A new relationship is something to celebrate. You may feel happy every morning in love and the last thing you want to do is come down from cloud nine with a conversation about potential problems and pitfalls in your brand-new relationship.
Broaching sensitive topics when you are both calm and able to communicate with love and respect is recommended. If reconciliation cannot happen at this early stage, it surely won’t happen later.
So what should you be talking about and how should you be doing it before moving in together or getting married?
How will we prioritize having fun together?
Call it date night, down time or just plain hanging out, but having fun together especially laughing together is what creates and sustains a couple’s bond.
Our minds attach meaning and emotion to things that are exciting, which is why it’s important to have fun together and create memories. This time must be prioritized, planned or even scheduled. If you cannot pre-plan it, prioritize it and schedule it in before you get married, don’t think you will figure it out later.
How can we ensure our sex life is healthy and satisfying?
This is one area where you should assume nothing and communicate everything. Couples need to discuss their sexual history early on in their relationship, including disclosure of any STDs/STIs.
They should focus on ensuring their safety as well as that of their partner and the relationship, emphasizing how it would make them feel if they both got tested. These aren’t just questions young couples should be asking each other. STD rates are rising among older generations, as well.
Once you know you are having safe sex, you can better broach the topic of having satisfying sex. Start the conversation by asking your partner how satisfied they are with your current sexual life.
Then you can delve into other questions like the following: “How comfortable are we communicating openly about sex? What are your expectations about frequency of sex once we are married? How will we make sex a priority once we are married and have kids?”
How do we like to give and receive affection?
Affection outside of sex is every bit important as sex itself. You and your partner don’t necessarily need to like the same things, but it’s vital to communicate what you each want.
Yes, you will continue to learn each other, but do not assume it will happen without communication. Hugging, kissing, and holding hands daily or even just allowing your feet to touch when falling asleep are ways to show affection. You can’t bond if you are not in physical contact. You have to touch like your lives together depend on it!
What was your parents’ relationship like growing up?
Talking to your partner about their parents’ relationship and how they feel about will not only help you get to know them better, but it’s also a way to glean insight into how they may behave in your relationship. It’s not about judging as much as it’s about understanding, reflecting and strategizing.
We all come from somewhere, and we onboard the qualities of those who raised us, like it or not. The level of awareness you and your partner have will help determine if you will repeat those patterns or help each other come out of them to discover a new way of moving through the world together.
How do you deal with conflict?
Conflict is never easy, but it’s easier if you and your partner know how the other handles it. A good way to initiate this conversation is to ask your partner how they would respond if you upset them. Would they handle it directly and immediately, work it out on their own and come back later or avoid it all together.
This question will reveal if you need to help your partner speak their truth to you or if you can rely on them to come to you when they are upset. Make an agreement that if either of you are deeply hurt, you will turn toward each other, even if it is painful and scary.
What’s your relationship with money?
You will probably notice a few things about your partner and money just by spending time together, but some of the biggest red flags can be hidden, so it’s important to ask questions.
What money habits did you get from your parents? Are you more of a spender or a saver? If we differ, how are we going to manage this difference? What types of debt do you have, and how much? How are we going to pay off our debt? Will we rent a house or buy? What are your financial goals for the future? These are all important questions to ask and to ask early.