Relationship Skills

Family Resources on Choosing a Marriage Partner

Project and Purpose

Students will discuss and create a poster to help teach others about the responsibilities they should expect to deal with in early adulthood.

Essential Questions

What considerations should be made regarding growing to adulthood and choosing a long-term intimate partner/spouse?

If this lesson was used in the classroom: Students analyzed important life decisions and how marriage and choosing a marriage partner affects their own autonomy. In class students discussed how romantic relationships change as a person grows from adolescence into adulthood. In groups students discussed decision making as a couple compared to decision making as a single person and how being in a marriage or long-term relationship is different with differing considerations.

Getting Ready for the Conversation

The video for this module features an adult married couple named Wendy and Todd. Wendy and Todd discuss their considerations and goals when they decided to marry; they also discuss the types of decisions they now make together as they are expecting their first child.

Conversation notes:
Couples who are married or in committed intimate relationships manage decision-making uniquely compared to any other type of relationship. Even adolescents who live in two-parent households are often unaware of how committed couples make decisions as partners. Adolescents often are unprepared for decisions about choosing a partner and how partners make mutual decisions.

Ten Tips for choosing a spouse by Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D. at Psychology Today:

The wrong kind of nonverbal communication can be a problem in marriage by Alicia Munoz at Greater Good Magazine:

Constructive Conversation Starters

The first item is for follow-up after participating in class activities.

Tell me (or us) about the life timeline activity from class. What were the important decisions your group highlighted? What is different about making decisions with a partner compared to making decisions by yourself? Why is it important to understand how to make decisions as a couple?

What do you think are the most important qualities of a person that you might wish to share your life with? Why do you think these qualities are important? What qualities do you think you could offer someone else? Why do you think these qualities are important?

The video and the lesson activities focused on decision making, specifically making decisions as partners. Why do you think this was done? Why is it important to learn to make decisions (especially big decisions) mutually?

School to Home Resources on Choosing a Marriage Partner


  • Review video clip “Adulthood” Part 2
  • Posters or poster sized pieces of paper
  • Markers and writing utensils


Review and restate session norms. These should remind students how to interact and communicate respectfully. The topic involves intimate relationships and should be discussed appropriately. Essential question should be prominently displayed.
[2-3 minutes]

Activity 1

Watch the CWK documentary ilm clip “Adulthood” Part 2.

[10 minutes]

Activity 2

Individual Reflection
Ask students the following questions. Give students time to think and possibly write down some answers or thoughts.

  • Wendy and Todd said that they waited to get married. Wendy says, “we really waited… and experienced life as individuals and had our own fun [before we got married]”. Do you think that is good advice? Why or why not?
  • Why did Wendy and Todd wait to have a baby?
  • What changes in intimate relationships as adolescents become adults?

After students have reflected, have them share some thoughts. You may wish to read students’ comments aloud to the group to keep the comment anonymous and less emotionally charged.
[10 minutes]

Activity 3

Group Activity – Life Timeline

Using your knowledge of students in the group, place students in groups of 2, 3 or 4. Give each group a poster and markers.

Instruct students that they are going to draw a timeline of life from right now into the future, going from the current age of students in the group to middle age or retirement age. Have students draw the timeline longways in the middle of the poster and label notable ages (such as 18, 21, 25, 30, etc.). Above the timeline students will write down various privileges that may go along with a particular age or stage of life. Below the timeline students will write down various responsibilities that may go along with that age or stage of life (for example voting could be both a responsibility and privilege at age 18).

Next have students place an asterisk (or other notation) next to privileges or responsibilities that would affect an intimate partner. Ask students to choose one of the responsibilities that they believe would affect an intimate partner/spouse and be prepared to discuss in detail how a couple should communicate with each other regarding that responsibility and/or how it would change an intimate/marriage relationship.

After groups have completed their posters, have each group share their timelines and discuss privileges and responsibilities with particular interest of how an intimate partner or spouse could be affected by the things on their timelines. Provide feedback and encourage positive feedback from all group members.


Debriefing questions.

  • What types of responsibilities will you take on when you are in an intimate relationship?
  • How do intimate relationships change as we get older and become adults?
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