Updated: Sep 8, 2022
When you’ve been together with someone for a while, maybe even several decades, it’s easy to lose your sense of curiosity and assume you know everything there is to know about that person. You might even begin to take your spouse or partner for granted, and when that happens, boredom and emotional flat-lining sets in. Here are some practical ideas for how to get to know your spouse again.
One of the best ways to get to know your partner again is to ask them certain questions, in a mood of wonder and curiosity.
Questions to ask your partner to get to know her or him better.
We'll share three categories of questions you can ask to get to know your spouse or partner better, and for each category, we give examples of specific questions you can use.
The three categories are:
Understanding questions (or curiosity questions).
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#1: Deepening Questions
The first category of question we call a deepening question. We like to apply deepening questions as repeated questions. A repeated question is a question you ask over and over again of your partner for a few minutes.
We just did this with a group of more than 60 couples we brought together on a virtual mini workshop on how to revive your intimacy, and this pretty much never fails to produce deepening intimacy and trust in a relationship, in the span of a few minutes.
We always recommend you stay in eye contact as you ask and answer these questions.
Questions we ask as repeated questions could be …
What are you afraid of? (then say, “Thanks”, and ask again, “What are you afraid of?”)
What are you not saying?
Where do you hold back?
Where do you (not) trust yourself?
What’s great about you?
What are you proud of?
By asking the same question repeatedly, the person answering gets to drop down deeper and deeper into the real fears and limitations that don’t usually come to the surface in regular conversation. Same is true for qualities that are amazing and powerful, when you ask a repeated question like, “What are you proud of?” By asking repeatedly, the person answering can’t just brush it off and say, “Oh, stuff I’ve done”, they actually have to look again, and again.
We still use this technique to keep getting to know deeper and deeper layers of each other and of ourselves because it makes our relationship really rich.
Watch the YouTube video of this post with Sonika & Christian
#2: Intimacy Questions
The second category of questions we call intimacy questions. These are questions you explore in a mood of wonder, as if you’re fascinated about it even if you’re talking about yourself. These questions are for you to discover yourself as well as your partner; questions to get to know your partner better and deeper.
Some examples of intimacy questions:
Tell me something I don’t know about you. We use this question (well, technically, it’s a prompt) a lot because it’s a great anti-dote to the erroneous notion that we already know everything about each other. We’ve been together for 15 years and we still surprise each other with the answers to this question.
Who was your best teacher and why?
Who influenced you the most in your life and why?
If you weren’t limited and you could do anything in your life what would you do? This is a great question to elicit another side of ourselves we often don’t allow out in the sunlight, namely our biggest dreams and aspirations.
How can I best show you that I love you? This is a short-cut question to discover your partner’s love strategy or love language. Plus, whatever your partner answers is useful information for you because it tells you exactly how you make your partner happy. That makes you a more successful partner and lover!
#3: Understanding Questions (Curiosity Questions)
The third category of questions to ask your partner we call understanding questions, or curiosity questions.
These questions are especially effective when you notice something in your partner, perhaps a behavior or a certain pattern of behaviors, that you don’t understand.
For instance, Sonika asked me recently, “How do you stick to your routines so well?” Sometimes that’s not so easy for her to do, so she doesn’t really understand how I do it. Until she asks, that is.
When you see behaviors in your partner or spouse that you don’t understand it’s easy to get triggered or mad or start complaining or criticizing about it. I see Sonika putting a lot of effort and time into making our home beautiful, perhaps by putting little decorations out for the seasons. This is something I just would not do on my own. Since I don’t really understand this behavior, I could get triggered and start into her with stuff like, “Do we really need another piece of decoration? Why don’t we just clean it off and free up some space!? You’re always wasting your time with that stuff!”
Of course, all that would produce is more negativity and arguments, and it will make her feel like there’s something wrong with her.
Can you see examples of this from your own relationship? Where you get irritated by your partner’s quirks or behaviors, and snippy arguments ensue?
Instead, I choose to be curious about her behavior and ask understanding questions. I assume this must be doing something positive for her, otherwise she probably wouldn’t be doing it. So I ask. “Tell me more about the decorations. What do you like about putting them up? What does that do for you?” Sonika might ask me, “Why do you love to cook food so much? What does that do for you?”
It’s a topic for another article, but one of the central tenets of the LoveWorks Solution is a deep truth about human behavior: No matter what we do, we’re trying to accomplish something positive. There is always a positive intent behind any action.
Because we know this, it’s a lot easier to not get irritated, or condemn the behaviors we don’t understand. We still might not understand it, so we ask understanding questions.
Bottom line, never assume you know everything there is to know about your spouse or partner, or yourself. By asking the right kinds of questions, you can get to know your partner better and better, which keeps your relationship fresh, alive, and satisfyingly intimate.
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