Hey everyone and welcome back to Relationship Views! I’m back to answer the next most popular question from our Facebook poll this week.
If you missed the previous post, I took on the question of what makes two people compatible.
This week, we’ll change gears a bit to talk about…
What are the top questions we should be asking one another when we are in a relationship?
First and foremost, I will state an assumption I have to make when this question comes up—if two people are in a romantic relationship together, they are looking to stay committed to one person for a long period of time. This does not mean that they have intentions of getting married, but just that they want longterm commitment with someone.
If you are dating someone casually or seriously, these questions can be asked so you can gain a better understanding of your partner AND increase your satisfaction in your relationship. The answers to these questions may also lead you to the conclusion that you do not want to be with this person for a long period of time, and that’s okay too.
So let’s get into it.
The first question I think people should be asking of their partner is, “Where do you see yourself in five, ten, twenty years?”
This probably seems obvious, but studies indicate that the most successful relationships are meaningful relationships. An excellent way to create meaning in your relationship is to understand where you and your partner want to be in the future. You can both motivate each other to achieve the goals you have and, ideally, create goals together.
I also believe it is important to date someone who has similar aspirations as you do. Relationships can get stuck when there are power differences between two people so the more you can do to get rid of those differences, the better.
A key difference in power I have seen as a Marriage and Family Therapist is when one person is much more successful at their career, while the other person barely holds onto a job. Suddenly, that power difference creates financial angst, issues around time available for each other, opportunities for resentment to form, etc.
Granted, there are couples who make it work when they have power differences because they have conversations around future planning and have an understanding of each other’s goals.
The second question that should be asked is, “What is the most disrespectful thing someone you have dated has done to you?”
Nine times out of ten when a couple comes to see me to work on their relationship, there has been a breach of respect. During some of the first sessions I have with couples we create boundaries around respectful behavior. Most couples are not surprised by the boundary their partner may set because it has made their partner very upset before. In an effort to be proactive, have a conversation with your partner about respect.
We teach people how to respect us so it is essential to set up clear lines.
The question posed will allow your partner to share an intimate detail from their past, which will draw them closer to you as well as give you information about what constitutes disrespect. For some people, it is unacceptable to not answer phone calls or just talking to someone of the opposite sex is unacceptable. It is important to not get defensive and place these requests into a “crazy jar.” Think about the response and look beyond it. Maybe your partner has gone days without hearing back from an ex or maybe they got cheated on.
Together you can create a rule for your relationship around communication. For example: “I will respond to your call as soon as I can, but sometimes I am at work. If I cannot answer, I will do my best to respond to you so you know I saw your call.” Creating these understandings will build trust between you and your partner and will also manage expectations moving forward. You can then judge how willing your partner is to respect you as well.
The third question you should be asking your partner is, “Who are the people you feel are your supports?”
If you have been in a relationship for a while, you may already know who those people are, or maybe there will be a surprise. When I was doing crisis work, the most utilized step in any crisis plan I created was listing supports for each family member. When emotions run high, one of the best things each partner can do is to reach outside of the relationship for support.
Identifying supportive people that you each know won’t judge the relationship can serve as a calming force. No one can do “relationshipping” on their own. Having people around you who support your feelings will give your partner space as well, which can be really helpful during a heated moment.
Even if your partner is upset and you don’t know how to help, you know who to suggest for them to maybe grab lunch with or to call on the phone. Often times people become isolated in relationships and partners rely solely on each other which is honestly a recipe for disaster.
The fourth question to ask is, “What is your least favorite chore?”
This question sounds a little strange, but hear me out. Most couples who stay together eventually move in together. One of the biggest issues that does not have to be an issue is balance in everyday living. Having a conversation with your partner about their least favorite chore can create space for communication around home life.
With asking this question, you can gain valuable knowledge about chores and the level of importance home responsibilities have in your partner’s life. With the assumption that you want to make this relationship long term, understanding your partner’s favorite and least favorite chores can be helpful if and when you move in together. Many couples I see struggle with balance with household responsibilities and that balance only gets harder to maintain if children are also involved.
The final question I think is important to ask is “How do you define emotional health?”
Emotional health can be considered taboo, but it is very important to understand your partner’s emotional health.
Having conversations around the importance of emotional health and what it means can create space for couples to define specific issues they each may have and what they may bring into their relationship. Emotional compatibility can be a source of relationship satisfaction. Talking about what emotional health means will help your relationship grow stronger because you will uncover how to help your partner when emotions run high or low.
Gaining an understanding of you and your partner’s emotional health status will improve your communication because it will help you be more in tune with the emotions that run in and out of relationships on a daily basis. Need more information on this topic? Psychology Today published a great article on emotional health, which offers additional research.
So there you have it.
The five questions that you should try asking your relationship partner. The results will either help you create more understanding in your relationship, which will ultimately create a better relationship, or you will discover that this person may not be the best fit for you. Either way, you will be on the road to a more successful and happier romantic life.
Have you tried any of these questions? Tell me about the results through email or Facebook!
Until next time…