If you are tired of having a string of relationships that never last, there are things you need to discover early on if you and your partner are on the same page about.
If you plan on having a relationship that will last, there are things you need to discuss before going deep. Its easy to allow the giddy, butterflies in your tummy feeling to becloud your sense of reasoning, but you should not.
You can claim to love each other all you want, but sweeping these issues under the carpet will not do that love any good.
I asked people on and off my social media space to share their views on what should be discussed during courtship/Dating.
The answers I got were quite varied and interesting. I use both courtship and dating because they mean different things to different people and different societies. For this post, both are used to represent the period before you take your vows.
Relationships and the commitment that comes with it should be taken very seriously. So its best to have this tough discussions and have an idea of what you are getting yourself into, before you do. You are absolutely allowed to walk out freely before the marriage during the dating/courtship stage.
Here is a quick summary about these discussions couples need to have
1.There is no hard and fast rule on what to discuss. So basically I interpret this to mean there are no right and wrong answers.
2. Based on the individuals, there are different things that matter to them.
3. Sometimes, one partner may see something as important and the other may see it as inconsequential.
4. If something is important to you, its better to let your partner know why that is very important to you.
5. In general, there are some basic things that really do need to be discussed/disclosed, as they might end up causing problems in future.
6. For those that were married, some of them wished they had talked about this things instead of just sweeping them under the carpet
ISSUES YOU SHOULD TALK ABOUT DURING COURTSHIP/DATING
After you have settled that you want to really be together, here are foundation issues you should talk about. They are called foundation, because they are the bedrock for which your relationship is built. However you deal with them, may determine if your relationship stands the test of time.
This is one area that cannot be swept under the carpet, and it is not limited to just religious affiliation. Even people within the same religious setting, do not all share the same views, how much more those of varying faith.
Your views on faith is very important, and it should be your starting point.
Discuss how many kids you want to have. A compromise has to be reached in a way that both partners will be happy.
Sometimes, they may say, ” oh, I haven’t given much thought about that yet”. Ask them, so when you envisage yourself in the future do you see kids or do you not? If you do, what is the range like? Football team scenario (Lots of kids) or advert type (small family).
We also all know, kids are not manufactured. God gives them. There are cases, where they don’t come for a long time or even never.
After say, 5 years, 10 years…what do you do then, Do you keep waiting? Do you adopt, if yes? How many? Which ethnicity? Color? Race?…
How about gender? Some people have preferences when it comes to the sex of their kids, others don’t care. Its great to have preferences, but its another thing to totally not feel you have a child yet, unless it is a certain gender. Know the category your partner falls.
I once did not accept to be with a guy, because he really wanted male kids. When I asked what would happen if peradventure, we had only females, He was not having that. For him, having a male child was a must.
That was his preference and I don’t have a problem with him having his preference. But I had a problem with how it may affect us in the long run. Since I knew I was not God, it was better to avoid recounting stories that touch years down the line. It was a deal breaker.
Sample questions you can ask when it comes to the subject of kids
*Do you want to have kids?
*How many kids?
*When would you like to have the kids? Immediately? After a few years?
*Would IVF, surrogacy and Adoption ever be an option you would consider if the need arises?
*Would our kids be attending private schools? How about boarding schools?
*Who would be staying at home to care for them? For how long?
*Would you consider having someone to care for the kids? This could be in the form of a parent, Nanny, etc
*What are your views on punishing kids? There are people who have separated after marriage and kids because they disagreed on the method of punishment.
#3. ISSUES CONCERNING YOUR PAST
The past has a way showing up when you least expect, so if you intend to be long term with someone, its best to hash out some of the things that could be a source of trouble in future. Let them know what they are signing up for before they do.
* Sexual experiences/Body count
It may not be important to say, ”I have been with so and so number of people”. Body count is a delicate topic for different individuals, cultures and societies.
One of those who answered my survey put it this way. “Are you inquiring so as to use their previous sexual escapades to judge them?
For example, An individual may have slept with one person a hundred times and another individual with a hundred people. So would you say one is better than the other? They both have one thing in common, they sure do have experience.
Being a Christian, I am not an advocate of premarital sex. I believe sexual relations have its place only in the boundaries of marriage. However, I do not sit in Judgement to condemn. Old things are past away and all things are become new. Wisdom is profitable to direct. Anyway before you get down with anyone, do a test.
