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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ...  (More)

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Couples: Engaged on Valentine’s Day! Topics to Discuss

Uploaded: Feb 14, 2018
Valentine’s Day is popular for marriage proposals. It’s romantic and lovely and you’re glowing with happiness. Congratulations!

I want to be sure you talk through everything before you get married. And I mean everything. I’ve counseled couples who did not talk about sex, money, kids, chores, in-laws, vacations, etc. You love each other, so that’s enough. And in some ways it is and in others, it’s not.

Here’s a beginning list of things for you to discuss:
1. What does it mean to be a wife? From her perspective? From his?
2. What does it mean to be a husband? From his perspective? From hers?
3. What did you learn from your family about being a husband or wife?
4. Who is supposed to do what? (In the home/outside the home.)
5. How are decisions made?
6. What does money mean to each of you? Who is supposed to earn it? What will money be spent on? Will you each have "mad money" to spend on whatever you choose?
7. Will you have children? How many? Who takes care of children? How do you feel about a nanny?
8. What do your extended families mean to you? How much time do you spend with them?
9. Would you allow your parents to live with you? For how long? Under what circumstances? How will you handle it if parents stay a few months at a time; will they get into your parenting or household business?
10. What struggles have you seen in married couples? How might you handle those struggles with your own partner?
11. How do power issues show up between you? How will you address them?
12. What is allowed to be talked about?
13. What is not supposed to be talked about?
14. What does sex mean to each of you? How often are you "supposed" to have sex? How do you talk about what works and what does not work for you sexually?
15. What is foreplay? When does it happen? Who initiates sex?
16. When and where do you vacation?
17. How is faith a part of your lives? Is it?
18. How will you face personal and/or professional challenges?
19. Would you move with your partner's job?
20. How do you balance work/home life?
21. How do you keep devices from coming between you?
22. Do you have anxiety? What helps with it? What makes it worse?
23. How will you fit exercise and self-care in with a busy life?
24. Would you care for your aging parents? How much of your resources would you use for that?
25. Who in your life has died? How was that?
26. What are you excited about in getting married?
27. What are you afraid of in getting married?
28. How will you avoid the mistakes you saw your parents make?
29. How will you resolve fights?
30. How will you handle miscarriage?
31. What skills do you need for this lifelong journey? Do you have them?
32. Have you lived alone for a long time? What adjustments will you need to make?
33. . . . And so forth

What’s your attachment style? Meaning when something is stressing you, do you withdraw, get anxious, fight, freeze, reach for help, etc? You can take an online quiz about your [ http://www.web-research-design.net/cgi-bin/crq/crq.pl attachment style.

Your goal is to be anchors for each other in life. To care for each other every day in small ways. A look, a smile, belly to belly hugs for two minutes, jokes, holding hands, giving compliments and gratitude, and trusting that when you need to talk about something that you will be heard, seen and listened to.

Get on the same page as much as you can, agree to disagree where you need to, and honor your beloved with respect and care.

Comments

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by JaneSmith, a resident of another community,
on Feb 18, 2018 at 2:48 pm

JaneSmith is a registered user.

I guess if the couple would start to discuss all the topics they would break up at the middle of list. I wrote about psychology of relationships, and discovered that if people are created for each other they don't need to talk about traditional things. They just act in the same way when it comes to children, vacation and so on.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Feb 19, 2018 at 4:08 pm

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

Hi Jane,

That's an interesting way to approach a relationship. If two people come from very, very similar backgrounds and have a tremendous amount of shared context that might work. Most people do need to talk things through, however. Because everyone's family is different and that's the imprint they take to relationships, it's rare to just know and agree about everything.


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