real life

If you can jump these four relationship hurdles, you can survive anything.

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Thanks to our brand partner, Hyundai

New parents like to claim that nothing tests a relationship as much as the sleepless nights associated with a baby.

More seasoned parents say there’s no romance-killer greater than stepping on Lego blocks every time you enter your bedroom.

Well, I have my own nominations for “difficult things to do with a partner”. My husband and I spent the past 18 months buying a house, planning a wedding, renovating, starting new jobs and moving cities. And if there’s anything that brings on sleepless nights, it’s the stress associated with packing multiple major life decisions into a stupidly teeny amount of time.

Here are the life decisions that seriously test any relationship – even if you’re not ridiculous enough to try them all at once, like we did.

At least if you get through them without throwing blocks of Lego at one another, you’ll know your relationship is solid.

Relationship hurdle 1: Whether to rent or buy.

With housing prices showing no sign of falling (in Sydney and Melbourne, at least) there’s a strong incentive to dip your toe in the property market, stat.

Buying a place involves lots of serious, where-are-we-going discussions: Are we committed enough to sign the requisite scary mortgage documents? Are we ready to ‘settle’ in this city for the next 20 years?

If you’re on the same page about those questions, it’s a good sign. If you feel too awkward to even broach them, though… Maybe keep renting. Just saying.

Relationship hurdle 2: The whole marriage question.

If neither of you are the marrying type, skip right over this section. But statistically, at least one of you is likely to want to do the vows-and-champagne thing – so you’ll need to agree on whether marriage is on the cards, and when.

Once you’ve set a date, congratulations… But also, brace yourself for many, many decisions associated with becoming husband and wife.

Some of these choices will be inane (no, nobody will remember the serviettes’ colour, I promise). But if you can agree on why exactly you want to get married, that’s a good sign.

And if you can whittle down the guest list without becoming sworn enemies, you get extra points for relationship strength.

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Good luck.

Relationship hurdle 3: Which car to buy.

The question of which ‘couple car’ to invest in reveals a lot about your joint lifestyle preferences. A teeny-tiny convertible might be perfect for a flashy, inner-city corporate couple, but an active, hike-loving couple might seek something with a little more oomph.

What if you and your partner struggle to decide, though? If you two can’t choose between a sporty, tough off-road vehicle or a stylish SUV with all the latest techy bits — do what we’re planning to do, and opt for a car that combines the two.

The Hyundai Tucson, for example, saves having to choose between strength and beauty – because it has both in spades. (There’s enough space to pack for a mini-breakaway, too. Win).

Relationship hurdle 4: When to have kids.

The old saying goes: “There is no right time to have a baby.”

Well, I’d argue the ‘right time’ involves some coin in the bank and a general ‘I’m-so-over-it’ attitude to weeknight partying… But beyond that, the ideal timing will be different for every couple planning a family some day.

Job security and a desire to travel — not to mention the biological clock experts are so keen to remind us of — are just some of the factors at play here. The bottom line is, your “right time” could by anything from your late teens to your 40s.

Only one thing is certain when it comes to parenting. When you do eventually have a baby to factor in, you’ll face a whole new set of decisions: Who gets up to do the 3am feed? Do you go for public or private education?

And who has to pick up that damn Lego from the bedroom floor?

At least you’ll be well-versed in relationship decision-making by then…

What big relationship decisions have made you stronger?

Did someone say new wheels?