Communication is key for couples. This isn’t only important when conflict arises; it’s also important on a regular basis to help bolster your bond.
In February, we asked experts to share meaningful or thought-provoking questions partners can ask each other. (You can find the questions in this piece.) These questions help couples get to know their spouses better and deepen their connection.
This month we asked different experts to share additional questions. Here are nine questions to explore together and get closer.
What do you think is the point of a relationship?
We tend to assume that our partner is in a relationship for the same reasons as we are, said Jeffrey Sumber, MA, LCPC, a psychotherapist who specializes in couples and premarital counseling and officiates weddings.
But this may not be the case. So it’s important to inquire about their personal perspectives and reasons.
“While we tend to choose partners that align in most ways to our thinking, the nuances as to why they are engaged in this committed partnership can be incredibly helpful in understanding certain disconnects, misunderstandings or conflicts.”
What stressors are you currently dealing with? How can I help?
“It is important to know what is going on in your partner’s life, so that you can help support them,” said Meredith Hansen, PsyD, a psychologist who provides couples, premarital and newlywed counseling. For instance your partner might want you to listen without trying to fix the problem or dismissing their feelings, she said.
When was the last time you felt passionate about something? What was it about?
When a couple has been together for a while, it’s easy to get wrapped up in a daily routine, Sumber said. It’s also easy to take each other for granted, which doesn’t just include forgetting how much they do; it also includes who they are separate from your relationship, he said. Such questions help you learn more about them as an individual.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
“This will give you a glimpse into what [your partner’s] life was like, what they enjoyed as a child, and what mattered to them,” Hansen said. Plus, this can connect your partner to positive feelings, and help you feel closer to them, she said.
How is your life different than you imagined?
“This type of question will help you access a more vulnerable, intimate side of your partner, which will help bring you closer as a couple,” Hansen said.
Avoid interrupting your partner and let them reflect on this question out loud, she said.
“Keep in mind that this isn’t as much a discussion question, as a question that just allows you get to know your partner more.”
If we are at home in the middle of dinner and the electricity, phones, cars — basically everything — instantly dies, how do you respond?
In his practice Sumber finds that “this question has opened doors that no one could have seen coming, and it provides a dialogue for couples to delve into deep-seated fears and anxieties around money, security, society, politics, and most important, the relationship itself.”
For instance, some people might savor the silence, light candles and have some wine, he said. Others may “go into immediate crisis mode, planning a trip to gather resources, gasoline, blankets, etc.”
When you think about who I am as a sexual being, how would you describe me?
This question is both illuminating and terrifying, Sumber said. That’s because “sexuality can be a minefield…[however], hearing how our partner perceives us is extremely valuable in opening up to perspectives of self that we might not feel entirely comfortable owning.”
It also helps to clarify patterns or assumptions in your sexual relationship that might’ve never been validated or confirmed, he said.
What is your favorite time of the day to be intimate? What turns you on sexually?
“The physical aspect of sex is important in a relationship, but couples must also be able to talk about sex,” Hansen said. Doing so increases intimacy and trust in the sexual part of your relationship.
It also provides important information about each partner’s physical needs. In fact, Hansen suggested making it a habit to discuss your fantasies, likes and dislikes.
What are you most excited about right now?
“Sometimes in a relationship there is a lot of focus on what is not working, what isn’t going well, or what needs to happen,” Hansen said. Asking the above question helps your partner shift their mood and get excited about the future, she said. And it helps you gain insight into what’s going on in his or her life.