Greg Custer, MS, LCPC
20 Questions to Deepen Your Relationship
Over the course of nearly 20 years, I have sat with countless couples as they navigate through tough times. It's made me realize just how important communication is in relationships. I can't tell you how many times I've seen relationships fall apart because of poor communication. And if you want to deepen your connection with your partner, communication is absolutely key. Trust me, I've seen it happen time and time again.
Through my experience, I have come to deeply understand and emphasize the critical role that communication plays in relationships. It's something I've seen firsthand - when couples don't communicate effectively, their relationships suffer. And when it comes to generating intimacy, communication is even more crucial.
The truth is, relationships are constantly evolving and changing. No matter how long you've been together, there will always be new things to discover about your partner. That's why I believe that asking questions is one of the most powerful tools that couples can use to build intimacy.
One of the most powerful tools that couples can use to build intimacy is simply asking questions. By asking open-ended questions, we invite our partners to share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences with us, and we demonstrate a genuine interest in their lives. This type of active listening can help to build trust and create a stronger emotional bond between partners.
I'm not alone in this belief - relationship experts like Dr. John Gottman and Dr. Sue Johnson have emphasized the importance of asking questions in building intimacy. Dr. Gottman's Love Map exercise, for example, is all about creating a detailed map of your partner's inner world. By asking questions about your partner's likes and dislikes, hopes and dreams, and past experiences, you can gain a deeper understanding of who they are as a person.
In fact, Dr. Gottman, has identified asking open-ended questions as one of the key components of his Love Map exercise. According to him, the Love Map exercise involves creating a detailed map of your partner's inner world, including their likes and dislikes, hopes and dreams, and past experiences. This exercise can help to build intimacy and strengthen the emotional connection between partners.
In addition to the Love Map exercise, there are many other types of questions that couples can ask each other in order to deepen their understanding of each other. Here are a few examples:
Start with open-ended questions: Instead of asking yes or no questions, try asking questions that encourage your partner to share more about their thoughts or feelings. For example, instead of asking "Did you have a good day?" you could ask "What was the best part of your day today?"
Ask about their experiences: Ask your partner about their past experiences, both good and bad. What challenges have they faced? What have been some of their proudest moments? By sharing these experiences, you can gain a deeper understanding of what has shaped your partner's life and their perspective on the world.
According to Dr. Sue Johnson, a leading expert in couples therapy and the developer of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), sharing our experiences and emotions is essential to building intimacy in a relationship. In her book "Hold Me Tight," Dr. Johnson writes, "Intimacy is the art of knowing and being known. It is the connection of two people who are willing to be open, vulnerable, and responsive to each other's needs."
Ask about their thoughts and beliefs: Ask your partner about their thoughts and beliefs on various topics, such as religion, politics, or philosophy. By understanding your partner's perspective on these issues, you can better understand their values and what matters most to them.
According to Dr. Gary Chapman, the author of "The Five Love Languages," understanding your partner's values and beliefs is essential to building intimacy in a relationship. In his book, Dr. Chapman writes, "Love is something you do for someone else, not something you do for yourself. You learn your partner's love language in order to express love in a way that your partner can receive it."
Ask about their goals and aspirations: Ask your partner about their goals and aspirations, both short-term and long-term. What do they hope to achieve in their career or personal life? What are their dreams for the future? By understanding their goals, you can better support them in achieving their dreams.
According to Dr. John Van Epp, a relationship expert and author of "How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk," sharing our goals and aspirations is essential to building intimacy in a relationship. In his book, Dr. Van Epp writes, "When we share our goals and dreams with our partner, we are creating a shared vision for our future together. This shared vision is what can help to bring us closer and create a stronger emotional connection."
Asking questions is a powerful tool that can help couples to build intimacy in their relationships. By asking open-ended questions and actively listening to our partners' responses, we can deepen our understanding of each other and create a stronger emotional bond. Whether through the Love Map exercise, sharing experiences and emotions, discussing thoughts and beliefs, or exploring goals and aspirations, asking questions can help to strengthen our relationships and bring us closer together. As Dr. Sue Johnson says, "The more securely attached we are, the more we can turn to our partner for comfort, support, and protection. And that's what intimacy is all about."
For me, the heart of intimacy is knowing and being known. It's about being willing to open up and be vulnerable with each other, to share our deepest fears and hopes. When we can do that, we create a strong emotional connection that can weather any storm. And that's what true intimacy is all about.
Here is a list of 20 questions to try:
1. What do you love most about us as a couple?
2. What are some of your favorite memories with me?
3. What is your favorite way to spend time with me?
4. What do you think is the most important aspect of our relationship?
5. What are your hopes and dreams for our future together?
6. How do you feel loved and appreciated in our relationship?
7. What are some things you would like to do together that we haven't done yet?
8. What are some things that you are proud of us for overcoming as a couple?
9. What are some things you admire about me?
10. What are some things you would like to share with me that you haven't yet?
11. What are your hopes and dreams for your future, and how can I support you in achieving them?
12. What are some of your happiest childhood memories, and how have they influenced your life today?
13. What are some of your biggest fears or insecurities, and how can I help to reassure and support you?
14. What are some of your favorite hobbies or interests, and how can we share them together?
15. What are some of the most important values and beliefs that guide your life, and how can I better understand and respect them?
16. What are some of your favorite qualities in a person, and how do you see them in me?
17. What are some of the challenges you have faced in your life, and how have they shaped who you are today?
18. What are some of your favorite ways to show and receive affection, and how can we better express our love for each other?
19. What are some of your long-term goals for our relationship, and how can we work together to achieve them?
20. What are some of the things that you appreciate and admire about me, and how can I continue to support and strengthen our bond?