Step Two: Now, prioritize the list by placing the items that are absolute musts at the top and the ones that are more hopes and desires but not absolute needs at the bottom. For example: if you want children, then a family and the number of kids should be at the top. If you need to live close to your biological family or you're strictly monogamous, put these items at the top as well. Things that are nice but not a must go towards the bottom.
Step Three: Get with your partner and share your lists. Hopefully, you've already spent time talking a lot about your dreams and wishes and what you love about each other. Now it is time to discover what you need and if your needs can be met. This should be a very exciting conversation. Hopefully, there will be plenty of things in common that are at the top of your lists. This is how the conversation goes when an item is high for one person and low or non-existent for the other.
Let's say that having a family is high on your husband-to-be's list. He's certain he wants children. You, on the other hand, are equally certain that you do not want to go through childbirth. This could be an instant dealbreaker. But there is one question that must be asked first: "What can we do to meet each others needs? Can we have a family without childbirth?" The answer is "yes" if both of you are willing to adopt children. What might have been a dealbreaker could turn into an amazing parenting partnership.
Use this same process with all your core needs. Cover geography, travel and lifestyle requirements. Make sure to include the quality of emotional connection, inspiration and growth that is important between the two of you. Know that this list can and will change as you evolve individually and together. In fact, you will discover that some things you were certain were needs are better classified as wishes and desires. This "Partnership Agreement" process of stating, agreeing on or finding acceptable solutions for each other’s needs is a must for any relationships to succeed, especially in the early years. Make time to review and update at least once a year or whenever you feel it necessary,
Remember, we would never go into business without a partnership agreement. Your romantic partnerships are the most important agreements you will have in your life. Honor yourself and your partner with this commitment to your health and long-lasting love and happiness.
Larry Michel works with couples and singles around the world to help them shed damaging fears and stories from their past and experience true intimacy, love and fulfillment in the present. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit MatchMatrix.com for free gifts from Larry to his YourTango followers or visit his personal website at TheFourAnwers.com.