One of the keys to a successful to a long-term relationship is to stay fascinated in the mystique of the other. This means remaining curious about their inner dialogue and hidden feelings, fears, and thoughts
A wonderful way of tending to this part of your connection is to talk about these things. Too often we are wrapped up in the administration of the day-to-day in a relationship that we forget what made the bond strong enough to cohabit in the first place.
According to relationship experts, these are some thought-provoking questions that can rekindle the flames of these types of discussions:
How was your day today?
Such simplicity can often be forgotten in the chaos of life.
“This allows people to share specifics and stay connected on a day-to-day basis,” said Mudita Rastogi, Ph.D, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Arlington Heights, Ill.
What do you need from me right now?
When your partner is having a difficult day, ask this. “It allows the asking partner to tailor their help to what is needed,” Rastogi said.
What are you looking forward to today, this week and this month?
“This helps you tune in to what your partner enjoys,” Rastogi said. “Plus, it balances out the more serious and potentially negative topics.”
What would you do in life if money weren’t an issue?
“This helps [couples] connect around long-term wishes, dreams and plans,” Rastogi said.
What would be your last wishes if you were incapacitated and unable to make health care decisions?
No doubt this is a difficult question to bring up. But, as Rastogi notes, it’s a critical one.
What are the ways you most experience or feel love from me or from what I do?
“It is important to check in regularly to see if what you are doing and saying is positively feeding the relationship,” said Erik R. Benson, MSW, LCSW, a private therapist in the Chicago and North Suburbs area.
He suggested asking these two additional questions:
Am I being a good spouse to you?
What are three things that I do that you couldn’t live without?
The following two questions are from Benson’s wife, who utilized them to assist herself in getting to know him:
Describe the perfect you day (or if you could do anything you wanted for a day, what would it be?)
This is another question Benson’s wife has asked him. “Such information helps her plan activities, dates and gifts,” he said.
If I spent a typical day in your shoes, describe what I would experience.
Benson suggested asking the above question.
Empathy is key for healthy relationships, and such questions help partners gain a deeper understanding into each other’s experiences.
How do I express my anger and conflict?
This is part of a ask-response, where each partner shares.
Beverly Hills clinical psychologist Fran Walfish, PhD, says that the number one determining factor for a healthy, lasting relationship is managing conflict effectively. The practice above helps us to listen without interrupting, improve our willingness to discuss issues, and to better tolerate differences.
If I could change one thing about myself I would change _____.
“This gives you a window into something the person feels insecure about,” Walfish said. It’s also an opportunity for empathy and compassion for the other.
If you could have three wishes, what would you wish for?
“This is another question that reveals your partner’s fantasies and even their personal character,” Walfish said.
What is your greatest fear?
“You can support your partner by not pressuring when approaching the scary territory,” Walfish said.
You also can ask how to help your partner become more comfortable, she said.
“You want to be your partner’s safe harbor to come to for safety, soothing and healing.”
What is the best thing that has ever happened to you?
“This one leaves the conversation on a positive note,” Walfish said. “Each one of you gets to think about happy, wonderful influences in your lives.”