One of the most crucial parts of maintaining a good relationship with your partner is being able to face crucial conversations. According to Alexcis Spencer Lopez, therapist, writer and owner of A Transformative Touch Wellness Center, effectively communicating with someone you love can be difficult, all due to your emotions. She explains “emotions can bring intensity and an unintentional aggression to what we are expressing that can lead to hurt feelings and defensive responses.” The trick to healthy communication is to be respectful, open-minded and loving so that you can express your true intentions, and hear what your partner has to say.

In an article for Psychology Today, Preston Ni M.S.B.A explains, “if your relationship suffers from ineffective communication, the good news is that as long as you and your partner are willing, improvements can be learned quickly and put to use immediately.” The key word being willing: you both have to be open to having conversations, especially about the tough topics that you might not want to talk about. So in an effort to help you propel your relationship forward, here are 6 crucial conversations you and your partner must have in any successful relationship.

1. Financial Goals
Money plays a big role in any relationship, which is why it is so important that you discuss your finances with your partner. We’re talking about all things related to money…how much you both earn, what your financial goals are, your financial planning strategies etc. And while it seems like a no-brainer, talking about money can be tough, which is why a lot of couples don’t do it. A recent study conducted by Fidelity showed that “43 percent of the people [surveyed] could not say how much their partner earned and 10 percent of that group were off by $25,000 or more.” While it can be awkward to discuss, the only way to experience financial and relationship success is to talk and work together.

Read Related: 7 Steps to Stay Connected to Your Partner During an Argument


2. Divorce
If you are dating or marrying someone who has been previous married, and divorced, it’s important that you discuss their past relationships and what went wrong in their marriage. Believe us, no one wants to discuss their failed relationships—rehashing past fights is never fun. But it’s important for the future of YOUR relationship that you both openly acknowledge what was missing in their past partnerships.

3. Family Planning
How many kids do you want to have? Do you even want children at all? When do you see yourself becoming a parent? Where do you want to raise your kids? Sure, these are pretty heavy topics that might seem a tad premature on the first date, but as your relationship gets more serious it’s important that you are able to openly raise these questions, and equally important, that you be ready to accept answers that are not the same as your own goals. Part of family planning is first seeing if you and your partner mesh, and if/when you don’t, learning how to work together to compromise.


4. Your Living Will
Ugh, nothing is more depressing than creating a legal document detailing what will happen to your family and your assets when you die. It’s morbid and stressful, but it’s also really important to ensure that your family will be taken care of should you not be around to protect them yourself. Trust us, it’s not an easy conversation to have. Especially when you get to the question of who will care for your children if you are deceased; because let’s be honest, no one can parent your children as well as you. And while neither of you will enjoy these topics, it’s a responsibility you should take seriously.

5. What Happens in the Bedroom…Doesn’t Always Stay in the Bedroom
Your sex life should be a source of pleasure, not stress. And yet, for a lot of couples, it’s hard to talk about sex. In a new relationship it’s really important to discuss past sexual experiences so that you can ensure that you are both healthy before you hop in the sack. For long-term relationships, it’s also important to talk openly about sex, but for different reasons. Perhaps you feel unsatisfied or insecure about your sex life with your spouse. It can be hard to share this feelings, because “you have to be open to talking about what you value and your vulnerability” explains Barry McCarthy, a psychologist and sex therapist. While it might be tough to broach this topic, your sexual satisfaction (and overall happiness in your relationship) will only improve if you do something about it.


6. Your Fears and Insecurities
Living a fulfilled life is not about completely avoiding scary situations, but rather finding ways to deal with your fears head-on so you can move forward. Which is why it’s important that you share those fears with your loved one so you can tackle those obstacles together. Whether you have a fear of abandonment, fear of heights, a completely irrational fear of being attacked by a shark…never forget that your partner loves you not just in spite of your fears, but because of who you are, insecurities and all.