* Criminal records
Do you have a criminal record? Have you ever been in jail before? What crime did you commit?
* Have you been married before?
* Do you have any secrets that could haunt us? Is someone looking to kill you?
* Have you had any abortions that resulted in complications that could hinder you from having kids?
The cause of a million fights in relationships. Money is said to be the number one cause of disputes in relationships. How are the bills going to be paid? How are they going to be split? Are there outstanding debts that could potentially mess up your lives?
The truth is couples come from different backgrounds. Their approach to money and its uses may differ. One may have a taste in high end brands and the other may consider it better to buy second hand. If that is not sorted out, with both parties coming to a compromise, there is a gonna be a clash.
If one partner makes more money than the other, and sometimes if one partner does not work? What happens? What if you lose your jobs or are not able to work?
One partner may be invested in making sure the numbers line up, the other may not be so inclined.
So here is a list of other money related questions to ask
1. How do we manage our fiances?
2 .How many accounts should we have?
3. Do we operate a joint account? yes, No. What percent of our finances do we contribute to a joint account?
5. How do we fund our vacations?
6. Do we buy a house or are we renting?
7. What is your definition of affordable?
#5. HOUSEHOLD CHORES
This might not seem like a big deal, but it is. There are people who feel like certain responsibilities are the exclusive preserve of a certain gender. Find out how your partner views household duties, gender roles. What are the expectations? How do you manage those expectations?
Not talking about this can build up resentment. One partner can end up feeling overburdened and that is unhealthy for your relationship.
Your parent and relatives are an important part of your life.
How do you want to relate with them after marriage?
How often will you be going to see them or will they be coming to see you?
Will any of your relatives be living with you?
Do you have an relative you detest? How do we relate with them in the long run?
#7. UNFORESEEN CIRCUMSTANCES
We do not pray for bad things to happen, but when they do, what happens?
You may not necessarily know how one may react, until faced with a situation. But at the very least, you can have an idea of their thought process. The bottom-line is you have to determine if your partner is dependable and can be counted on.
Do they love you enough to be there? How supportive will they be when times are hard?
Life can hit in different ways, far beyond dreams and imagination .
Talk about scenarios. What if one of us loses the ability to walk? What if one of us lost a job? How about if we got pregnant and we had to choose between saving the mother or the baby?
If you have reason to doubt answers to any of these, it may be best to call it quits.
It doesn’t have to be all bad scenarios. Even supposedly good things can cause a lot of problems.
What if one of us got a mouth watering job somewhere? Will you willing to pack up your life and move? Would you be OK with travelling for long periods, leaving your family behind, if you had a job that warranted that?
#8. CONFLICT RESOLUTION
There will be conflicts and you have to find a way to resolve them. The how, is what you need to talk about. How would you handle differences in opinions, political views etc.
At the end of the day, its easy to talk because talk is cheap. The practice is another, but if both partners are sincere with themselves, then talking will do them a lot of good when the time to practice arrives. Love comes with a myriad of responsibility.
It always best to remember that you are on the same team, and not make these discussions an attack on the other’s personality or way of upbringing. This will not help the conversation in anyway.
When it comes to conflict resolution do you guys at any point intend to involve a third party? Because it would not be nice to find that one partner is discussing issues with a third party without carrying the other along.
So basically, idiosyncrasies are a mode of behavior that is particular/unique to a person. Everyone has an idiosyncrasy. They may not really be noticeable to you, but others around you can definitely see it. They could be something as little as constantly chewing your lips when lost in thought, or blinking your eyes continuously.
Can you cope with each others unusual habits?
#9 . SEX
What does your partner think about sex? There are people who think sex within marriage should only been done to have kids, aside that there shouldn’t be sex. There are still some who view it as a sin. Discuss your views about sex and intimacy.
Other additional questions
10. Love languages. What is your love language?
11. Do you want to have pets?
12. Are you social or do you like being alone?
13. Career goals.
14. What are your views on cheating? Emotional and physical
The truth is no sincere person gets married with the intention to divorce. These questions are not sure proof that your relationship will be all smooth. It just helps clear up some avoidable things and get the big picture of what you both want out of life. The fundamental things you agree on and the ones you don’t.
As much as you ask all these questions, it also worthy to note that situations change and sometimes people change. Make allowance for changes and re-adjust accordingly.
You are partners, treat each other as such.