Have The Right Conversations
In the beginning, it's often enough just to talk to each other about light-hearted topics. But once you've done that and have realized that you think you want to commit to your current partner, there are some important conversations you should have.
Some of these are more relevant to some couples than to others, but every relationship that wants to move from casual to committed should deal with each question in some way. If you find that you and your partner need more time on one topic than on others, that's fine, too.
You've probably heard that every couple should discuss money before they make a lasting commitment to each other. Whether you've heard it so many times that it sounds like a cliche to you or this is the first time you've run across it, this is one conversation you must have.
By the time you get to this conversation, you probably have some sense of how your partner handles money. Think about what you've seen them do. Do they spend money spontaneously or research every nitpicking detail before they buy anything? Do they save and invest some of their income or does it all go toward living expenses or discretionary spending?
While observation is helpful for determining how your partner works in this area, be sure to talk about these issues, too. You don't have to be on exactly the same page for your relationship to work, but it helps to know where you're both coming from.
This is a topic that many people are afraid to discuss with their current partner. While you don't want to go on and on about how great a past relationship or partner was, you and your significant other should talk about how your relationships went in the past and what you hope goes differently this time around.
The fear of having this conversation might still linger even after you've started talking. It can be helpful to remember that, if by some strange chance your partner won't commit to you after hearing about your past, they are probably not someone you wanted to be with anyway.
This is another big topic that many couples shy away from. However, if you're going to be in a committed relationship, you'll need to know where the other person is regarding religion.
Many couples agree to disagree, but it's still important to know where your partner is coming from in this area and to let them know where you're at, too.
When you're thinking about committing to a long-term relationship with someone, it's good to know that they are heading in a direction you can support. While it's unlikely that you will both be going in exactly the same direction, that's not necessary for a solid, loving relationship.
As long as your partner isn't planning something that's diametrically opposed to your own plans, the relationship can be a success.
What You Care About?
In addition to the topics outlined above, be sure to discuss with your partner anything you care about deeply. If it would affect your lives together, bring it up and see how your partner feels about it.