I think most people will probably agree that there are important questions we should ask or determine the answers to when dating. Right?
Do we agree on what we’re doing?
Do we have the same definition of dating anyway?
Are you a stalker?
Those are generally agreed upon. And then there are the other just as important ones based on how far along you are in the relationship or what your intentions are, such as knowing how fast or slow someone moves in relationships or whether he/she intends to practice celibacy during the relationship.
But while all of those are important, I think they are also a part of conversations that tend to come up in dating whether you intend for them to or not. What I’ve found to be the really important questions are the ones you have to bring up with purpose, though. Questions that become important once some sort of investing begins to occur.
The best examples I can give are from two of my favorite TV shows — Girlfriends and Grey’s Anatomy. On Girlfriends, the character Joan at one point believes she has found her soulmate — that is until she learns that he doesn’t ever want children and she wants like a basketball team’s worth of them. Finding this out isn’t the bad thing… it was the fact that she didn’t find it out until after she was invested, after they’d begun talking about marriage, after they’d begun planning a life together. On Grey’s Anatomy, Cristina and Owen find out the opposite to be true. He wants kids. She absolutely, positively does not. And yet, even though they knew this about each other, they still got married, they still had unprotected sex, they still went about life as normal until oops Cristina ends up pregnant, decides to have an abortion, and Owen hates her for it. (oops, guess I should have said SPOILER or something there, right?)
Anyway, in both situations you can see how having the kids conversation prior to getting invested in that relationship would have served them well. And then after having the conversation, believing whatever that person tells you and not assuming you will change his or her mind. As one friend of mine likes to say, you can’t kind of have a baby. You have to be all in on that decision.
But lest you think questions about children are the only important questions that needs to be tackled, I’m here to say they are not.
Other questions can be things like…
Where do you see yourself living in 5 years?
What does marriage look like to you?
Do you want to ever get married?
How important is travel in your life?
How important are your friends in your life?
What religion would you want to raise any children you made?
And so on and so forth. Those questions seem obvious, except that I know many couples who have never posed them. And it’s not because they don’t know they’re important — it’s because they are questions we don’t typically think about until the time comes when the situation is ever present. How many folks do you know who didn’t have a conversation about where to live until one person wanted to move and the other didn’t? Or didn’t have a conversation about religion until one wanted the baby to be raised Baptist and the other Catholic?
These questions matter because they explore what you see as your future. They speak to the type of expectations each person is bringing into a relationship. And they’re so much better discussed ahead of time than when emotions are all fired up.
Can you all think of any more of “those really important questions” we should add to the list?