5 Serious Conversations You and Your Partner Should Be Having Regularly
If you Google “money and divorce” you will find 143 million articles, many of which discuss the fact that fighting about money is a major predictor of divorce. Money is, of course, a major source of stress in relationships of all kinds and it’s no surprise that a happy marriage relies, in part, on being on the same page, financially. Unfortunately, money is not the only factor that can lead to divorce or an unhappy marriage, which is why it’s important to have all of the difficult conversations regularly - not just the ones that make headlines. In my experience, having the following chats on a regular basis will make you and your partner happier and, in the end, hardier.
This one sounds like a no-brainer but it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and forget to chat about your goals, what makes you happy, and what gets under your skin. Open and honest communication is an important component of a happy marriage, but to truly be successful requires more than just making offhand comments in passing – it requires sitting down, putting it all out there, and discussing how to make it happen.
Less-than-ideal in-laws can be a major source of stress if not dealt with and it’s important to have honest conversations about them. Because this topic tends to come up every year during the holidays, avoiding the issue is a great way to breed resentment and anger and ruin holidays, so while talking about it can be difficult and emotional, the results should be better than the alternative.
Division of Labor
The debate over household chores is by no means a new one but it can still lead to a toxic environment if one partner feels they are doing more than their fair share of the labor. Unfortunately, it can often come up fairly frequently depending on how often you or your partner’s work schedule changes. On the positive side, division of labor conversations don’t have to be long, drawn-out events – they can be discussed and resolved in the time it takes to load the dishwasher. So if you find yourself working more hours than normal, there’s nothing wrong with asking your partner to pick up the slack (and if they are working longer hours, remember that it’s your turn!).
There’s an old joke that intimacy goes out the window when you get married, but it doesn’t have to. When it comes to intimacy in a marriage, it’s important to remember that the magazines are wrong - there’s no rule for how and when or how often to do anything, whether that’s sex or date night or cuddling up with Netflix. The important thing is that you and your partner are on the same page and, if not, to get there. The great thing about this particular conversation is that it usually results in more conversations that can help resolve a lot of issues you didn’t even know you had, such as whether one partner is stressed at work or feels they are doing more than their fair share of the household chores.
Chances are you and your partner were on the same page about children when you got together, but are you still? As people grow and evolve, they oftentimes change their minds and the same goes for kids, so it’s important to check in every once in a while to make sure you still want the same things. If you or your partner finds yourself on the fence about it when you were firm in your commitment beforehand, then it’s time to circle back and talk about why. Is it money? Is it because you’re too busy? Is it because you feel like intimacy may take a backseat? Is it because you feel like you’d be doing all of the work? Like the intimacy conversation, this one can help root out some unacknowledged fears that can leave you better and stronger because of it.
Although there’s no rule for how to maintain a happy marriage, communication is key. Whether you have deep, meaningful conversations daily, monthly, or quarterly doesn’t matter – what matters is that you do it consistently and honestly.