Relationships can be difficult. The initial adrenaline of falling in love gets sidelined as life resumes and the thrill wears off. Your relationship is still important to you, but it doesn’t always get the attention it deserves.
It can be easy for a relationship to unintentionally fall apart as it withers away. If you don’t want this to happen, you need to talk to each other.
And you need to talk regularly. Stay on the same page.
Conversation keeps relationships alive. It is the most important building block of a relationship.
We offer these 10 questions that will help you see the relationship through the eyes of your partner. Don’t assume you always know what your partner is thinking. Don’t assume they know what you are thinking. No one is a mind-reader.
And because you love your partner, you will surely enjoy hearing their thoughts.
1. What is your favourite way to spend time with me? The usual relationship clichés like restaurants aren’t necessarily what you should do with your partner. Ask them what they love doing with you. Then you will know how to make them happy. Perhaps it’s simply cuddling while watching a film, or doing a road-trip, or going out dancing together. Take out the guess work and reap the benefits.
2. What makes for a sincere apology? Ever heard the line “I said I was sorry”, but it still doesn’t feel like an apology? There always comes a time in a relationship when you need to apologise, perhaps often. Find out how to communicate an apology effectively so your partner recognises it. We recommend Gary Chapman’s book “The Five Languages of Apology” to help.
3. How have I made you feel this week? Sometimes resentments creep in but don’t get dealt with. Sometimes you are doing all the right things and you have no idea how appreciated you are. Sometimes the relationship is numb and needs some attention. Analyse where the relationship is at so that you can have it going in the right direction.
4. What is the best way to make you feel loved? How love is felt is different for different people. For example, gifts don’t work on me but for others they are a huge source of feeling loved. Do you love your partner? Sometimes that love isn’t enough unless it’s evident in a way that they really feel it. Find out how simply by asking.
5. What are you thankful for today? What is your partner enjoying & appreciating? This doesn’t have to be directly related to the relationship, it may be anything that is worth gratitude like a good book. This not only helps you take an interest in their interests, it helps you both accentuate the positive. Ask it daily and you will both develop an attitude of noticing the positive in your day.
6. What have I done right this week? This may seem like you are fishing for compliments, but it helps to know what you are doing well so that you are encouraged to do it regularly. It also motivates you knowing that you are getting credit for it.
7. What do you wish I had done differently this week? Have I been unintentionally annoying? Am I forgetting to clean up after myself? Have I been snappy or derogatory? What are you seeing that I’m not?
8. What is something you love about me? Remind each other what you love about each other. It’s great for self-esteem and continually builds confidence in the relationship.
9. What area of our relationship needs improvement? Have we been neglecting to spend time together? Do we not kiss enough? Let’s talk about it before we fight about it. Discussing issues rather than fighting about them is more likely to result in a positive change for the relationship.
10. Is there anything I’ve done to hurt or upset you this week? Answering this question may be difficult. No one enjoys hearing how they have hurt someone they love. Or you may feel defensive when hearing the answer. But dealing with trouble spots in the relationship before they get out of hand will improve the relationship tremendously. It’s a difficult conversation, but a rewarding one.
Some of the questions that you ask regularly may get the same answer recurring often. This isn’t a bad thing as it’s still keeping you conscious of the relationship.
Of course, not every conversation you have needs to be about your relationship. Having a variety of conversations is what helps you discover new things about your partner often. Subscribe to Awkward Silence to get new conversation topics each week.