joy, family, marriage, equality

4 Must-have conversations before choosing your mate

2/8/18 6:39 AM
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    Written by Jane Schreiner, Coach on Collective Gain, who has dedicated the past 10 years developing a coaching practice and curriculum which she calls Happiness Is A Skill. 

    Is This Really My Person? 

    As a veteran of three different yet equally as wonderful marriage adventures with three completely different partners, I’ve learned a few things about choosing a mate. From the starry-eyed excitement of ‘oh my gosh, I met the most awesome person’ to fast forward, ‘is he ever coming home to help with these kids’, I’ve come up with topics it’s best to cover before the ring stage. After all, this is one of the top three choices you’ll make in your life (along with ‘should I have kids?’ and ‘do I take that job half way around the world?’) so let’s get beyond the attraction stage and get down to how you truly align with each other.

    1. Money: Right up front, early in your dating, get the money conversation on the table. You’re looking for similar perceptions of what money represents to you both. Is this an image topic, is money a practical commodity to be frugally managed, is it the key to happiness? What’s there for both of you? There is inevitably emotional baggage around the perception of money that begins early in life, so go there and see what comes up for you both.  Ask these things:

    • “What’s your belief about the importance of money?”

    • “Was money ever discussed in your family?

    • “What messages did you get from your parents about money?”

    • “What are your aspirations for earning and growing assets throughout your lifetime?”

    The conversations opened up with these questions will begin to reveal if you have similar or different perspectives and beliefs about money. You want to know does your prospective mate have fear around money or a sense of ease and abundance? Do you align with that perspective? This conversation works from both sides so you share your thoughts too.

    The management of money in your lives can be a deal breaker for a happy marriage. For the well being of you both, discuss this early and keep the conversation going. As you get to know each other and share various experiences, you will see a full picture of each other in this area and you’ll have the information to know whether or not you can live together in ease and peace. That’s the goal.

    Remember please, if you don’t agree and match in this area, no one is right or wrong. It’s not required that you agree on things, rather that you gracefully accept your differences. The important thing is to learn deeply about each other before choosing to commit to life together.


    2. Spirituality: Where are you spiritually? What does that word even mean to you? Do you believe in God, the universe, a higher power? Or do you think life is here, now, and then gone?

    Answer these things for yourself and then check in with the person you are dating and ask them too.

    If you live from a deeper place inside or yourself, if you meditate or pray, have any practices you honor to stay connected with that which feels important to you, then share about that and see what response you get in return. See if there is like mindedness around the topic of spirituality. Choosing to share your lives means that you will be challenged along the way and you will want to have a cohesive, easy bond that is nourished by your similar beliefs. This will be the support and the glue that binds you in a deeply fulfilling way as you share all things large and small. Deep, lasting love grows from this place of true connection. That’s where marital happiness grows from along with fulfillment, contentment and rockin’ your lives together! That’s the good stuff.


    3. Family: When it comes to family, marriage is an act of building family. Your new spouse becomes your primary family and that’s important to look at. That may be a thought you’ve never had before so let’s check in, what does family mean to you?

    Are you involved with your family? Parents? Siblings? Maybe you have children, a previous spouse. Are these peaceful relationships or challenging and difficult ones?

    How does the person you are dating answer these questions? Many of our values show up here and aligning values makes happy marriages, so discuss these things with each other.

    These questions are natural openers to the topic of how you both see building family into your married life.

    Will you see your individual families a lot? Talk to them often? Or will you keep your distance? This conversation is a natural segue into whether you want to grow your own family by having children. Ask too why children are wanted, or why they are not wanted. See what’s revealed in those answers.

    I think getting to that question comes easily from the conversation about how you both have experienced family so far in your own lives. These are the most impactful relationships we experience in our lives, molding who we have become. This work of getting to know the person you may want to marry hinges around who are they really, inside of themselves? This conversation about family will reveal much for you both to consider as you decide about marrying each other.

    The topic of family reveals core values and beliefs that impact our whole lives. When you marry each other you are also signing on to relationships with family so get really clear about what that will be like, and if it’s a good fit for you both.


    4. Listen to your gut: This conversation is the one you have with you.

    In coaching we work on pausing to check in with yourself on all things that impact you.

    As the relationship grows with your possible mate, are you noticing doubts that you are suppressing? Is there a little niggling feeling in your gut as you consider some aspect of this person but you want this to be ‘the one’ so you are ignoring it? Do this check in often as you go along in the relationship. Have an ongoing conversation with yourself about what you’re noticing in you and in the other person. About what’s working and not working between you.

    Journaling is perfect for this. If you don’t have a journal there are some awesome ones available in book stores and online. Spiral notebooks are good too as is your laptop. Journal your own answers to the three topics above. Then write your observations of how your person responds too. Ask yourself, “Is this relationship lining up for me? Does anything feel off? Do I feel at ease? Can I talk this through with my person or is that not possible?”


    Being able to say a happy ‘yes’ to marriage with ease in your heart means listening closely to you and your prospective partner. Trust your gut, your intuition. Pay attention to what you are feeling in your body. Stomach’s off, stiff neck, hard to breathe? Your body communicates with you so pay attention. If you need a sounding board, coaches are great for that. I have two!

    My husband and I are approaching our first anniversary and we leave no stone unturned, no question unanswered. When we were making this choice to marry, both having the benefit of previous experience, we knew that committing to being fully open with each other from kindness and good listening was going to be the key. And it is. We never operate from being wrong or right, rather seeking to find the happy ground in between. Humor helps with that.

    If my stomach is off, he’s the first one to hear about it and we dive in to see what needs to be sorted out!

    I wish the same for you.


    Thanks to Jane Schreiner, Collective Gain Coach, who authored this post.  Jane has 3 certifications which round out her life experience in coaching.  She has a PCC from the International Coach Federation, a CPCC from Coaches Training Institute and additionally, she is a Certified Recovery Specialist in addiction recovery. Continuing to learn and hone her coaching skills is Jane’s other passion!

     Connect with Jane . 


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    Jane Schreiner

    Written by Jane Schreiner

    Jane leads her clients to extraordinary change through supportive, spiritual and critical support that will get you to where you want to go.

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