8 Crucial Relationship Topics Every Couple Should Discuss
Things to discuss before moving in together
There are certain relationship talks that every couple should have before moving in together and making emotional and financial commitments.
Of course, each pertinent subject can vary among couples, depending on whether they have children, if they’ve been married before, and what they’re bringing into the relationship financially. Regardless, there are topics to consider before making a solid commitment to another person.
Here are eight important topics to discuss that could help you avoid future heartbreak. Because no matter how hard it is to break up early in a relationship, it's always much more difficult a few years down the road, once you live together or are married with children.
Six pertinent discussions
Household responsibilities, finances and how you define commitment are among six of the most important topics to discuss, according to Tina Tessina, psychotherapist and chief romance officer for LoveForever.com and author of 13 books including Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage:
1. Definition of commitment
Whether you know it or not, you and your partner are continuously defining your relationship. If you don't know what your relationship means to each of you, you risk repeating past mistakes, getting stuck in uncomfortable roles, or fighting about what a healthy relationship is. Talk about what you mean by words such as relationship, commitment, love, and faithfulness. You'll be amazed by what you learn.
2. Finances and money
Next to sex, money is the biggest generator of problems, arguments, and resentment in long-term relationships. Couples tend to assume that money should be pooled, but it usually isn't that easy. A disparity in income can mean struggling about who pays for what, or whose income determines your
lifestyle. Different financial habits (one likes to save, the other spends more, or doesn't keep track) can become a source of argument. For many couples, separating the money makes things run smoother; you don't wind up struggling for control. You can split expenses evenly, or work out a percentage share if your incomes are different. Whatever you do, learn to talk about money in a businesslike manner.
3. Household responsibilities
If you're not yet living together, take a tour of each other's homes. Drastically different decorating styles, neatness, and organization levels can become sources of argument, as can housekeeping and chores. If you have different tastes, it may require a lot of creativity and negotiation to decorate a joint home in a way that makes both of you comfortable. Additionally, think hard before moving into your partner's established home. You may have trouble feeling as if you "belong" in a home that was previously established by your partner, unless you participate together in reorganizing and redecorating it.
4. Family and friends
If one of you has a lot of family or friends, and the other does not, or if you both have big families, find out what those relationships mean. Where will you spend holidays? If there are family members who have problems, such as financial stress, addiction or mental illness, how much will that impact your relationship?
5. Anger and emotions
We all get upset from time to time. If you are usually good at diffusing each other's anger and being supportive through times of grief or pain, your emotional bond will deepen as time goes on. If your tendency is to react to each other and make the situation more volatile and destructive, you need to correct that problem before you live together.
6. Showing love for one another
Talking about which actions and words mean love to you may be surprising. Even if it's hard for you to figure out, discussing how you give and receive love will improve your relationship. You will understand what makes each of you feel loved, and how to express your love effectively.
Two more crucial discussions
Denise Limongello, a psychotherapist and relationship expert, said that children and working patterns are two more topics to discuss:
7. Children matter
Many couples report that cohesion on the topic of children can increase the seriousness of the relationship. Recent research indicates that couples also often report the seriousness of this issue when choosing a mate. Since the likelihood of this issue not only coming up but also being of utmost importance in determining whether or not a relationship will work is probably, it might be best to have the talk on this issue sooner rather than later.
8. Working patterns
Many couples complain of feeling misled about their partner's long-term career goals and intentions. Studies indicate that couples who negotiate their long-term aspirations regarding career, finances, and children have greater success rates at staying together and report happier partnerships. It can be a great idea to negotiate everything from current career goals to retirement in advance to possibly prevent future misunderstandings.
Rate your discussion
Tessina points out that how well you handled discussion on these very questions is a key indicator of how well you will get along long-term.
“Asking yourselves these questions are excellent tests of your ability to define and work out problems. Constructive discussion that leads to a mutually satisfactory solution means you know how to solve problems in your relationship. If not, get counseling before going further,” she said.