Partnerships are dynamic; they are a living energetic connection between two people and require time, attention and growth. All this can be accomplished by building a strong foundation and maintaining the relationship with regular check-ins.
It is estimated that couples need maintenance therapy every three years to work through the changes in life; births, deaths, job changes, moves, financial changes, school, family problems, etc… All of these things you live through with your partner. And as one person changes, so does the partnership. So let’s normalize couples counseling as a preventative action instead of a reactive decision when the relationship may be so damaged it may not be able to be recovered.
It’s (*almost*) never too late to have some key conversations, or revisit them, to help you and your partner build a stronger foundation. It's only two late when one partner is on their way out the door, because it takes two people to make a relationship work. As long as both partners want to keep trying you can keep repairing.
So, I want to offer you some tools to help you strengthen your own relationship, whatever stage or season it may be in. I have listed out some of the core areas of relationships and questions you can explore together. Take what you need from this list and come back later to revisit different questions. Remember: relationships are living, dynamic entities between two people. Have fun connecting!
21 Questions to build a stronger partnership
How do we handle conflict when it arises? Are we happy with it or is this an area of growth in our relationship?
How do we share responsibilities within our daily lives? (ex: chores, kids, cooking, etc...)
When one of us is upset, how do we prefer to cope?
What do you need from each other when we're upset? (note: what you need is likely different from your partner and it helps to have this conversation when you’re calm and emotionally regulated)
What are each of our individual core values? What things do we align on and what areas do we differ? How might our similarities and/or differences help us or potentially create conflict and confusion?
Where can we each be more understanding of each others ideas/beliefs/values?
Is spirituality or a religious practice or community important to either of us? If so, are we making enough space for that?
What are we working toward in this relationship? In other words, what shared meaning are we trying to create together? Perhaps it’s building a family or supporting each other in your careers, or traveling together, or dedication to a life of service to others.
Where are we both at in our careers? Are we each content with where we are? What else might we both like to accomplish?
What interests do we both have and how can we make space for us each to have time for those interests?
What shared interests do we have and how can we make space for that?
What is our life's purpose? In other words, what do you feel you are called to do in this life and are we on a path to do that?
Do we both want children or are we undecided? If we already have children, are we happy with the size of our family?
What do we each believe about child-rearing/discipline/the values we want to instill in our children? Do we believe in spanking? What’s our view on electronics boundaries? How do we communicate as co-parents and strive not to undermine one another
How do we want to handle conflict within our extended families? What boundaries are we willing to set? What boundaries do we need to set?
How do we navigate sharing time between both of our families without over-doing it ourselves?
How do we want to manage money in our relationship? Do we join accounts, keep them separate? If we've already done this, are we happy with how we are making decisions with our money?
Who manages the money for the family? Is it working?
What do we want to do with the money we make? (i.e., save it, travel, buy a house, invest it, donate it, purchase things we want, or perhaps, some combination of all of these)
How do we give and receive love with one another? Is it working for us? (tip: check out the 5 Love Languages by Garry Chapman if you have not read it yet)
How important is sexual intimacy in our relationship? Are we satisfied with how we are connecting sexually and how often?
Get curious, and have fun! Knowing your partners inner desires, life purpose, values, and interests is the foundational step to building a successful relationship.