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These days, people are continually being bombarded with different forms of pressure when it comes to conversations with their partners. You have to think of the most appropriate thing to say in every situation so that you don’t ‘fall your hand.’ This means that we usually avoid the serious (and usually uncomfortable) discussions until after the wedding night and these usually have devastating consequences. We end up getting to see a side of our partner that we did not see earlier and it leaves people frustrated and could potentially break up the marriage. Here are some very important questions or conversations that would help you avoid this occurrence.

1.      How much do you earn?

Please, please and please, do not ever skip this question because of the potential discomfort that comes with asking your partner about their finances. It doesn’t really matter whether you are a man or a woman. There is nothing more annoying than finding out that the person you have proposed to or are already married to does not earn an amount that would be considered helpful to the family. This obviously extends to a question about your partner’s place of work. Remember that this doesn’t make you a gold digger or tramp, it just means that both of you are planning your finances. Some guys would find this particularly hard to do owing to the thought that a man should be the sole provider for the family but times are changing and it would be beneficial for both parties to know each other’s financial obligation.

2.      What are your oddest physical behaviors?

This is not as much a question as it is a conversation to be had multiple times. People have very strange sets of physical and mental behaviors that would leave you stunned or even annoyed. Imagine living with a guy that pees on the bed at night. If you didn’t know about this beforehand, it would be a completely weird and annoying discovery. If you knew this already, it would be easier to understand and control. There are ladies that snore and are extremely embarrassed about it. The guy she wants to marry might be one who could never survive with a woman that snores loudly and so he would be extremely uncomfortable and keep complaining. Complaints, no matter how small, lead to dissention and ultimately arguments. Remember that these are examples of everyday situations and do not need to lead to breakups.  You should also check for sexually relation challenges by going to see a doctor together.

3.      Blood Groups and Genotypes

This is probably the most important question or discussion that must be addressed before any plans are made for wedding. There are a lot of people who found out about their spouses genotype when they had already gotten married and it led to all sorts of complications. If you are AA, you can marry from across the spectrum but if you are AS or SS you should be very careful about these decisions. It is medically advised that anyone with the AS or SS genotype should marry someone with the AA genotype because this makes it statistically impossible for you to have a baby that has sickle cell anemia. It’s a decision for the future of the children. Blood groups are also very important because we need to be sure that in cases of emergencies that might require blood transfusion, we are compatible with our partners. Make sure this question is place at the top of your awkward conversation bucket list.

4.      How many children and how soon?

In Nigeria, we know that there are personal and societal expectations for having children. If your lady partner is a career woman who wants to give a few years before childbirth, you should be able to know what that entails and how that would play out. Ladies, if your partner wants to have 5 or 6 children and you want 3 children, it could be a sticky topic later on. These conversations would help you manage your expectations and your extended family’s expectations as well.

5.      What are your plans for the future?

Well this cannot be over emphasized. It is probably the most important item on this list and should be the main topic of discussion for days, weeks or months leading to the bold step.  You need someone who complements your vision or at the very least gets the idea and is ready to support you. If your dream as a woman for example is to run a billion dollar corporation, you must make sure your partner is willing to handle a wife that always travels. It’s not an easy conversation and some concessions might need to be reached but never bend over backwards because you are desperate to get married.

6.        What are the things that you can’t stand?

People have their unique reactions to behaviors of others. The person you’re dating has his/her sensitivities and you have to try to know as much as you can. Do not take this process for granted because a simple dirty room could be the cause of a break up. The conversation exposes secrets that both of you might not have shared before and it is very necessary to build that level of trust and tolerance before getting engaged.

I hope that you noticed that I didn’t mention who should ask for the others hand in marriage. It’s completely irrelevant, especially in the 21stcentury and I’ll address it in another article. These 6 questions are sure to get you on the right track and spark more interesting and productive conversations that would hopefully cement your bond.

Just remember, if you don’t like what you hear, you might never like it. Do not succumb to the urge to get off the singles market by compromising your standards. You’re worth more than that.

First dates are usually perceived to have an air of trial and error about them but there are ways to prepare for your first date with a girl in order to make it memorable for her. This five-item list is not the ‘Gold Standard’ for every guy going on a first date in Nigeria but it is sure to make you more likely to create an amazing first impression.

1. Call Her Early To Confirm Your Outing.

There’s nothing more disappointing than a girl telling you that something came up, one hour to your date. You can reduce the chances of that happening by calling her earlier in the day. Do not tell her you’re calling to confirm but say something like ‘I can’t wait to see you later today.’ That makes her remember to prioritize your outing over other impulsive activities that could come up at that time.

2. Choose The Venue, Keep It Simple:

Never ever leave the venue to chance. The aim of a first date is to impress the lady enough to make her want to go on a second date so you have to be in control of the variables. What if she picks a restaurant that is out of your price range or a place where they sell Chinese food when all you know how to eat is Nigerian Jollof? Dude, make sure the venue of the first date is somewhere nice, moderate and affordable. Be sure to inform her of the venue beforehand.

3. Have Enough Money To Pay For The Meal, And Then Some.

This is no time to go ‘Dutch.’ No splitting of the bills on the first date. Do not plan for a date with the aim of paying just for two meals. Make sure you are ready to purchase a little extra just in case. Remember that this is not to prove that you can be ‘the man of the house’ but to show that you are a person who is prepared for any situation. If you don’t have a car, make sure that you have enough money to order a ride to take her home.

4. Appear Simple But Stylish

You don’t need gold braces and two chains (pun intended) to impress a girl. You just need to dress based on the type of date you chose. If you chose to take her to Takwa Bay, for example, a simple Vintage Shirt and beach shorts would do. A dinner would require a Tux but not a three-piece suit. Make sure she is aware of the type of function so she can dress accordingly. It would be quite awkward if she wore an evening gown to GET Arena, wouldn’t it?

5. Be Punctual, Plan Your Route And Time.

Check google maps for traffic predictions well ahead of the time for your date. If the venue is 30 minutes away without traffic, leave your house one hour to the time. If you need to pick her up make sure you call well ahead of time so she can get ready. You could also get a ride to pick her up and bring her to the venue while you go ahead and make sure everything is in order.

Now you’re ready to go on the date. You just arrived at the venue and to your delight, everything is in order. She arrives five minutes later and walks in looking like an angel and you give her a semi-flirtatious smile. ‘Why are you smiling?’ She asks. You respond, ‘Well, I’m just so glad that you’re here and I hope that this night would mean to you what you mean to me.’ She blushes, looks at you and with confidence in your voice you say, ‘Shall we begin?’

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