What Serious Couples Should Know About Each Other

by Rachel Sanoff

When does a relationship become serious? Is it when you say those first monumental I love yous? When y'all decide to become exclusive (if you're not polyamorous)? When you move in together? Maybe it's when you hit your one-year anniversary, or the first time you talk about marriage and kids. Perhaps your romance gets taken to the next level on that fateful day when you and your boo make it ~Facebook official~ or post your first couple selfie on Instagram. Whatever you and your partner decide to be the symbolic representation of your partnership's maturation is up to the two of you, of course. But there are a few things committed couples should know about each other.

For one, while you and your partner don't need to have the exact same goals (that'd be kind of boring, right?), your goals should be compatible in terms of the amount of time you'll be able to spend together, where you'll be able to live, etc. What kind of neuroses and triggers do you each have? Do their philosophies about justice and equality align with yours? Do you know why they love the music, books, and art that they hold dear?

You want to figure out the answers to these questions, whether it's to dodge a bullet or to embark on an amazing journey. So what are some more specific things that you two should know about each other as a serious couple?

1. Worldviews

A person's worldview is essentially their philosophy on life, and how they choose to interact with the world and society around them. People don't have to possess the exact same worldviews in order to be a strong couple, but since worldview encompasses a person's morals, ethics, personality, and beliefs, it makes sense that you'll need at least somewhat similar philosophies in order to maintain a long-term partnership. Even if a couple has the same taste in movies and great sexual chemistry, their positive relationship will only last so long once it is revealed that one partner's worldview is to help change society, while the other's is to personally have as much fun or make as much money as possible. This isn't to say that differing worldview's have to be mutually exclusive, but the choices a person makes in order to live by their worldview may lead to conflicts down the road, causing them to be incompatible in the long run.

2. Kids?

Having children is more important to some people than others, and if you and your partner are planning a future together, this is a conversation that you must have. Some people don't desire children, whether it's because it doesn't fit their lifestyle, they have concerns over whether they know how to be a good parent, or there are medical obstacles harming their ability to become pregnant or impregnate. It is a pretty universal opinion that partners with differing dreams of children will eventually have to end the relationship, as staying together will only lead to resentment either because you are raising children that you didn't want, or you are missing the children you never got to have.

Even if you and your partner both want to have children, there is still a lot to discuss. Do you want to adopt, or conceive biologically? Will the children be raised with a religion? And if so, which one? Do you want to raise children in the city where you currently reside? And how many kids do you want, anyway?

3. Fears

You and your partner should know each others fears for numerous reasons. First of all, you can help each other overcome phobias and achieve personal growth. Secondly, there are certain fears that neither you nor your partner should be forced to overcome too soon. If either of you have survived trauma, you may experience PTSD or be triggered by certain stimuli. Being aware of these issues will help both you and your partner strengthen your mental and emotional health. Lastly, if your partner's fears include intimacy, that is an issue that you will have to work out together, should you want the relationship to last.

4. Goals

Relationships cannot be healthy without mutual support. You both should know what the other hopes to achieve, not only to be sources of encouragement for each other, but also to make sure their dreams are compatible with yours. Where does your significant other eventually want to live? Will one of you have a job that requires a lot of travel and long distance?

5. Faves

Of course, you and your partner do not need to have the exact same tastes in books and music to thrive in a healthy partnership. But knowing each other's favorite media, art, literature, music, TV shows, films, and pop culture interests provides great insight into their partner's ~inner being~, memories, dreams, and sense of humor. The process of discovering your partner's favorite things will introduce you to a whole new world of possible favorite things for yourself. Art, literature, and culture helps shape our ideologies and personalities. It's important to know what helps shape your partner. You and your partner should also know each others passions and favorite hobbies so that you can support one another and join one another in various pursuits and activities.

6. Travel Dreams

How important is traveling to you and your partner? Your travel interests will decide how you save money, how you take time off, and where you live. If only one of you desires to travel, that means you will either be apart for possibly large chunks of time or resent feeling pressured to ignore your wanderlust. Neither you nor your partner should deny your adventurous goals, so you just have to figure out how you will work together if your goals are different. Also, traveling together can either strengthen or wreak havoc on a relationship, so you should know how to protect your partnership.

7. The Story Of Your Lives

This one doesn't require too much explaining. Both you and your partner will forever be learning about each other, but you should already know some fundamental personal history prior to entering a more committed companionship -- things ranging from how your favorite elementary school teacher formed your career aspirations to their traumatic bullying experiences in high school, and beyond. You both need to know what the other has survived, and how the past has shaped them into the person with whom you've fallen in love. It will bring you closer, as well as help you understand each others neuroses, fears, and hopes.

8. Political Views

While differing political views do not always have to mark the end of a relationship, if they are too dissimilar, it's really not worth it. Do you want to end up living with an anti-choicer or a racist? Probz not. Political views reveal a lot about a person's philosophy, worldview, and sense of justice and equality. Both you and your partner should know how well your ideologies align before things get too serious and complicated. This isn't to say that partners can't think differently, but if there isn't any similar thread connecting your political viewpoints, you are most likely going to have many frustrated, futile arguments in your future.

9. Stressors

It is important to know the kinds of things that stress each other out, so that you can effectively be there for each other when times get hard and know when to give each other space. In stressful moments, we often forget how to take care of ourselves. If you are in a healthy partnership, then there will always be someone looking out for you. Stress can also understandably take a massive toll on a relationship. Since the ability to predict and relieve oncoming stress can reduce unnecessary arguments, it will greatly benefit your relationship.

10. How To Communicate And How To Fight

You've heard it before: Communication is the most important part of any relationship. Serious couples have usually been together for a long period of time, so by now, you should have hopefully learned how to read the nonverbal cues and tones of voice that reveal what your partner may be struggling to tell you outright. If you haven't learned these signals yet, start studying. Also, arguing and fighting is a completely normal, healthy part of any serious relationship. Understanding each others ways of communicating ensures that you'll fight in the most efficient and effective way possible. Maintaining open and honest lines of communication will also help you survive the inevitable rough patches that challenge all couples.

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