By the time you’ve made the decision to officially move forward with your relationship, you’ve probably already had some very serious conversations about your future together. While it may be easy to dream big hypothetically, once you’re ready to unite your lives, you have to start settling into realistic dreams. If you haven’t already, now is the time to discuss some of the key life issues that will inevitably arise along the way.
You two won’t agree on everything, and that’s all right—normal, even. However, there are some key areas that can be reasons for due pause. While most of these issues won’t necessarily make or break a relationship, it’s important that you at least discuss them thoroughly before agreeing to “forever.”
If the two of you already live together, this question may seem irrelevant, but it’s important. Does one or both of you have aspirations to live in a foreign country? Are they two different countries? Are they on the same continent? While you may have always dreamed of retiring to the French Riviera, your partner may have other ideas. Once roots have been established, they can be hard—if not impossible—to rip up. If the prospect of ever leaving one’s city, even, is a completely taboo topic, it’s time to make your desires known. Who knows? Your partner may be all for your ideas. If not, however, it’s time to compromise.
Some people are practically born parents. Others are content with plants, puppies, and maybe even nieces and nephews. Then there are those who haven’t necessarily made up their mind one way or the other. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, make sure that your partner is right there with you. Whether or not to have children is often, sadly, one of those relationship topics that can cause a deep rift. Make sure you talk about it thoroughly.
If you both do want a family, make sure to discuss some of the major details, like what—if any—religion you’d like to raise your children with; what type of parenting stance you’d take as far as discipline, and ideology; and how many kids you’d be willing to have.
Where you are today is not necessarily where you’ll want to be tomorrow. And even if it is, things can change in an instant. You may add to your family, you may change careers, you may go back to school, you may lose twenty pounds—but inevitably, everything changes. Where do you want to be in two years? In five? In ten? Taking into account all aspects—personal, physical, romantic, and professional—what are your goals? Whether you’re both on the same track or are going in two different directions, you’ll want to know sooner rather than later.
Willingness to Compromise
This may be one of the most important qualities in a successful relationship. Inevitably there will be a moment when you will call upon your partner or be called upon to compromise. Whether the issue at hand is that they spend too much time at work above and beyond the normal workday, that they have increasingly unhealthy eating habits, or that they won’t pick up their socks, there may come a time when it becomes a problem. Whatever the issue—big or small—a willingness to compromise demonstrates to your partner a level of respect, love, and care. Without it, one is left feeling unworthy and unloved. Also, when an individual isn’t willing to compromise on the small stuff, it’s reasonable to assume that they will be just as rigid when it comes to bigger issues.
The Ability to Argue Productively
If arguing with your partner can be equated to playing chess, or worse yet, Battleship, it may be time to discuss your disputing tactics. You’re not always going to get along. They may never learn that the bathroom towel needs to be folded in thirds before hanging it up or that you need to close a cabinet door once it’s been opened. However, teaching them these things isn’t necessarily worth a full-blown fight. If a casual mention now and again doesn’t seem to be working, it may be time to chalk it up to a minute—if annoying—character flaw. If you find that you’re more than ready to argue with your partner over seemingly trivial things, or they erupt every time you mention a possible area of improvement, it may be a sign that something bigger may be brewing, so make sure to explore the real root of the problem.
As important as letting the little things go are the abilities to present your feelings articulately, to accept your partner’s point of view, and to try to find a solution to any issues that arise. If you can’t even voice what it is you’re feeling, a jury would be hard pressed to blame your partner for not being able to address your needs. When presenting your argument, avoid hyperboles and over exaggerations—nothing can deflect an absolutely sound argument quicker than a carelessly dropped “always” or “never.”
Conversely, it’s important that you understand your partner’s argument. Even if you don’t agree with it entirely, your partner will appreciate your attempt to empathize. And lastly, when there’s a disagreement, try to find a solution that works for both of you. Rarely will a solution not involve compromise on one—or both—ends, so prepare yourself for a resolution that may not be exactly what you were expecting.
Open communication is the key to airing any hesitations or grievances, so use the time before the wedding well and talk with one another openly and honestly about your future together. If you find you’re hitting a few speed bumps, or just want a little help navigating this tricky terrain, couple’s counseling can be a great way to broach uncomfortable topics, or to fully open the lines of communication. Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it.
Meet Lisa, the talented and dedicated editor of our wedding, health, relationship, and lifestyle blog. With her keen eye for detail and her passion for all things related to love and wellness, Lisa is an essential part of our team.
As an expert in all things wedding, Lisa knows how to help couples navigate the often-overwhelming process of planning their big day. From choosing the perfect dress to selecting the ideal venue, she understands that every detail matters when it comes to creating a memorable and magical wedding experience.
But Lisa’s expertise doesn’t stop at weddings. She’s also a health and wellness enthusiast, always on the lookout for the latest tips and trends in self-care and mindfulness. Whether it is advice on healthy eating, fitness routines, or ways to reduce stress, Lisa knows how to help readers live their best lives.