netPsychologist Paul W. Anderson Ph.D.

 

"I'd Rather Be In Love With You Than Know Who You Truly Are."

 

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Unfortunately, very few dating or even engaged couples are willing to have frank and honest discussions about critical issues that underlie successful marriages.  So says Eric Copage in "Love You! Now, the Difficult Stuff ..."  

 

The dating, courtship and romance time when a relationship is being conceived and established is the period when couples should be gathering honest information about each other. That is not always the case.

 

"Should I continue dating and relating to this person?" is a question both people are attempting to answer while courting. However, once that magical point of "love" is reached, couples tend to avoid like the plague difficult conversations with each other for fear of breaking the magical love connection.

Who Are You, Anyway?

 

Although they are purely Hollywood concepts and have little to do with the long-term realities that make or break marriages and relationships, the belief in "happy-ever-after" and the elixir of love takes over and further fact-finding goes out the window.

 

Many couples I see in counseling tell me that once they decided they were in love, they proceeded with each other on the assumption that love would be enough to override all differences and difficulties they might encounter. And they admit that, "No," they did not ask each other and discuss the following unromantic questions:

  1. What will be our goals or mission statement as a couple?
  2.  To what medical lengths are you willing to go to have children?
  3. Can you name two real-live couples you admire and want to be like?
  4. If our child has severe disabilities, what would you do to care for them?
  5. After 10 years of marriage, what will our sex life be like and what will we be willing to do to keep it vibrant?
  6. Will we share our credit reports or background checks with each other before we marry and after?
  7. If one or both of us want out of the marriage, how will we handle that?
  8. What did you learn from previous your relationships that will help our relationship be healthy?
  9. How do you handle conflict and does it fit with my style?
  10. Is there something in your history, legally medically or otherwise you would not want me to know about?

Obviously, these are difficult topics for any two people to discuss especially if they lead to secrets that one wants to keep hidden. The dilemma is to know who you're in love with and planning to marry at the risk of falling out of love.

 

How couples attempted these kinds of discussions can have everything to do with the success of these kinds of conversations. Here are some tips:

 

  • When you begin these dialogues, make sure you have a tone with each other that is open, tolerant and accepting.  
  • Reassure each other that the goal and point of discussing these kind of topics is to understand and know each other better and strengthened the relationship bond.
  • Remember, we all bring baggage and unresolved problems into a marriage or long-term relationship. The point is not to hunt for the perfect partner, but rather to establish a foundation of honesty and truth with each other upon which lasting love and acceptance can grow.

Marriage counselors can help facilitate a couple who seeks love and truth in their relationship. Family and marriage counselors are trained in helping couples open up the windows of fresh and authentic communication with each other.

 

Here's to romance, truth and honesty.
You deserve all three.

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