Before going further in a relationship, knowing what you and your partner’s expectations are is key. According to Paul Mubiru, a relationship counsellor in Mukono, in any relationship, it is never advisable to assume that your partner likes the same things you do.
“Learn to ask some important questions before settling into any relationship, however weird or uncertain the responses might be. These questions will help you to know your position when it is still early enough,” he says.
What is your ideal sexual agreement?
Ali Male, a counsellor at YMCA, says although many people in a relationship beat around the bush when it comes to sexual matters, this should be one of the first things that partners talk about.
“Many couples in long-term relationships never talk about their sexual agreement until they hit troubled waters,” he says adding that it is helpful to talk about how often each partner would like to have sexual contact, what their understanding of faithfulness is, and other ways of staying intimately connected.
How do you feel about the relationship?
Mubiru says asking your partner to describe how they feel is a really practical tactic to determine whether the relationship has a future or not. “These statements are important because you are pointing out objectively the amount of time you have been dating and most importantly, without putting pressure on your partner,” he observes.
How should we improve our relationship?
Margaret Tumusiime, a counsellor with Girl Talk Uganda, says there is no way you will gauge the future of your relationship if you are not examining it.
To her, when one asks this question, it sheds more light on something in the relationship that may no longer be working and needs to be changed.
What are your goals?
Mubiru says when you ask about your partners’ relationship goals, you get to the reality of whether they would want to commit to you in the long run.
“Asking about your partner’s relationship goals is a question that will have your partner bewildered if they do not see you as a future partner and they will have great ideas to share if they do see you as a longterm partner,” he says.
How can we fix specific issues?
Tumusiime says it is important to talk about your triggers and what makes you mad. This she explains is a great time to use clear and honest communication to talk to your partner about what issues you both have that need to be resolved.
“Even if you think you can handle a relationship issue on your own, bring it out in the open and discuss it with your partner for matters of being transparent,” she advises.
What turns you off in a relationship?
Tumusiime adds that knowing what turns off your partner is key to avoiding misunderstandings because once you know what annoys them it will help you avoid those specific turnoffs.
What are the biggest differences between us?
Mubiru says it is important to point out your major differences and get ways of solving these differences. “It is normal for partners to have differences, but this can be rectified if you sit on a round table and discuss ways of getting rid of these differences,” he says.
What questions would you ask you partner?
“It is important to ask whether the relationship is long-term or short-term. Nowadays, some men enter into relationships just for fun.” Stella Ayo
“I would ask whether he is comfortable being in a relationship with me. Some men go into relationships but are afraid being seen in public with their partners.” Sylvia Nakayondo
“I would inquire whether they love me for who I am or they are just after my money. Most ladies nowadays love money more than anything else, even relationships.” Methodius Ndyamuhaki
Improve communication in a relationship
Communication is an art, and it is also one of the most important skills in any relationship. Anyone can be a great communicator, it just requires some time, energy, and focus.
Understand your partner’s communication style
Once you have figured out which style you most identify with, take some more time to think about which style your partner displays to you most often.
Being able to understand both of your communication styles will help you see why you clash, and why arguments often work out the way they do.
From here, you can determine where you both need to adapt your communication styles, so you can communicate better with each other.
Focus on communicating with love at all times
One of the greatest rules with communication in relationships is to make sure you are focusing on love—after all, if you did not love each other, you would not be together, would you?
When you focus on love, and saying and doing things in the most loving way you can, the other person feels it. This shows mutual love and respect for each other, which is vital for any relationship to survive, and flourish.
Talk to your partner often
Some of us avoid speaking about our feelings and problems, which is often a learned behavior from our childhood.
But getting things off our chest and addressing issues if and when they arise stops mole hills from growing into mountains. If you do not make time regularly to speak to your partner, this is something that could have a profound effect on your relationship.
Be open and honest at all times
When we’re open and honest with our feelings, we feel free. Nobody likes to bottle things up, because it’s suffocating.
If you are afraid of hurting your partner, just remember what we have already spoken about—communicate kindly, and with love and respect.
Do not raise your voice, and do not point the finger. Just be open with your feelings, and invite them to do the same.