Oh, this is going to be good and interactive! As requested (yep, somebody requested lil ole me to write about this), I will give you a list of possible questions to ask your partner. I thought that this was an excellent topic to write about because, as a marriage and family therapist, I see a lot of couples. By the time most couples come to see me (or a therapist in general), the problem has been festering for a while, and therapy is a last resort. However, I find out a lot that the couple stops communicating once the relationship is secured. Whether that be getting engaged, moving in together, or something else. And although it is easy to do, it’s not the best. So, this list is for couples to ask one another, try it out, and tell me about it!
1. What do you need /want
Now granted, maybe this is a better question for when couples are just starting out. However, it can also be a fantastic question if you are already in an established relationship as things and people change. It’s always a good idea to check in with one another.
2. What are your goals in this relationship
Pretty self-explanatory, but maybe not. This question is essential because everyone is not the same (simple, yes I know, but true!) It is your right to know what the other person is bringing and wanting from you in return so that everyone is honest and on the same page. For example, if you are looking to “have fun” but the person you are dating is looking to build a serious relationship, you two just don’t mesh right now. It is not to say that asking this question will cure all relationship issues and force the other person to be honest, but getting clear is for sure the first step.
3. How do you (we) handle money
Are you a spender? A saver? What does that look like? Are you willing to buy flowers and gifts? Go on trips from time to time, go out to dinners? No, it’s not about expecting your partner to foot the bill for everything you want to do. However, both need to know how the other deals with money and your relationship with it.
It is also good to know that your partner is into the things you may like that require finances such as dinner, trips, concerts, or gifts (yea, lots of gifts!) Overall, depending on your relationship stage, knowing what your partner expects of you when dealing with the dreaded finances is essential.
4. What do you expect of me (gender roles?)
Alright, alright. I can just hear my feminist and gender non-conforming friends yelling at me, but gender roles are still alive and well for many of us. Although they may look vastly different than they did 70 or so years ago, they are still there. Many of us reflect back to childhood when we decide how we will live our lives. How we were raised and what we have seen is a guiding force to what we expect of ourselves and the people around us. (No matter if we want to be like it or unlike it) Thus, making this a vital topic for couples to discuss, especially before marriage and or moving in together. Think of it as asking “what you expect of me as a person” rather than “what you expect of me as a woman/man.”
5. How can I support you/goals
This is something that I think we’ve all heard be discussed as a point of contention for couples, especially more ambitious ones. One or both partners do not feel supported by the other. Claims can be: “Your job is more important than me.” Or, ” You aren’t here for me.” So, get in front of all of that drama and talk about it! What does support look like to you? And then ask yourself, is that something that I think that I am able or willing to do? Asking about your partner’s goals in life is another way to become closer. People tend to have plans for many areas of their lives (business, personal relationships, material attainment, etc etc.). And knowing and trying to understand that of our spouses (because we already know those things for ourselves, right? Just checking…) can save us time and possible anguish.
Sometimes it can be hard to have certain conversations with your person. Here at Unload It Therapy, we understand that. Suppose you need some support around areas of communication, you can contact us today for a couples therapy session! Our Houston-based therapists are highly trained, culturally competent, and empathic. Give us a call, text, or email in order to get started today!
About the Author
Roma Williams is a Houston-based licensed marriage and family therapist, who is also licensed in the states of Georgia, Florida, and California. Her specialties and clinical interests are systems and relationships. Roma enjoys working with couples, including LGBTQ+ and those who live in polyamorous relationships. As an African American woman, Roma has donated time and efforts to causes championing black women and mental health. Roma also enjoys working with individuals on their relationships with themselves and others. Being a California native, and moving to the south in her adult years, Roma has had plenty of experiences that have shaped her cultural development both professionally and personally. In her spare time, Roma enjoys fashion, all things wine, and traveling.
If you are in Houston or in any part of Texas, Georgia, Florida, or California and are ready to work with Roma click here.