Having or not having children, how to distribute financial responsibilities and participation of the parents in the relationship, are all topics to talk about without vetoes.
Advisor Zamira Montoya
Some couples in the first stages of their life together usually find themselves with the disquieting question about their future: having or not having children. This is, generally speaking, a topic that is avoided before commitment, thinking that perhaps that moment will not arrive and everything will play out in due time. Nevertheless, this seldom happens that way. This topic must be addressed to guarantee the stability of the couple. The basis of any relationship is dialogue, and the decision about children must be construed between the two individuals, says Clinical Psychologist Zamira Montoya. “Just as there is a marriage contract, there must be an emotional one, that lies more on a symbolic plane but obligates us to delve into the different areas in which the couple will be involved, i.e., the relationship with both families, management of money and the issue of children. This must be discussed previously and if one of the two does not agree it is the other person who determines his willingness to accept that situation or not.”
Without Forcing the Other
One must renounce the idea that one can make the other person change his mind along the way, because everything may end in deterioration for which nobody is prepared. It is different if a person suggests that for the moment he is not thinking about children due to work projects or academic ones. There are many people who prefer arriving at this issue after they have finished the stages of completing their undergraduate or graduate studies or are striving for a promotion they have been working on. Or, there even are people hosting unfounded fears that can be treated in therapy. But when there is definitive decision because there is no interest in children, for example, it is better to look for a different future.
The expert points out that everything is based on dialogue. “What I have been able to observe is that between couples there are lots of words but less space for dialogue. Each individual centers on his own desires but not in an empathic way allowing him to listen to the other person’s needs in a way that promotes thinking about “us” and not in an egotistical manner. These new generations are very centered in communication through other media such as chats and sometimes do not know how to take advantage of the possibility of sitting down to discuss issues face to face, looking at the other person. Because things might be said on the cell phone but this will not substitute what is valuable about talking to the other one in person, the richness of non-verbal language.
Topics without Bans
It is of vital importance to talk about another topic: money. This is an issue that many people usually avoid in order not to hurt the other’s susceptibility. “As a psychologist, my opinion is that in finances I must have my own savings but one must come to agreements: the person earning more money, contributes more. Along my consultations I see some people that are not working and feel that they are being given to. They must talk about this: life can take many downturns and one needs autonomy.”
She adds that homes are ever changing especially now that women are going out to work and men stay home taking care of the house with which they have reversed traditional roles. This must be discussed to know who contributes with what in this conjugal society.
“On the other hand, one must observe the corresponding families and establish limits. There are people that have not become independent and should. But we cannot pretend that the other person sever ties, but certainly it is not permissible that the family take decisions inside the couple about finance, children or any other topic. Furthermore, each one must procure an individual space for himself. If these individual spaces do not exist the couple can deteriorate,” says the specialist. Inside a couple there must be no banned topics and things cannot be left to chance.
64 marriages per day broke up last year, according to the Superintendence of Notaries and Registry of Colombia.
Keep reading No Kids: A Couple’s Decision