Dr. Jess

Dr. Jess lists six con­ver­sa­tions you need to have with your part­ner

Richmond Hill Post - - Contents -

We all know that com­mu­ni­ca­tion is es­sen­tial to a happy mar­riage, but most of us strug­gle to broach the dif­fi­cult sub­jects. Th­ese con­ver­sa­tions won’t lead you di­rectly to the bed­room; how­ever, they can lay the ground­work for a more har­mo­nious and in­ti­mate re­la­tion­ship. And be sure to re­visit them an­nu­ally.

Sex­ual fre­quency

How of­ten do you want sex? What is your part­ner’s ideal fre­quency? Find out and then talk about how you can come closer to mak­ing it a re­al­ity. You may never meet your ideal tar­gets, but the fact that you’re will­ing to talk about them fur­ther sta­bi­lizes your re­la­tion­ship.

Sex­ual fan­tasy

You don’t need to di­vulge ev­ery fan­tasy in ex­plicit de­tail, but talk­ing about them in a broader con­text can help you bet­ter un­der­stand one another’s core de­sires. You’ll likely be ner­vous or un­com­fort­able talk­ing about your fan­tasies, but th­ese nerves keep the spark alive — be­ing too com­fort­able can kill the chem­istry.

In-laws

A friend once told me that she has the per­fect sys­tem for main­tain­ing a good re­la­tion­ship with her in-laws: they live far enough away to pre­clude unan­nounced pop-ins but close enough that they don’t need to spend the night when they visit. In the in­ter­est of full dis­clo­sure, I should note that my fa­ther lives with my hus­band and me, so I ob­vi­ously don’t buy into this for­mula. I do, how­ever, be­lieve that dis­cussing bound­aries and ex­pec­ta­tions in an open fo­rum makes for a happy mar­riage.

Di­vi­sion of labour

A chore cal­en­dar might seem ju­ve­nile, but it saves mar­riages, as the re­sent­ment that grows out of a per­ceived im­bal­ance bleeds into ev­ery other com­po­nent of your re­la­tion­ship.

Money

How do you strike a bal­ance be­tween sav­ing for the fu­ture and liv­ing in the present? Your for­mula is likely dif­fer­ent than your part­ner’s, so talk­ing about why you spend or save as you do can help you to bet­ter un­der­stand one another’s mo­ti­va­tion and logic. A monthly or sea­sonal check-in to dis­cuss your fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion can also serve as a pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sure to stave off the big fi­nan­cial fights.

Fears, in­se­cu­ri­ties and vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties

In­stead of lash­ing out when you feel vul­ner­a­ble, ad­mit your vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties (e.g., “When you travel, I worry that you’ll be tempted”) and re­spond to your part­ner’s con­cerns with non­judg­men­tal re­as­sur­ance (e.g., “If the roles were re­versed, I’d worry too; you have noth­ing to worry about”). Th­ese con­ver­sa­tions re­duce the power of neg­a­tive emo­tions and may help you gen­er­ate so­lu­tions.

Dr. Jess says cou­ples need to make the tough con­ver­sa­tions a pri­or­ity and to re­visit each topic once a year

DR. JESS Jess O’Reilly is a sought-after speaker, au­thor and sex­ol­o­gist. www.SexWithDrJ­ess.com.

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