Communication is one of the key elements of any relationship. It is in fact extremely vital to the survival of relationships and a lack of proper communication accounts for a large number of failed relationships today. It is amazing that couples barely talk to each other anymore and so many important conversations that would have helped to strengthen these relationships are ignored.
We live in an age where people find it easier to express their emotions on a Whatsapp status or Facebook post than having a real conversation with the person concerned. You find people having rants online because someone hurt them but the person in question has absolutely no idea. Many relationships have been ruined due to these “modern” practices. While many think intimacy is centered around sex, intimacy is actually the ability to be completely free with the other person. To be yourself in their presence without feeling judged or scrutinized. If you cannot share some really difficult feelings and be vulnerable, you will never achieve true intimacy.
In a relationship, no topic should be off the table or impossible to talk about. It is important to be able to lay all the cards bare without fear or intimidation. As a matter of fact, when conversations become difficult, the relationship is on a downward spiral. Some of the most important topics in a relationship are those we often consider difficult. Well, if you want to get to know your partner, you have to talk to them about these things. So, what are these important conversations? I will be discussing some of them in the following paragraphs. As usual, you should know that I cannot exhaust these topics and will only dwell on the ones I consider vital to the survival of a relationship. Here we go…
Relationship Boundaries… It is important to discuss the boundaries each of you have in the relationship. This way, you can be clear about what would make each of you feel disrespected or unsafe in the relationship. This is important because insecurities are a major reason why many relationships collapse. You should ask questions like ‘Are there things I will do that will make you consider ending the relationship?’ this might be hard to answer but you must spend time analyzing issues like this because such knowledge could be the difference between saving and ending the relationship.
Once, I had a conversation with a friend and his complaint was simply that his partner is always with her phone when they are supposed to spend time together. Now I can relate with that because doing that communicates indifference or lack of commitment and it is also disrespectful especially when the couple is supposed to be having a conversation. So, I told him to talk to her about how he felt. Well he did and she adjusted and they got past that problem. Many couples have similar issues and because they never get around to discussing it, the relationship collapses. So, it is important to discuss boundaries with your partner. Some of these boundaries include; Sexual expression, past lives, family, finances etc.
Relationship Needs… It is important to talk about your needs both as a partner and as an individual. We all have needs that we would like to be met within our relationship; for example, support, fun, honesty and safety. These represent a key element of your decision to be together in the first place. However, there may be other needs that we require as individuals and they should be known to both parties. A partner may need time to handle solo projects or desire some level of privacy. It is important that the two of them know these needs and are willing to fulfill them. Many young people complain that their partners do not give them time to hang out with their friends outside of the relationship and are overly protective. Discussing this is key to understanding individual needs and working together to make each other happy.
Fears… As humans it is normal to have doubts and fears concerning our lives and relationships. These fears could make or mar the prospects of a relationship if not properly addressed. Conversations about our doubts, worries and past experiences are important to help a couple know how to deal with them. Some of these unresolved issues are the reasons some relationship do not last. An example is when either party had a traumatic experience at some point in their lives. If not addressed, they could carry some of that pain into the relationship and if the other party is not aware of it, may read totally different meanings to some actions and such a relationship goes down the drain in no time. You are allowed to be vulnerable with your significant other and you should tell them the things that worry you. That way, they do not misinterpret your actions and do not feel left out if they discover later or from another source.
Past Relationships… Not everyone will agree on this one but it is absolutely important to come clean about your previous relationships with your new partner. You should know why your partner left the last person they were with. First it gives you some insight into who they are and it also helps you understand some of their actions. Past relationships and the little secrets attached to them can bring down the walls of a new relationship if they aren’t addressed before hand. just let your partner in on tiny details like, who you used to date, why you broke up and your present relationship with your Ex. Sometimes, it can be all you need to save your relationship. Sharing also helps build trust and gives an air of finality to those former relationship. You don’t want some story popping up about you and your ex that your current partner doesn’t know already. It could be damaging.
How You Fight… Now I know this came out weird but trust me it is so important to know how you intend to resolve knotty issues in your relationship. Relationships are bound to be bumpy and the occasional misunderstanding is inevitable. However, it is important that you learn to fight fair. Tackling specifics rather than generalizing is a real safe way to fix problems. Learn how your partner deals with difficult situations or conversations and try as much as possible to depersonalize the issues. When you know what your partner does to protect themselves in an argument, you two can agree to change any behaviors that are hurtful.
Kids…You may think, ” we are not quite there yet” but if you are in a serious relationship that could lead to marriage, conversations about having and raising kids, parenting styles and expectations are important. You and your partner must be on the same page on these issues. It is an important topic because there won’t be room for divergent opinions later.
The Extended Family… You and your partner may have different views about relating with each other’s family. The kind of interaction you want with your partner’s family is very important and should be discussed well in advance. As a couple, you should jointly decide on boundaries that you want to set with your family. This will help you present a united front to your families.
There are quite a few other conversations that you should have; housework, alone time,spending habit and combining work and family life are just some others that i think you need to look into as you get into a serious relationship. These conversations will help build a strong bond, help you know your partner better and tell you how to proceed in the relationship. Please feel free to share your thoughts, comments or questions below. Your feedback is always appreciated.
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