not understand such as with your family or friends?
What do you believe makes a house, a home?
Describe to me your dream home.
In an ideal world, where you would like to live?
1Do you have a recipe for fostering a successful relationship with your family (in-laws)?
What qualities do you look for in a friend?
Who are your friends and how did you come to know them? (Identify at least 3)
What do you like most about them?
Do you have friends of the opposite sex? What is the level of your relationship with them now?
What will the level of your relationship with them be after marriage?
What type of relationship do you want your spouse to have with your friends?
What sort of relationship would you expect your spouse to have with his/her friends?
How do you make important and less important decisions in your life?
It was once said that “Only chose as a mate someone who you would also choose as a friend” (Keith Lamb). Does this statement resonate with you?
Is it okay to have separate friends that you associate with regularly?
Do you think it is important for your spouse to approve of your social circle?
Do you take preference over making new friends or established ones?
Anger, Abuse & Conflict
Does non-verbal communication play an important part in understanding someone?
Do you use foul language at home? In public? With family or friends?
Do your friends or family use foul language?
How do you expect your spouse to express anger?
When there is a dispute in your marriage, religious or otherwise, how should the conflict get resolved? When should mediation be initiated?
Can you let bygones be bygones?
What things make you angry?
What offence/action/statement would you find hard to forgive?
How do you manage anger?
Do you hear people out before interjecting?
Is it better to calm differences or to discuss it?
Can you peacefully agree to disagree on some issues rather than having either one of us sacrifice or conceal beliefs and values?
Do you think it is something positive to have differing views on “hot-topic” areas (such as politics)?
When something is wrong, do you pick up a mirror or a magnifying glass?
Do you process your issues internally or out loud?
Are problems categorised as mine, yours or ours?
Do you have any prejudices? What assumptions to you tend to make?
Is there a subject/area that you will fully avoid for the sake of keeping the peace?
Do you admit your mistakes?
Walk me through the way you to conflict or a crisis.
What would you do if you felt that you had been abused?
Who would you call for assistance if you were being abused?
If someone has wronged you, what do you think should be done? How do you want him/her to apologise to you?
Is there a dignified way to end a relationship?
Do you find it harder to forgive or forget?
“A good marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” Are you able to easily forgive?
Do you collect conflict and injustices?
Are you able to separate the issue at hand from the person?
What would you think an “endearing” fault is?
Interests, Talents & Skills
Describe to me an ideal night out.
Tell me some of your passions and interests that you have had since you were a child.
In what ways do you like to relax?
Are you more of an outdoor or indoor person?
How do you think your spouse should spend his/her vacations or do in their free time?
Describe to me how you would spend a “perfect” day/
Do you prefer routine or spontaneity?
Have you/Are you being haunted by “if only” questions about your life journey?
Do you like to read? If so, what sort of books?
Where is your ideal travel destination and with whom?
Where would you like to travel together?
Are you more spontaneous or planned when it comes to having fun?
When you are leaving for a trip, do you start early or when you are ready?
How do you prevent boredom in your life?
Describe to me an environment that will allow your talents and ambitions to come to fruition.
Do you consider yourself competitive, and if so in what areas?
In what area are you most creative?
Do you have a hobby or interest that may have a negative effect on the relationship?
Are there any social occasions that bore you?
What skills to you possess?
Tell me which season of the year you enjoy the most.
To what degree is physical appearance important to you?
Do you suffer from any chronic disease or condition?
Are you willing to take a physical exam by a physician before marriage?
What is your understanding of proper health and nutrition?
How do you support your own health and nutrition?
If I suffer from a disease (or currently am), how will you react to it?
If I am infertile, what would you do?
If any of the children are born disabled, how would you react to that?
Describe to me your relationship with food.
Do you work? If so, where?
How do you think that your use of money will change after marriage?
Do you have any debts now? If so, how are you making progress to eliminate them?
Do you use credit cards?
How often do you splurge and on what?
Do you support the idea of taking Non-Islamic Bank loans to buy a new home?
What are you expecting from your spouse financially?
Do you support the idea of a working wife?
If so, how do you think a dual-income family should manage funds?
Are you investing in anything at the moment?
