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Anna McElearney, LMFT | Article

Couples: Five Conversation Topics to Enhance Your Relationship

10/5/2012
Five Conversation Topics for Couples

As couples begin developing their life together, begin living together, struggles can sometimes occur around how certain situations are handled in your home. For the purpose of this article, we will refer to this as your "house" or "family rules." Conversations that help both you and your significant other learn more about how each other grew up, about what "rules" and traditions were taught, can be helpful for couples at any stage of the relationship and can be particularly helpful during the initial stages of living together as couples work toward developing their relationship.

Sometimes, couples develop their relationship "rules" based on rules that were dominant in their home growing up. The following five conversations are intended to simply begin a dialogue between you and your significant other. To open the lines of communication to begin talking and learning more about how each of you grew up and the rules that guided your behavior while living at home. It is intended to open and enhance the communication between you, to learn more about one another, and to learn what "rules" and traditions you'd like to develop as a couple.

Sometimes discussing these topics can be helpful when done with a couples therapist during couples therapy. Having a therapist can help facilitate a safe, open, and confidential space to explore issues surrounding these topics and can help identify and work through other areas that might be of interest to your relationship.

Topic 1 - Family Rules:
• What rules did you have growing up? How did you know they were rules? Were there certain spoken and unspoken rules you had to follow? (Unspoken rules are those that were just simply known within your household and were usually "spoken" through a look or some other type of non-verbal communication). In what ways do these "rules" impact your relationship? How will you decide what your "family or house rules" will be?

Topic 2 - Emotions:
• How were emotions handled in your home? Was it ok to show only some emotions and not others? Was it ok to show when you were frustrated, angry, or sad? Was it ok to cry? What were the "rules" or messages around this? How does this impact your relationship?

Topic 3 - Accomplishments:
• How were accomplishments celebrated or acknowledged? Or, were they minimized, not made into a big deal? How do you celebrate accomplishments in your relationship? How would you like them to be acknowledged / celebrated?

Topic 4 - Affection:
• How was affection shown (such as hand holding, hugging, kissing)? Was it ok in your home to show outward signs of affection such as hugging, holding hands, etc. How is affection shown in your relationship? How would you like it to be shown?

Topic 5 - Finances:
• How was money handled in your home? What were the rules around spending? Around acquiring debt? Who typically paid the bills? How will you decide how to handle the finances in your relationship?

For more helpful information or to contact me for a couples therapy appointment, please visit my website at: http://www.counselingwithanna.com or email me: e_mail

Anna McElearney, LMFT-A (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist - Associate)