Conversation has the tendency to make you remember, analyse & articulate the things in your life. It’s a great way of taking stock of your past & present so you appreciate what you have or make better choices for the future.
I often ask couples what their favorite thing about their partner is.
(Like all “what is your favorite…” questions, it’s not necessary to pin down the absolute favorite thing, it’s better to simply suggest some things that you simply really like.)
A question like this has many benefits.
If you ask it in front of the couple rather than the individual, it gives them an excuse to compliment each other. While savvy couples will remember to remind each other often of the things they love about each other, some will forget to do so. The random affirmation will be welcomed.
It also tells you something about the person you’re asking, what they value in the person they choose to share their life with.
Furthermore, it tells you about one of their partner’s better qualities, something they would probably be too modest to tell you themselves.
I had lunch recently with friends and this question came up. Some answered quickly, some with a little thought. Some found the question very difficult.
This is an example of the value of noticing. Are you with your partner for a valid reason or simply because you are? And if the latter, should you do something about it?
This can be true of many things when you take the time to talk & notice. Is your career all you want it to be, or do you need to try a new path? Do you need to make less time for work and more time for leisure or family? What is something fun that you haven’t done in a long time? What is enriching your life? What should you do more? What should you do less?
I hope my friends thought of something they like about their partners later, they may have just had a mind-blank. They may have just needed to blow some dust off their feelings first. But I hope they answered the question.
Talking Heads singer David Byrne has a quote I love. He says “I really enjoy forgetting. When I first come to a place, I notice all the little details. I notice the way the sky looks. The color of white paper. The way people walk. Doorknobs. Everything. Then I get used to the place and I don't notice those things anymore. So only by forgetting can I see the place again as it really is.”
It’s true. But we don’t always need to forget. Sometimes we can ask the question that makes us notice again.