Monday, 24 October 2016

A Weekend Challenge

This past weekend I challenged some friends to go through this list of questions with their spouses. (Some are with their life partners, while others are newer couples, some were married, some engaged, etc.) I agree that the following questions aren't fun to go through, some are intimate and some might be awkward, but they are designed to spark honest discussions.

For the most part Jason and I had been over this content before - in some fashion or another, at some time or another. But it is always good to take serious stock of your relationships - have serious conversations, just to do so, just to see if things have changed, if anything surprises you, if you truly are on the same page.

I don't think that any of my friends actually did end up sitting down with their spouses and going over them, but I figured I shouldn't issue the challenge and not follow through myself. So Friday night I texted Jason the link to the article, said, "Let's head to bed a bit early and go through these together" and made my way upstairs. I didn't present it as a fun game - cause it really isn't. And I didn't ask him if he wanted to - because I didn't want to hear he wasn't interested. I didn't want to argue over doing it or not, whether there was worth in doing it. So we did it.

The Questions

The questions and article were from the New York Times and you can see them and the reasoning behind asking each one ONLINE.

To get a sense of what the conversation was, this is the list of questions:

1. Did your family throw plates, calmly discuss issues or silently shut down when disagreements arose? 
 2. Will we have children, and if we do, will you change diapers? 
 3. Will our experiences with our exes help or hinder us? 
 4. How important is religion? How will we celebrate religious holidays, if at all? 
 5. Is my debt your debt? Would you be willing to bail me out? 
 6. What’s the most you would be willing to spend on a car, a couch, shoes? 
 7. Can you deal with my doing things without you? 
 8. Do we like each other’s parents? 
 9. How important is sex to you? 
 10. How far should we take flirting with other people? Is watching pornography O.K.? 
 11. Do you know all the ways I say “I love you”? 
 12. What do you admire about me, and what are your pet peeves? 
 13. How do you see us 10 years from now?

Since I had sent the link to Jason's phone I thought having him read the questions would be best, it also would mean that he could control the speed of the conversation, quickly jumping to the next question or stay on a topic if there was more to talk about. He asked the question, I answered, he answered, then sometimes we would want to know more or needed clarification and he would read the little background bit included in the article.

Our Outcome

Jason and I are intensely open about, and on top of, our money/finances. So I figured the questions related to that would be easiest, however 6 ended up being a short but interesting conversation. Firstly, neither of us had any idea how much a couch costs because we haven't ever bought one. Jason compared it to buying the king-bed and mattress, but even then I was struggling with the high cost of these items more than him. There are definitely certain things that I am not happy spending money on. I barely bat an eye at dropping multiple thousands to travel but the thought of spending a grand for a couch makes me exceedingly uncomfortable - couldn't we get something nice for less than that?

Both Jason and I had the same price point for shoes with a max of $250, however I consider the need to spend that much only in the case of a highly specialized product, like boots for trekking in the Arctic. In general, I can't image go near that cost for the types of shoes I usually need - where that price seemed normal to Jason for anything from winter boots to hiking, biking, or running shoes. Lastly the question led us into a discussion about buying a new car, which we are considering doing next year. We will need to revisit the cost breakdown for that again but it is a major purchase that we need to work out together.

I have noticed from doing this post that we actually didn't end up talking about the last two questions! We stopped on 11 because it was a cool way of looking at relationships that I hadn't really heard of before. It got us talking and we forgot about the rest of the quiz. I really want to get the book by Gary Chapman that is the reference for this question. We both agree that we show each other love through affirmation and physical touch. On top of that, Jason he feels like I demonstrate love through giving him gifts and in contrast I think his acts of service are one of his primary languages. I think this is a really interesting way to look at love and relationships, I want to know more.

No comments: