When I counsel couples that are not married yet, I often probe about their past and current conversations.  If a couple responds, “We have not discussed that yet”, it reveals one of the contributing factors as to why they are in my office.
A recent study published in Psychological Science says that people are happier when they spend more time discussing meaningful topics than engaging in small talk.
Whether you or someone you know is in a relationship, the following conversations are important for a healthy and happy relationship.

1. Childhood Experiences:

Our childhood is the template for which the rest of our life is built, so it is important to know how your partner has experienced that time frame in their life.  It could also explain their outlook on life, how they have learned to operate in relationships and what were the major contributing factors to their character.

2. Fears and Insecurities:

Everyone has them, but many do not realize just how powerful these emotions are in their life. What worries them?  What are the things that make them lose sleep at night?  What are the things that they want to improve about themselves?  What do they struggle with on a daily basis?  It is important to know that this conversation creates great vulnerability, because how you respond to each other is also a tell tale sign of how you will handle their feelings in the future.  You want to be empathetic and gentle, just like you would want your partner to respond to you.

3. Past Relationships:

Most people do not feel comfortable talking about the depths of their past relationships nor do many individuals like to hear about their partner’s past relationships.  However, there is some important  information that you can learn about what your partner may struggle with as a result of past experiences with others.  Again, you want to be careful of how you respond to your partner and also to not share too many details that may make your partner feel uncomfortable.

4. Family Life:

What does your partner’s current relationship look like with their parents?  Do they have adult to adult conversations or do their parents still treat them like a child?  Do they still try to please their parents? Can they say no to mom?  How do they handle family functions?  This will give you some powerful insight to your partner’s family relationships and their belief system about family life.

5. Political Viewpoints:

 Everyone has heard of the advice to stay away from conversations that deal with religion and politics in the workplace.  Well, you want to do the reverse in your dating relationship.  You want to practice respecting the other’s viewpoint, but you want to ask questions with the intention of learning their personal philosophy.

In your relationship, what you discuss with your partner will reveal the health of your relationship and more importantly if you can accept your partner for who they are right now.  The reality is most people operate in their dating relationship based on the “ideal” of the person rather than the “reality” of the person.  You have to be able to accept the person for who they are right now and be able to navigate through the above conversations to move toward being a healthy and happy couple.

Author: Janie Lacy
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