When people first start dating, the relationship feels new and exciting. Couples in this initial “honeymoon” stage tend to steer clear of difficult conversations. After all, they’re just getting to know one another.
However, as relationships progress and couples begin to envision a life together, a few important conversations need to be had. Keep reading to learn about four topics every serious couple should discuss.
Choosing whether or not you want children is a life-changing decision. This is why it’s important to know where your partner stands on this topic before the relationship gets too serious. From sleepless nights to financial expenses, there are plenty of reasons someone may not want kids. On the other hand, some people might look forward to nurturing and creating a loving relationship with a child. Wherever you stand, talk with your partner about the topic to ensure you’re on the same page.
Before starting the conversation, you need to be prepared to truly listen. There’s a possibility you and your partner aren’t aligned on this topic, which may be upsetting. However, try to place your emotions aside so you can understand why your partner feels the way they do. If one person insists on becoming a parent while the other is adamantly opposed, you might be a poor match.
If you discover you both want children, discuss your ideal timeline for parenthood. For couples who aren’t ready to start a family yet, options like online birth control make postponing conception easy. Couples who are interested in conceiving soon should schedule preconception appointments with their doctors. This will ensure both parties are healthy and ready for pregnancy.
So you’ve been dating for a while and you think your partner may be the one. Should you get married? What does the next step in the relationship look like? These are both great questions, but before talking with your partner, ask yourself what you want. This will help you enter the conversation informed of your own desires and ready to have a purposeful discussion.
After spending some time reflecting, set an evening aside to have a conversation with your partner. While this doesn’t need to be too serious a discussion, it’s not one to have at a dinner party. Plan to chat in a private place where you’re both comfortable.
You may feel nervous to tell your partner you want to get married or that you’re not interested in marriage. Acknowledge these feelings at the beginning of the discussion. This will help you speak more freely and allow your partner to do the same. To get a better sense of what your partner wants, ask open-ended questions to understand their perspective.
Many people would rather talk about sex or politics over personal finance. In fact, a recent study found that 50% of Brits think chatting about money is taboo. However, if you want to build a life with someone, you eventually must talk about finances. It’s better to understand each other’s spending habits sooner rather than later.
Be honest. You might be tempted to fib about your financial situation, but this will only lead to problems down the road. If you have student loans or credit card debt, tell your partner. These may seem like personal money problems, but if you get married, these debts become your partner’s problem, too. It’s hard to keep money secrets for long, and lying about your finances could end the relationship.
While how you spend money is important, it’s not the only factor to discuss. Understanding how much money you both make will help determine what type of lifestyle you can afford together. Additionally, you need to discuss your financial goals for the future. Knowing whether you want to purchase a home or take luxurious vacations will allow you to set savings goals together.
Love alone won’t keep a relationship alive. You need to share similar core values as well. While other areas of relationships typically have some room for compromise, our core values usually don’t. If you move too fast without understanding one another’s beliefs, you may set the relationship up for failure.
Core values are your guiding beliefs that direct all your actions. For example, if trust is one of yours, you’ll try to be open and honest in all your relationships. However, if trust isn’t an essential value for your partner, you may find yourselves butting heads.
You should begin to get a sense of your partner’s core values over time. However, asking open-ended questions can help facilitate a larger conversation. You might start with “What do you value most in life?” and “Why do you hold those values?” While you may not share all the same beliefs, it’s important to ensure your core values are aligned. By doing so, you will set the foundation for a strong long-term relationship.
The “honeymoon” phase doesn’t last forever. If you’re looking for a life partner, you must have some key conversations to ensure you’re on the same page. Conversations around kids, marriage, money, and values have the power to make you a stronger couple. On the other hand, if you discover you’re unaligned, it’s better to know sooner rather than later.