Couples who have strong bonds remain interested in each other. They remain curious about each other’s experiences and inner lives, such as their thoughts, feelings, and fears.
As such, a great way to cultivate your connection is to talk about these inner worlds — because good communication goes beyond talk of tasks, errands and kids. (Those topics, of course, also are important. But so is delving into the intimate and often overlooked conversations.)
We asked several relationship experts for their suggestions for meaningful, fun or thought-provoking questions that partners can ask each other. Here’s what they shared…
- How was your day today?
It’s such a simple, straightforward question. But in the chaos of daily living, you might forget to ask it. “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?
This is an important question to ask when your partner is having a difficult day, Rastogi said. “It allows the asking partner to tailor their help to what is needed.”
- How do I express my anger and conflict?
This is a question that each partner asks themselves, responding out loud while the other partner listens.
According to Beverly Hills clinical psychologist Fran Walfish, PsyD, the number one determining factor for a healthy, lasting relationship is managing conflict effectively. That includes listening without interruption, being willing to discuss issues, tolerating differences and strategizing solutions, she 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, she said.
- Am I being a good spouse to you?
- What are three things that I do that you couldn’t live without?
- 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 three questions.
- If you could be a character in any book, which character would you be, and why?
- If you could go back in time to your teenage self, what two words would you say?
Benson also shared these two questions, which his wife, who works in the special education field, has asked him to help her get to know him better.
- 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 could change one thing about myself I would change _____.
“This gives you a window into something the person feels insecure about,” Walfish said. And it’s an opportunity for partners to be empathic and compassionate with each other, she 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.
- 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.
- 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 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 said, it’s a critical one.
- 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.”
This piece includes other questions, along with additional tips on deepening your connection with your partner.