In Part One of this series, we outlined five conversation starters or questions that could possibly lead into positive and robust conversations between you and your partner. For this article, we will outline five more that can help you get the communication party started and to have a better understanding of one another.
1. All things sex
Oh yes, well, this is a good one! So, when we are just starting out, courting, dating, we are in that infatuation stage, often blinded by the fantasy of who this person is rather than the actual person. Changes are that in the first 6 months of the relationship, you have either discussed sex or have explored each other sexually. However, this is deeper than positions or fantasies. “Ok, Roma, what else is there,” you ask, and I say: “A Lot!” What about boundaries? Are there things you won’t do or expect your partner not to do? Is there something that you need/want and not getting? Do you have any fears? Traumas? Or personal experiences that inhibit you from being able to enjoy sex at this time? When building a long-lasting, solid relationship, let’s try to dig a little deeper on the subject of sex.
2. What is your 5/10/15 year plan, and where do I fit in?
This can be an “add-on” to number 5, but another good question to ask. Are you hoping to be able to join that mission project in Asia in the next few years? Or looking forward to going back to school or moving out of state for that job that you will be eligible for in 5 years? These are important to discuss with your partner, especially before you all become “serious”. Just think about how you would like to be treated.
3. How do you want to parent
This is good. Recently, I have had a few clients blending their families and have parenting as a top priority in their list of concerns. This can be a loaded and severe topic, and that’s ok; just talk about it! In the case of my clients, parenting conversations become even more complex when one or both spouses are not the biological parents to each set of children. However, I’m sure you’ve done something that you’ve considered to be difficult in just this week, maybe even today. So having a conversation of this level, you got this. Just be sure to :
1. Not judge the other
2. Listen with love and understanding
3. Offer solutions.
For instance, if you feel that your current or future children should be disciplined a certain way, and your spouse does not agree, first take a step back and realize that it is normal to disagree. Even children raised in the same house with the same DNA will not agree on building their blocks, so don’t feel you have done something wrong, or it is the end of it all when you and your spouse do not agree. Instead, this is the time to reflect on why you feel the way you do, explore their feelings, and come up with something everyone can agree on. Reminder: This may not happen after the first conversation, so don’t give up! But remember, you can reach out for help if things are not going well or if you all just need some extra support!
4. How do you want to address faith with children?
Many people grew up in faith-based or religious communities but then start their families and do not require the same religious commitment from their children that their parents did from them, or vice versa. I had a friend growing up whose parents believed in two completely different faiths, and it had a lasting impact on him. So it is safe
to say this is a conversation with your partner, especially the one you plan to have a family with.
5. What is our plan for our families (parents, children, and more)
Cultural views come into play here a great deal, so try to be sensitive to that. Also, where are you living? Do we raise our children near my family or yours? Or neither? Do we eat or cook? Are we vegan or not? What do we do? What is our family mission statement? A lot of this and the questions in parenting are interchangeable as well.
Remember, it is not about agreeing on everything. And if you do, that’s awesome! However, most won’t. But you cannot agree on anything if you don’t even bother to discuss it first. These conversations may not get off the ground at the first attempt, and that’s ok. To help ensure that you can make some kind of traction, pick maybe 1 or 2 questions that you really feel are important to you and your relationship, and set aside some mutually agreed upon time to just focus on those areas. Maybe even write down your responses or what you all came up with. And as always, there is help out there! Reach out to a local therapist or coach and get some clarity! Thank you for taking the time to read this, and let me know what you think, and even some other questions that you feel are important, and let’s talk about it!