You’ve met the man or woman of your dreams, courted them, designed a beautiful wedding and planned an extraordinary honeymoon. Now you’re back from Bermuda, or Vail, or Hawaii, and you’re settling back into what you hope to be, “Life as normal,” however, before you picked a dress, location, cake, flowers, and honeymoon destination, you forgot to discuss your future, specifically whether to have or to have not…children? Did politics come up in discussions? What about religion? Did you have a serious conversation regarding your core values and potential knock-out-punches in a relationship?
Divorce statistics are staggering! Half of all first marriages end in divorce, 60% of second marriages end in divorce, and 75% of third marriages also end in divorce! What is the challenge of harmonious cohabitation? Or is it commitment? Or is it fidelity? What are the main issues that make or break a relationship in these changing times? Are fewer people having meaningful discussions before marriage or are more people just realizing they have more options from which to choose? In social media, are people divorcing spouses in the same way they would “un-friend” someone on Facebook? If so, can this be remedied?
I have listed below five important conversations every couple must do to determine if they are compatible as long-term mates. They are:
1. Honestly discuss each of your visions of the future. Consider writing your visions down separately and then when you are together, exchanging the visions on paper, reading them and then discussing them.
2. Have a serious conversation about your anticipated roles, responsibilities, and expectations,. You need to put your thoughts, ideas, and “Relationship model” on the table and see if both of your are on the same page.
3. Have a talk with paper and pens about your finances (earning, investing, spending, joint or shared). Being clear about how finances are handled is not only functional and healthy, it can eventually save your marriage.
4. Leisure time and how you spend it is also an important topic. People often assume that everyone enjoys what they like to do. Since this is rarely the case, exploring preferences for weekend activities as well as holidays is a valuable use of your pre-commitment research.
5. Affection, romance, sex, and fidelity are rarely approached because people get too uncomfortable talking about “Taboo topics.” All too often people end up married who have antithetical appetites for affection. One may think that a hug a month is sufficient while the other is eagerly anticipating making love three times a day. Better to confront the difficult conversation ahead of time.
There are many other items to do to get into the right relationship, rather than a chemical rush that creates an entanglement. This is just an appetizer to start you thinking. The best thing you can do is for both of you to have copies of my book on love (so you can highlight your favorite parts to discuss together), and then let the book initiate your tough conversations.