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Welcome back to Part 4 of the Are We Ready For Marriage series. We’ve been tackling some pretty serious questions and today is no different.
If you’re just catching up on this series, here are the previous posts:
Today I want to talk about the 3 questions you should have conversations about on a continual basis.
When Jono and I became friends, we used to talk on the phone for hours about everything. We still do. I’ve realized that the deep intimacy in our relationship has a lot to do with the fact that we’re completely vulnerable with each other, and honest about everything. But after years of giving people relationship advice, I’ve realized that a lot of people don’t have that type of relationship with their partner.
It’s hard for me to imagine marrying and sharing my life with someone that I don’t really know that well. When you marry someone, you should know everything there is to know about them. You should be able to write a small book about their life with the information you know about them, that’s how well you should know the person you’re going to marry.
But so many people focus on the happiness they have in the moment, then get married and quickly become disillusioned at all the stuff that starts coming out the closet once they say “I do.”
Sure, you’re always going to be learning more and more about your partner even after you get married. But you should know the significant things that have shaped them into the person they are today.
Here are some things to talk to your partner about. Remember that a lot of people (especially men!) have a hard time opening up about things that make them feel vulnerable. So if you don’t get very far in the first conversation, keep trying! So many communication issues can be avoided by just understanding your partner’s past. This is why it’s important to make your relationship a safe space where you can tell each other anything.
Here are the most important things to ask about the past
Was your partner ever the victim of abuse, rape, or bullying? Were they abandoned or neglected by their parents? Trauma literally changes the pathways in your brain. It affects the way you perceive things that happen to you. It shapes the way you think. For a person who has been through trauma, a word, touch, or smell could bring back painful memories or cause them to react in an unexpected way.
How long was your partner’s last relationship? Why did they break up? How did it start? It’s important that you hear what there is to know about past relationships from your partner, and not from gossips or people who aren’t looking out for your best interests. Also, patterns in relationships are often repeated, so you need to know exactly why things didn’t work out.
Where did they grow up? What kinds of family traditions did they have? What was their family culture like? Who raised your partner? What was marriage like between their parents?
The past shapes the person you are today. Know your partner’s past will go a long way to helping to establish trust and intimacy in your relationship. If you have that kind of relationship, sometimes your partner may not be able to communicate their needs to you clearly, but knowing their past will give you the clues you need to figure out their pain and their priorities. You’ll have a much greater insight into the way they think and feel.
If that’s the type of relationship you want, and the kind of foundation you want for your marriage, start having those conversations now, and keep having them until it’s a practice in your relationship to share your innermost thoughts with each other.
That’s when you know that you’re truly one.
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P.S. Want more marriage prep? Here’s an ebook bundle I put together for you!