When a relationship goes from dating to serious, “marriage” and “commitment” are ideas that start to get casually thrown around. Dreaming of a future together can be exciting, but it’s important to know if the other person is on the same page as you – do they want kids? Do the spend money, or save? You think you know someone, but it’s important to sit down and discuss the more serious issues instead of just ‘what will we do with our millions when we win the lottery!’ Read on for some relationship advice and the questions you need to ask when you’re getting serious.
Remember, don’t get bogged down with too many questions: see this exercise as an opportunity to talk freely and express your opinion. It’s important to feel comfortable telling your partner what you want in life, and equally learning how to listen to their desires. Whether your plans are aligned or you can compromise, see this is laying the foundations to a strong and healthy relationship.
1. What are your goals?
It’s important to know what your partner’s goals are in the short term, and the long term, to ensure that you both want the same things. Whether it means growing a business, starting a family, or living somewhere else, it will ultimately determine if your viewpoints conflict. Your partner should have similar dreams and aspirations that model your own, or being open to accommodating them. They should also show support for your own dreams and allow you to establish goals as an individual.
2. What are your attitudes towards money?
So you’ve been dating and enjoying dinners out and weekends away – but do they pay their bills on time? Are they living pay check to pay check? And how much debt do they have on their credit cards and mortgage? Or does he watch every cent and hate spending money? Couples in long-term relationship work best when they have a similar financial outlook.
It’s equally important to discuss each person’s financial roles in the relationship: when you move in together, how much income will he bring into the home? Who will manage the finances?
3. Do you want to have kids?
Having kids – or not having them – is often a deal breaker and will greatly determine the future of your relationship. Be honest and tell your partner what you want, and remember – it may not be aligned with their plans. Don’t just assume that once you get serious they will change their mind to make you happy: this can lead to heartbreak and resentment and bigger problems down the line.
And if you both want kids, but you’re not able to have them easily, you should also discuss how you feel about fertility treatments and adoption.
5. What do you want in a partner?
It’s really important to know what your partner expects in you – and what you expect from them. Do they want someone who will stop working when you have kids? Do you expect them to go to the same church as you? whether it means having a spouse who wants to travel the world or a person who can stay at home with the kids. This will make it easier to know what your role will be and if your personality or strengths are what your partner truly desires in a spouse. They should also be able to accept your own desires in a spouse and be willing to meet the expectations with a positive attitude.
5. How will we care for each other and our families?
We can’t control the future, and there are too many ‘what if’s’ to answer for. But it’s good to open the channels of communications by asking each other questions about how you might handle stressful situations. How will you care for your parents as they age? What will we do if our children get sick, or one of us loses our job? You don’t need to be negative Nelly, just open to life’s curveballs.
What other questions should you ask when your relationship gets serious?