Now a lot of married couples would probably tell you that they can talk to their spouse about anything. But is that really true? I’ve actually come across a lot who have a hard time even bringing certain subjects up in their own marriages. Alignment on some key values and compatibility on certain topics is crucial to an enduring marriage. You are bound to experience tests as a couple, both internal and external. Therefore there are conversations that need to take place when you know you and your fiancé are going to spend the rest of your lives together, as teammates. Having regular conversations about important topics can not only bring you and your spouse closer together right now, it can help you create a better plan for your future together.
Cross-check this list and see if these subjects come up regularly in your own marriage. If they don’t- maybe it’s time they should!
1. Goals and Dreams
For sure, thinking about what lies ahead for you two can be seriously anxiety provoking. A serious relationship requires some conversation about what each person envisions for the next few years. Are you planning to apply to Ph.D. programs all over the country? Is your partner hoping to quit his/her job and travel for a year? What matters most to you both? Do you want to really nest and settle down or instead go traveling together? Talk about your aspirations and objectives and get comfortable with a relative timeline.
2. Happy things
Many marriages fall apart for many different reasons. A lot of those reasons have to do with the standards and confrontation and honesty we talked about above. But, marriages can also fall apart even when it seems as though there is nothing structurally wrong at all. It seems so simple, but in the busy hustle bustle of the day, we can lose sight of not only our own needs, but also our spouse’s needs. Have a conversation about the things that truly make you happy and discover the same about your spouse. Whatever it is that makes your spouse feel joy and satisfaction should become a priority for both of you. This isn’t about only the things that you both enjoy, although those things are important, too.
Even if you’ve never explicitly talked about money, you probably already have a vague idea of how much your partner makes and how he/she likes to spend a paycheck. Still, if there’s a possibility that you two might end up sharing a bank account or co-owning a house (or if you already are), it’s crucial to have a conversation about finances. Being married means you are a team and need to be on the same financial page, as this is a huge, contentious issue for many couples who divorce.
4. Family goals and parenting styles
Do you plan on having kids one day? When? And how many children would you like to have? How are you going to raise them? We all have different ideas of what a family looks like and what we want our family to look like. Have you discussed this with your husband? It is incredible how many young married couples there are who do not know if their other half wants 1 or 2 kids, or when they plan on starting a family. These are massive life events you absolutely must discuss.
5. Things that bothers you
I have discovered that most of our fights come from little irritations that build up over time. We don’t deal with them right away because they seem trite or trivial, or because we just don’t have time. But then, when they happen again and again, that resentment builds up until it finally explodes. That resentment can be poisonous to a relationship, and letting things build up until they reach the boiling point can cause irreparable harm. It is much better to deal with it proactively, before the anger sets in. If something is bothering you, bring it up gently.
6. Talk about sex and bedroom stuff
Maybe you two have already done the deed a million times. That doesn’t necessarily mean you know exactly what your partner wants and likes in bed, and it’s probably a good idea to find out. Many couples seek therapy or counseling if one or both partners do not feel satisfied in the bedroom after many years together. It’s important to stay connected physically and having a recurring date night once a week can help keep the intimacy alive.
7. The reasons you love each other
“Why do you love me?” can seem like a trite question—but I promise, it’s no less vital to the health of your marriage. Look at your spouse and think of that guy that gave you butterflies in your stomach when he looked at you. Think of all the ways he’s a great father and how you grin every time you see him take your daughter’s little hand. Tell your spouse why you love him. Reminding your guy of all those reasons as often as possible will keep your marriage as strong as possible.
8. Talk about your fears and anxieties
We all have fears, anxieties and insecurities, regardless of how long you have been together as a couple. Talking about them with your husband can help you feel more confident when you are experiencing a time of fear or anxiety and can help you speak up. Being able to literally say to your husband ‘I am feeling really anxious about this because my fear is….’, not only opens your lines of communication but allows your husband to be able to talk you through the situation.
9. Share your childhood memories with each other
I know, I know. “Love is blind” and all that. The truth is, you can totally love someone from a different cultural or religious background, but that doesn’t mean your different upbringings won’t prove challenging at times. In fact, even if you two are from nearly identical backgrounds, you can still have developed different cultural and religious values. When a relationship starts to get serious it’s a good idea to talk about your values. It allows you to get to know each other even more – share the funny memories and the sad, the times that made you super proud and even the embarrassing memories. They all form part of who you are today.
At the end of the day, the most essential element of any marriage is communication. Without it you are flying blind and flying solo and that’s not what a marriage is about. Talk to your partner.