January 30, 2019
Conversations for a Fulfilling Relationship
Communication is essential to a lasting relationship, but simply opening your mouth and letting the words flow out doesn’t amount to effective communication. Communication involves both talking and active listening. And purposeful conversations about intense topics tend to be more fruitful than responsive ones.
If you want to make it in the long-run and have a fulfilling relationship, have conversations that make you feel uncomfortable. Consider the following topics:
Parenting is a source of fulfillment and conflict in relationships and it often starts before the kids arrive. You’ll want to discuss a wide range of questions and scenarios in advance so that you can discuss contentious topics without the pressure of a crying baby in the next room. Some questions to consider: How many kids do you want (if any)? When will you want to start trying? Or would you rather adopt? If you don’t get pregnant after a year, what methods would you consider? If you’re open to adoption, what age range, gender and race would you consider? Who will take time off work for early child rearing? Do you have the means and willingness to hire a nanny or ask family for help? What schooling options will you consider? What religious/spiritual upbringing will you choose? What language(s) will you speak at home? How do you approach discipline? If you think you’re getting ahead of yourselves at this point, consider the fact that you’ll have to face these questions (and tougher ones) if you decide to commit for the long haul.
Money is another significant source of conflict in relationships (and breakups), so you want to lay your cards on the table from the onset. Some discussions to consider: What does money mean to you? How did you feel about money growing up? How does your income relate to your sense of self? How did our parents approach money? How much do you want to earn? How do you feel about earning more or less than your partner (and how does gender factor into your expectations)? What percentage do you want to save? What percentage do you put aside for your kids’ education (if any)? How do you manage discretionary spending? Do you prefer to keep your money together, apart or a combination of the two? Do you (want to) financially support your family in any way? This is just the tip of the iceberg and you’ll need to have ongoing conversations as your financial situation evolves.
Couples fight often and intensely about the role their families play in their lives and relationships, so it’s important to talk about your needs, boundaries and expectations and listen to your partner’s perspective. Cultural variances can affect how we look at family (Western norms tend to be more individualistic whereas Eastern values tend to be more centred on the family), so these conversations can be tense, but fruitful. How often do you want to see your parents and siblings (and extended family like cousins, aunts and uncles)? Do you want to live close by? Will you want your parents to move in with you as they age? Will your parents and siblings play a significant role in raising your children should you opt to become parents? How do you deal with conflict with your in-laws? You’ll want to nip these conversations in the bud before conflict arises.
If you want to have a fulfilling, lasting relationship, you need to talk about sex, because although it’s a natural act, a satisfying sex life does not arise naturally in long-term relationships. You have to cultivate it. Start by talking about the 3 Fs: Frequency, Feelings and Fantasies.
Frequency: How often do you want to have sex? How often do you think your partner wants to have sex? It’s likely that you think you know how often your partner wants it, but most people tend to misread their partner’s desire. If you want sex less often than your partner does, it’s likely that you overestimate how often they want it; if you want sex more often than your partner does, it’s likely that you underestimate how often they want it. So…you need to formalize the conversation! Write it down on a piece of paper: how often do you want it? how often do you think your partner wants it? Exchange papers and have a laugh and then have a discussion about how you find some middle ground.
Listen to Jess & Brandon’s discussion of how often they have sex here.
Feelings: What is your core erotic feeling? (CEF). Your CEF is the feeling you associate most strongly with sex. It’s the feeling that helps get you into the mood for sex and facilitates sexual excitement and fulfilment – it is the basis of your erotic script. To identify your core erotic feeling, answer the question: how do I need to feel in order to get in the mood for sex? You then have to find ways to make yourself feel this way and train your partner to evoke this emotion in a way that works for you.
Learn more about your core erotic feeling in this podcast.
Fantasy: What are the core themes of your fantasies? You don’t have to share every detail, but you will benefit from highlighting patterns and the feelings associated with your fantasies. For example, do you tend to fantasize about being desired? Do you tend to fantasize about feeling sexy? Do you tend to fantasize about feeling loved and cared for? Do you tend to fantasize about feeling threatened or at risk?
If you want to make your relationship last and want to ensure that it’s full of passion, fulfilment and love for the long-term, invest in your relationship as you do in your health, fitness, career and business. Check out our series of online courses here.