While it's healthy, and actually pretty common, for you and your partner to have several differences, there are things that you should always agree on in order to have a successful relationship (and potential future together again). Of course, having distinct interests, food preferences, exercise habits, or television shows might not be deal breakers, and these things can totally be your own, independent habits and passions outside the relationship. Yet, there are bigger issues, like marriage, sleeping schedules, and the "kids" conversation, among others, that should always be agreed upon in a serious relationship.
As a certified health coach, I work with clients on having fulfillment, happy relationships, whatever the nature or stage, be it friendship or romantic, and immediate or advanced. While I always encourage clients to embrace themselves as individuals, as well as in a union, where it's okay to be different in some ways and be willing to "agree to disagree," there are a few hot topics where concurrence is critical in preservation and growth of a partnership. What's more, if you can't meet in the middle, it might be time to call it quits and realize that love might just not be enough. Here are 9 things that you should always have in common with your partner, where you're both on the same page moving forward.
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1.The Same Work Ethic
This is a big one, says Shlomo Zalman Bregman, rabbi and matchmaker in NYC, over email with Bustle. "Some people go through life and are what I refer to generally as 'more-oriented,' whereas others are what I call 'enough-oriented.' What does this mean? In my professional experience, those who are oriented towards 'more' are always driven by the pursuit of what they perceive to be their potential ... and not the need of the moment. And someone who operates based upon 'enough' will stop pushing themselves harder to accomplish, as soon as their need of the moment passes," explains Bregman. If you don't match up, it could cause tensions when one partner is working and another wants to go out, for instance.
2. The Same Core Values
You might differ on some views about life or about others, but it's important to have the same values, as the core, says Bregman. "It is super helpful when a couple has their biggest personal values in common with one another. We all have major, overarching values that we use to guide us through life's tough moments and ethical dilemmas. Some of us turn to honesty, transparency, loyalty, faith in G-d, etc," Bregman says. When a couple actually shares their biggest core values, they can resolve problems and keep things harmonious.
3. A Knowledge Of What Compromise Means
Every couple is going to have arguments and disputes, so whenever possible, it's important to try and set up win-win solutions, where both you and your partner can walk away satisfied, says Bregman. "To survive as a couple, two lovers have to forge a way forward with some type of solution that feels like an equitable compromise. In those moments, having a shared overall understanding of what 'compromise' truly means is both healthy and essential for the relationship to continue to grow," Bregman says.
4. A Mutual Agreement About Loyalty
What is being loyal? Is it infidelity, or even just sharing secrets with friends? It's important to discuss and define these terms, such as loyalty, infidelity, fidelity, trust, and more, says Bregman, as sometimes boundaries can be crossed without you even knowing it. "Each person in a couple has to be on the same page as to what these terms means, where is the line drawn, and what kind of behavior pushes you out of these terms," Bregman explains.
5. An Understanding Of Basic Needs
As humans, we have needs. You might need money, support, love, or other things from a partner, and you should make it clear what needs you're looking to both fill and reciprocate. "For a relationship to have solid legs to stand on, it's crucial that each partner (i) recognize what their needs are, and to articulate them, because people aren't mind-readers, (ii) recognize what it is they have to give that satisfies the key needs of their partner, and (iii) be willing to freely and generously satisfy some of the core needs of the person who is reliant upon them," says Bregman.
6. How Important The Relationship Is
Just a fling? Something more serious? You and your partner should agree on the intensity of the relationship, as well as how long you think the duration might last. By sharing a view of how important you are to each other and to what extend you want to grow together, you'll give the relationship its best shot.
7. What Your Five Year Plan Might Look Like
If you and your partner don't have ideas of the future in common, such as a timeframe for marriage, kids (or even kids, at all), career transitions, moves (your partner might envision moving back to a hometown, for instance), then you'll likely realize there's not a practical future together. Unfortunately, this could trigger a break up, but the sooner the better, when it comes down to it.
8. A Level Of Independence
If your parter is always dependent on your for making plans with friends and family, or even just scheduling date-nights, and you're looking for more independence in the relationship, it could cause tension. For instance, sometimes people need more solo, downtime to relax, while the other is more of a social butterfly, feeding off energy of others.
9. How Close You Want To Keep Your Network
When in a relationship, it's easy to fall into a bubble, where you're always with your partner and might even isolate friends and family in looking for solo time. (Especially at the start, when things are hot and heavy.) It's a good idea to discuss with your partner how much time and energy you want to dedicate to external relationships, with those that matter to you most. If you don't line up, this could cause future problems.
If you don't agree on these issues or openly discuss them, it could mean your relationship is headed in a poor direction. Make sure you're on the same page, as it'll help resolve things quicker and prevent unnecessary confusion and disappointment.