Happy Valentine’s Day!
You may have already been hit by Cupid’s arrow or maybe next on Cupid’s list.
But the road from here to “Forever Together Town” is an upward spiral with many hairpin bends and to ensure that it leads to the “Happily Ever After” destination, we are sharing with you a list of topics that you can discuss together as a couple after you feel you are ready to grow this relationship:
Before you begin, note that:
1) There is no particular order in which we recommend doing this 😀
2) You need to keep an open mind when scrolling and reading this article
3) You should have some time to spare (the article is long and may invoke long and deep thoughts).
1. Monetary Compatibility
“I am not with him/her for money.”
“Yes, my partner is rich, but it does not matter to me.”
“Money did not drive me into this relationship.”
“None of us are gold diggers, I know.”
Yes, we understand. While money will not buy every part of the happiness you both are destined for, it certainly builds a secure environment for you to enjoy this happiness in. Hence, you must carefully observe how well your spending habits and preferences complement to those of your partner and discuss where it leads in the long term.
2. Ambitions and Dreams
“I will support my partner’s dreams and my partner will support mine.”
“We are both ambitious and we will cross that bridge when it comes to it.”
The above shows a great start of a trusting relationship. However, while you hope for the best, you must also plan for the worst.
As a young professional or businessperson, there will be room for growth for both of you and based on your definition of success, it may also demand sacrifices and devotion to your work.
To picture this right, imagine the peak of your career at the same time as your partner’s and imagine having parents and kids in that equation and then plan a day-to-day workflow in that situation.
Talk about how you will make decisions about juggling work and personal life and try to understand the changes you need to make today to ensure that you move in the right trajectory. Not that you or your partner will have to certainly sacrifice the career, but still, you should talk about how you both will deal with these or any other hypothetical but realistic situations like:
a) Pacing your career to be able to support family or kids
b) One partner is wildly successful and asks the other to step down from the gas pedal for some time/permanently to support the other.
c) One partner looking to take a break from work to focus on a hobby, life goal, or anything else.
3. Family Equations
Drama soap operas on most of the tv shows depict some very unreal scenarios. But the scenarios they are exaggerating are still built on a real social construct that you can only ignore at your own risk.
While marriage is often branded as “just two people deciding to spend their life together”, it is also two families coming together. Families have a big impact on most of our life decisions and choices, whether we understand them or not. Despite the nuclear family culture, we are still very social animals and our families are our first circle of influence. Understanding your partner’s position and responsibilities in their family helps you understand what you will be signing up for. Talking about the role your partner plays in their extended families or vice versa helps you understand how small or big decisions will be made in your life.
4. Post Marriage Life
Chances are that you would have already covered it above. Since it is an underrated point, we have listed it separately. Generally, most people imagine paradise after marriage or driving off into a sunset. It’s the point at which most romantic movies end and very few movies start. Talk about what kind of life you both want to settle into right after marriage and what all is involved in it. Sample questions:
a) Do we live with parents right after marriage?
b) How often do we visit parents/relatives or where and how do we celebrate festivals after marriage?
c) How often do relatives visit?
d) Will we have any special expectations from the immediate or extended family which need to be fulfilled?
5. Life experiences, traumas, key beliefs, and insecurities:
“But we are all grown up and the past is past, right?”
“I am building a future with my partner, I have nothing to do with their past.”
A person’s memories, experiences, traumas, resolutions, beliefs, and insecurities have a big impact on how they make decisions. You should use every opportunity to understand your partner better and understand why they feel/decide how they feel/decide in different situations. Most importantly, you could do these conversations to understand how to prepare to support your partner when these situations come up. Also, these will give you an understanding of whether you both are at the level of openness where you can freely and confidently talk about these issues with each other. After all, transparency and openness is the key to a happy long-term relationship.
6. Role of friends/ex’s, co-workers/social circle in your partner’s life
“Ex’s can be friends, I do not care.”
“It’s okay if my friends call for love advice at 2 am.”
“Some of my co-worker’s double hat as my agony aunt or uncle.”
“It’s important for me to get my team out for a drink every week.”
It is okay to have opposite views, but partners need to understand how this impacts the other person in the relationship and how it makes them feel. Talk about where the role of friends, social circle, co-workers, and ex’s starts and how far it goes, and what is on/off-limits for them. See if you both can work out or already have a middle ground there.
7. Stand on children and family planning
“It’s too far, why talk about it now??”
“Everyone wants kids.”
How do you know it’s too far? Maybe it’s not too far for your partner. Maybe they do not even want kids. You will be surprised how this can be a deal-breaker in many cases. You do not have to name the kids right now but knowing the order in which your partner imagines his/her life events will help pace your expectations better.
8. Marriage related aspirations
If you have made it this far, chances are that you are ready to do this.
Talk about how and when you both want to get married (if you want to get married).
Small or big wedding?
Ethnicity specific or court marriage?
Traditional or modern styled?
Home city or destination?
You do not have to finalize the menu but knowing how you both see the big day will help you manage the expectations and avoid a lot of last-minute stress.
9. Life habits/Medical history/Phobias and Preferences
Small habits can be big annoyances sometimes, especially if you cannot tolerate them. Some of these can be: Is my partner a clean freak or slob? Does he/she prefer doing chores or being lazy up on weekends? Do they like to start a conversation, or they are the quiet ones?
At the same time, based on your partner’s medical history, you can understand what experiences you both can safely share together and if there is anything you need to train yourself on or be careful about, when around your partner. From food allergies to heart conditions, know everything you have to.
10. Sexual needs
This is a point that very few couples miss, so we have listed it in the last. 😀
If you have been able to discuss all of the above stuff, chances are that you share a very advanced stage in your relationship and when you get to that level of freedom with each other, you could talk about comfort, fantasies, turn on/offs, preferences and likes/dislikes so there are no surprises later.
But the list is too long?
We know that the list has been long and these conversations can be exhausting if done at once. So it’s important to pace all of this in parts and go deeper into each topic. On the other hand, if you both have been able to discuss all of these so far without hiccups, you stand at a good level of clarity from where you can take your decision.
Also, you should know that most couples end up happy if their key expectations from their partner are met. Partners also do not need to be a carbon copy of each other on everything, else they will miss out on experiencing an entirely different perspective in life that comes with having someone who can help you try things outside of your comfort zone and open you to new experiences.
To understand which expectations are most important to you, do this before you start any such conversation:
1) List your negotiable and non-negotiables in each of the above areas and then
2) Rank them in the order of priority.
You will be surprised how much stuff in life we consider necessary but are happy to live without if the key expectations are met. Eventually, after you have what you consider most important in life, chances are that you will be glad to adapt to the other stuff which may not seem very important to you but is to your partner and vice versa.
Remember, the goal of this conversation is to find a middle ground and not get your partner to give in to submission. After all, this is a person you love 😊
Do note that your answers do not need to match at every topic and knowing all of the above does not guarantee a successful relationship. It helps with an informed choice only.
Also, this is not an exhaustive list so if there is anything else that you have considered important, contact us and let us know.