Topics You Must Regularly Discuss as a Couple
We know that communication is key in a relationship. After all, we aren’t mind readers. If we don’t talk about important topics, we don’t know where we stand. We don’t know where we’re headed. We don’t know what’s inside our partner’s heart.
Having meaningful conversations deepens our relationship — and keeps it healthy. By the time most couples arrive at Rebecca Wong’s office, they’ve stopped talking. They don’t share their thoughts or feelings. They don’t feel safe and comfortable doing so. They’ve already constructed tall walls.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Below Wong and other relationship experts share must-discuss topics to help you cultivate your connection and enhance your relationship — along with tips on how.
Needs and Roles
“Being in a modern intimate relationship often means couples find themselves holding many roles,” said Wong, LCSW-R, creator of Connectfulness and host of the Practice Of Being Seen podcast. And these roles are critical to discuss. For instance, partners can start to feel resentful about a role they’re taking on. If swept under the rug, resentment can easily chip away at the relationship. You might discuss everything from who takes on which household chores to who’s the primary caregiver.
Similarly, it’s vital to talk about each other’s needs. These questions can help you get started, according to Wong: “Is there something you need more of from your partner? Do you need more time for yourself? Do you need more time together?”
Sex and Intimacy
Talk about your intimate wants, needs and limits. Initially this might feel awkward and even intimidating, but the more frequently you discuss this, “the more comfortable and fun it’ll be. Yes, it can be fun!” said Lily Zehner, EdD, MFT-C, a Denver-based therapist who specializes in sex, intimacy and relationships. Wong suggested exploring this question: “Could your sexual intimacy become fuller if you explored…?”
When talking about sex, the key is to be gentle, marriage researcher John Gottman, Ph.D, and Nan Silver write in The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. It’s important to adopt the attitude that “you are making a very good thing even better. Even if you aren’t satisfied with your current sex life, you need to accentuate the positive.” Here’s one example from the book: Instead of saying, “Don’t touch me there,” say, “It feels extra good when you touch me here.”