Over at AskMen.com, there’s a video about healthy secrets within a relationship. At first, I was all, “this is going to be bullshit, yo.” Because I thought it would be some douchebag guy saying that you don’t have to tell your girlfriend about that lap dance you got last night, buddy! It’s all good! Let’s bro out!

But I stand corrected! It was a licensed psychotherapist (unless his secret is that he’s not really a licensed psychotherapist) talking about the importance of having a personal place, like a diary, to explore your most private information. He then went on, in an entirely thoughtful way, to say that in healthy relationship, hopefully some of those “secrets” can be shared and help the couple grow together.

Nice, right? Well, I would add to that that there are some things that you should definitely know at a certain point in a relationship, and that point is if you are planning to get married. There are secrets that don’t matter so much — “one time in middle school, I ditched a field trip” kind of secrets; and secrets that matter a lot — “I have $50,000 in credit card debt” kind of secrets.

That said, here is my entirely unprofessional opinion about things you should know about a person before you marry them:

  1. Debt and finances. You are marrying their debt and their money habits, so take some time to talk about it. And in addition to talking about it, pay attention to what they actually do — plenty of people talk a big game about saving and then proceed to blow the entire contents of their paycheck in one weekend.
  2. Health history. Hopefully, by this point you know if they have any STDs. You also want to know their family history, though — not just for their sake, but in case you’re planning on having kids. It’s all hereditary, remember?
  3. History of substance abuse. Whether or not your partner still has a problem with substances, you should know about their history…and you should tell them yours.
  4. Whether your partner wants kids, and basics on how you will raise them. This one can be tricky, because you might meet the perfect person and have polar opposite desires when it comes to procreation. And then you have to make a tough decision. But better to do it now than ten years from now, when your biological clock is banging down your door.
  5. Their relationship with their family. Even if they have no relationship with their family, you (and they) should know why that is. Unresolved family issues will repeat themselves if they’re not dealt with, so if your partner has blocked his or her family from their life, you both should understand — and be at relative peace with — whatever caused that rift.