As we wrap up our Valentine’s Day series on building healthy, long- lasting relationships, our final feature shares insights on the necessary conversations you should be having with your partner.
No matter how long you’ve been together with your partner, navigating relationships can be challenging. It’s important to set clear expectations and a mutual understanding on significant topics like finances, boundaries, trust, and priorities. Asnew circumstances come our way and as we take on new roles in life, it’s inevitable that the dynamics of a relationship will change. Therefore, it’s crucial to have honest, open conversations with your partner to understand each other and stay aligned.
The Gottman Institute, founded by relationship experts, Drs John and Julie Gottman, has identified eight important topics of conversation that every couple should discuss to have “a lifetime of love”, let’s explore some of them.
Trust and Commitment
A strong and thriving relationship is built upon the foundation of trust and commitment. Hence, having an open discussion with your partner is crucial to align expectations so that you’re both on the same page and headed towards a trusting and secure relationship. As a couple, what steps can you take to foster trust and solidify your commitment to each other? What do you need from each other to feel secure and valued in the relationship?
Here are some questions you and your partner can ask each other:
- What areas do you trust me with? What areas do you need to develop more trust? For example, money, family, opposite sex, parenting, and work.
- What do you need from me to show that I’m committed to this relationship?
- Think about a time when you didn’t feel you could trust me. What could I have done to fix the situation?
- What are some things we can do together as a couple to ensure we are both committed to this relationship?
Taking the next big step in every relationship can often feel daunting. Whether it’s moving in together, marriage, or having kids, these added responsibilities and difficult decisions can put a strain on the relationship. Problems tend to arise when both parties are not aligned or unable to come to a mutual agreement on certain big issues.
Here are some questions you can ask your partner:
- Are you thinking of marriage? If so, when?
- How do you handle change and the unexpected?
- How much do you value time together, versus time apart?
- How do you see kids fitting into your life?
- What if we struggle with fertility issues?
Sex and Intimacy
Maintaining a romantic and intimate connection with your partner ensures a happy and passionate relationship. Sexual intimacy can increase emotional closeness, build a stronger self-image for each partner, and relieve stress. Hence it’s essential to talk about sex with your partner to encourage a healthier sex life. Having open conversations about sex or expressing one’s desires and needs may be difficult for some, but the more you talk about it, the easier it gets. Above all, ensure that it is consensual and comfortable for both parties.
- What are some things that turn you off or on?
- What are your sexual preferences?
- How often do you think we should be having sex?
Every strong relationship is built on the foundation of open and ongoing communication between partners, and that can look a lot like difficult yet necessary conversations that will need to happen. It’s not always going to be smooth-sailing, but as long as you’re both willing to work as a team, you’re already working towards a healthy, thriving relationship. We hope this series has provided some tools and insight into building healthier, long- lasting relationships. Keep a lookout for our future features!