Being in a long-term, committed relationship is mostly wonderful... and sometimes, it's a little bit of work.
The truth is, although people come together because of the love and attraction they feel for one another, those two things aren't the only things it takes to make your relationship last.
If you're happily coupled-up in a serious relationship, you may be wondering about the best ways to make your relationship last over time. While making sure you maintain your love for each other is the number one way to make your relationship last, there are certain conversations you should have with your partner to keep you on the same page about what the future holds.
These are the seven most important things to discuss with your significant other in order to ensure a long-term love:
1. The Conversation About Commitment
Do you want to get married? Does your partner? Or do you not believe in marriage but want a different long-term commitment? Do you believe in traditional monogamy? Do you want an open relationship?
These are all really important talks to have with your partner if you truly want a strong, healthy relationship for a long time to come.
Before my husband and I got married, we discussed how we felt about commitment and our relationship down to the last detail. We talked about how we felt about monogamy, how we felt about marriage, whether we actually wanted to go through with the legal side of it, how we felt about cheating and what that meant to us, and how we'd continue to evolve on these topics as time went on.
If you truly want your relationship to last, make sure you discuss your views on commitment with your partner so that you're both on the same page.
2. The Conversation About Money
Are you a spender or a saver? Do you believe in buying things or do you value experiences? Do you want to buy a house, or do you not care about that at all? Are you planning on putting some money away for more school in the future?
Unfortunately, talking about money is one of the least fun things in a relationship, but it is very important if the two of you are planning a partnership together.
I wanted to make sure we both knew what we were getting into, so before we got married, my husband and I talked about how we treated money, whether we were good or bad with it, what we owed, and everything else we could think of.
A good long-term relationship should be a partnership between adults, and that includes having the hard conversations about things like money.
3. The Conversation About Kids
Do you want kids? How many? Have you already decided not to have kids? Do you want to adopt later? What about how close you'll be to your friends and sibling's kids?
Kids can change a relationship pretty dramatically and they are a topic most of us feel pretty strongly about. I have never wanted to have kids and had surgery to shut the factory down long before I got married. My husband needed to know this about me, and I needed to know his views on kids before we tied the knot.
Don't get too far into your relationship before you discuss children. To make your relationship last, you'll want to make sure you both feel the same way about having them or not.
4. The Conversation About Life Plans
Do you like more stability, or do you like novelty? Do you want to travel internationally or stay domestic? How do you want to spend your nights and weekends? Do you like exciting events like concerts, or low-key ones like bike rides?
Though these questions sound like they aren't that meaningful, the truth is that what makes up your partnership will be the everyday activities, not the things you do once every six months.
Before we got married, my husband and I discussed everything from our favorite activities to where we saw ourselves in one month to where we saw ourselves in six months and beyond. I told him how I could never give up traveling internationally (a lot) and how I wanted that to be something the two of us did frequently as a couple. He told me that he also really wanted to travel.
Not only should you and your partner talk about how you like to spend your days, you should also talk about how you'd like to spend your life to truly make your relationship last.
5. The Conversation About Fighting
When you have a disagreement with someone, do you like to talk about it right away, or do you need space and time to clear your head? Do you like to sometimes yell to get things out, or do you mostly maintain your cool? How often do you think is healthy for a couple to fight?
You may not be thrilled about the idea of talking about fighting with your significant other, but it's something really important to do before the two of you get into an explosive fight that then gets worse because you don't know what to expect from each other's fighting styles.
I spoke to my husband about the fact that I really need quiet time after a serious discussion to process and clear my head and that I wasn't good talking about things right away. He's the opposite, but talking about that made us more prepared for anything that may come in the future.
If you want your relationship to last, talk about how the two of you argue, before you actually argue.
6. The Conversation About Space
Do you think couples should do everything together, or do you need a lot of alone time? How often do you think it's a good idea to see each other's families? How many nights a week do you think it's reasonable to be out with friends instead of each other?
Do you have activities that you'd like to keep as your own solo activities? Do you have activities you'd like your partner to share?
My husband and I decided early on in our relationship that while we were both working from home, we'd use our workout time as an opportunity for some space, but then when he started working in an office, we'd use that time to connect. Similarly, he plays Rugby, which is always only ever going to be his thing, and I'm a runner, which I like to do alone. We also discussed how much time we wanted to spend with our friends and family.
Often, couples have different needs for space and that's totally OK! It's important, though, that if you want your relationship to last, you talk about what they are and navigate how you'll manage your different needs.
7. The Conversation About Values
Are you religious? Is it important to you that your partner is also the same religion? Do you hate church? Are you an atheist? Do you celebrate major religious holidays in your culture? How do you feel about non-religious spirituality? Are you superstitious?
I am a pretty staunch atheist and have been for some time. My husband is a little bit more relaxed with his views on a higher power but generally hates organized religion. The fact that we're different in this way didn't matter to either of us, but it was important that we talked about it.
Maybe differences in this arena will really bother you or maybe they'll be fine. Either way, if you want to have a long-lasting partnership, you should talk to your partner about this before hitting a snag down the road.
Having serious conversations with your partner isn't always the most fun thing in the world, but it is an important thing to do if you want to make your relationship last.