If you’re in a serious relationship and suspect that you might be headed for marriage, there are a few questions you can ask your partner to help determine if you’re both prepared to move forward as a couple.

But prior to getting engaged, there are also several things you should know about yourself before you can commit to a lifelong partner. Understanding your individual needs and what makes you tick, from your money habits to your thoughts on family planning, is just the first step toward finding yourself in a happy, healthy marriage down the road.

Your Long-Term Goals

Long-term goals include everything from your ideal living situation to your education, career path, retirement plans, and even your hobbies. Have you always envisioned living out your golden years in the European countryside? Do you have a favorite hobby that you’d love to turn into your dream job if you had the opportunity? Not only are these the types of things you should know about yourself in order to be the best version of “you”, but it’s also necessary to share them openly in order to see how they might align with a lifelong partner.

Your Weaknesses

We know it’s a cliché, but admitting your weaknesses *will* make you stronger — especially when it comes to your relationship. There’s a good chance that your partner won’t even mind your flaws or harmless-but-annoying habits (like leaving dirty shoes around the house), as long as you can own up to them and are open to change if necessary. Use your time as a pre-engaged person as an opportunity to focus on yourself and work on things you could improve, whether that’s communication skills, practicing patience, being more open-minded, or something else.

Your Other Passions

It’s a huge misconception that getting married means you’ll lose all sense of individuality. Yes, you’re committing your life to someone, and that probably means you’ll be spending much of your time together, but marriage shouldn’t require you to give up the things you loved when you were single. In fact, spending some time doing your own thing without your husband or wife is actually a good thing, which is why it’s important not to lose sight of whatever passion or hobby kept you busy when you first met your significant other. It might even be one of the things that made them fall in love with you!

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