Is there a form of wastefulness that you particularly dislike?
What are your long term financial goals and how do you plan to achieve them?
Are you naturally a spender or saver?
Do you budget your finances? How do you think financial harmony be achieved?
To what degree is your happiness determined by worldly possessions?
Is your financial fantasy meeting your financial reality?
The cooperative shopping couple-reality or myth?
Work & Life
Do you love your job, pragmatically do your job, loathe your job or do your best to ignore it?
Does a career take precedence over a relationship?
Should changes that will impact on life be opportunities to be explored and embraced, or is it better to maintain the status quo?
It is a waste of time to…
What are some pros and cons of working together in any respect?
Do you want to have children? If not, how come?
If yes, ideally, how many children would you like to have?
Does it matter whether they are girls or boys?
Your top 5 principles of parenting?
Do you support the idea of utilising baby sitters and/or maids?
To the best of your understanding, are you able to have children?
Do you want to have children in the first two years of marriage? If not, when?
Do you believe in abortion?
Do you have children now? If so, what is your relationship with them now (and their other parent)?
What kind of relationship would you expect your spouse to have with your children and their parent?
How would you like to raise your children? i.e.: morals, extra-curricular activities, education, friends etc.
What is the best method(s) of disciplining children? Do you believe in spanking children? Under what circumstances?
What type of relationship do you want your children to have with all their grandparents?
What type of relationship should your children have with non-Muslim classmates/friends?
How do you think children should be educated?
Do you believe in public, private (any) or private Islamic school for your children?
Do you believe in home schooling for your children?
How were you raised/disciplined? Do you like the way you were raised?
Do you have any particular insecurities about anything?
What is your idea of an ideal wedding (Walima) celebration?
They say that ‘Being heard is so close to being loved.’ Are you an active listener?
Can you make an anagram of your name?
Tell me about a recent stumbling block you experienced.
Tell me about a stepping experience you experienced.
When is it best to give you space?
What do you believe are the 3 most important influences that make who you are?
On a scale of 1-10, how tidy would you say you are?
Are you someone who is punctual and upholds appointments?
Do you say “yes” or “no” more often?
Are you good at communicating your daily schedule and appointments to others?
Were conflicts dealt with in a positive manner when you were growing up? How much of your attitude towards conflict changed since then?
What things contribute to your personal happiness?
It is said that “Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing” (Albert Schweitzer). Do you lead by example or explanation?
What was your first impression when we met?
Are you possessive or sharing?
Considering that an indicator of future behaviour is reflection on past behaviour. Do you reflect and examine yours?
If you feel alone in the world, what do you do?
What habit would you like to modify?
Do you have a recurring dream or nightmare?
When and why have you felt suddenly older?
Is there a topic you tend to over-think?
Do you tend to be thoughtless or forgetful in a particular area?
How do you think you can make ordinary conversations extraordinary?
Do you give clear requests?
Do you like to discuss multiple or singular topics at the one time?
Do you take advice easily?
What things cause you anxiety?
Tell me of a situation where you showed courage.
Do you prefer to be nurtured or admired?
How do you like to be cared for when you are sick?
“I like not only to be loved, but to be told that I am loved; the realm of silence is large enough beyond the grave.” (George Elliot). How often do you like feelings reaffirmed?
What are three moments in your childhood that stand out to you?
Are you an early bird or a night owl?
Do you practice self-reflection? If so, how?
Tell me what makes you feel appreciated.
Are you one for pet names?
Positivism and negativity. What one to you tend to give and what one do you think you receive?
How do you like to be approached when you are out of sorts?
Would you prefer to work through painful memories or repress them?
“I have an habitual feeling of my real life having passed.” Do you think you are truly living the life you want? What gives you hope?
Aspiration & Goals
What are your thoughts of the future?
How much time have you spent in the past in preparation for the future?
If you could devote all your life for a cause, what would it be?
Where do you focus?
To what do you aspire?
How do you see yourself living your life as a retiree?
Do you think that it is important for spouses to share mutual goals and priorities?
“Grow old with me. The best is yet to be-the last of life for which the first was made”. What rewards do you hope of gaining during old age in a marriage?