Love isn't enough.
When we decide to get married to our partner, so many of us focus on the wedding day but not the actual marriage itself. It isn’t until the vows have been said, and problems arise, that we realise that our expectations don’t align. We make assumptions about what our partner thinks. Thus causing conflict or distance from each other.
The following topics are important parts of a relationship, that should be discussed openly and honestly. This ensures you have an understanding of where your partner stands, and won’t come as a surprise later on.
Children/pets and parenting
Do we want kids or pets? If so, how many and when?
What parenting styles do we want to have?
What does discipline look like?
What values are important to each of us, that we want to instil in our kids?
Are we okay with other people baby-sitting our kids? If so, who are those people?
Will they go to childcare? Or is there an expectation one of us will stay home for a set period? If so, who will that be?
If we are entering a blended family, what does our role as stepparent look like? How will we manage issues as they arise?
How will we divide or combine our finances?
Will we budget? If so, how will we spend our money?
What are our personal views, on how money should be spent or saved?
Who will manage the daily/monthly expenses?
What do we want for the future? For retirement?
What will we do if someone wants to borrow money from us?
What do we need from each other when it comes to our career?
What if one of us gets the opportunity to move overseas for work?
What are our individual dreams?
What are our dreams together?
Where do we want to live? Where do we see ourselves in retirement?
Do we want to travel? If so, where and when?
How will we manage conflict?
How will we communicate our needs?
Are we open to relationship counselling, if we need help?
Rituals of connection
Which moments of the day/week are important to connect? Is it dinner together each night? An outing every weekend? A date night once a week?
How do we celebrate birthdays, Christmas’, anniversaries and other special events?
Who do we include in our celebrations?
How often do we see extended family? How often do we visit them or have them visit us?
How do we handle things as a couple if issues arise?
How do we socialise as a couple?
How do we socialise as individuals?
How can the relationship support our social needs as an individual, whilst also respecting the needs of the relationship?
What does intimacy mean to each of us?
How do we express our needs and attend to each other’s needs?
Do we have any boundaries?
These questions are just the beginning, of opening up the conversation about the important things that can come up in a relationship. Use them as a starter to deepen your conversations and to gain insight into each other’s views, aspirations and hopes. Also remember, our views may change as we grow as individuals and as a couple. Having regular check ins on these questions, can help us gain a current understanding of our partner.