What is your partners’ favourite meal? Or their favourite TV show? Maybe these are easy questions to answer, but what if we delve a little deeper and ask if you know what your partners greatest fear is? Or their greatest ambition?
When we start dating, we are constantly ‘getting to know’ our prospective partner by asking questions about their past, present and future. Remember when you went on your first or second date? You sat at dinner and never stopped talking to even take a breath. You asked a million questions about anything and everything. Then you listened with full attention and asked even more questions in return, and this enabled an even deeper conversation and subsequently, an even deeper understanding of how this person thinks and feels. And during these moments of connection, you start to understand this person’s inner world. Their thoughts, feelings, emotions, beliefs and values. You put a picture together on how well you are aligned as a prospective match – then BINGO – you become a couple!
Then your relationship grows. And most of us stop doing the very thing that got us together in the first place. WE STOP ASKING QUESTIONS! And when we stop asking questions, the very connection that enabled us to fall in love in the first place, can grow weaker.
Why do we need to keep asking questions? The answer is simple. Because as humans – we are constantly changing. The way we think and feel about people, places and things. The way we interpret our past and envisage our future. And if we don’t constantly update this information with our partner, we run a very big risk of growing apart as we start to journey in different directions.
According to Harvard Psychologist Daniel Gilbert, “Human beings are constant works in progress that mistakenly think they are finished. The person you are right now is as transient, as fleeting, and as temporary as all the people you’ve ever been. The one constant in our lives is change.”
Getting to know your partner is not something that is accomplished on your first 2 or 3 dates. It is a lifetime commitment – exactly the same as your relationship is a lifetime commitment. It is a work in progress that never ends. And asking these questions is what Dr John Gottman, from the Gottman Institute, calls ‘open-ended questions’. These are questions that can’t be answered with a quick “yes” or “no.” They create a form of communication that is not only relevant to day to day life, it is also fundamental in the deepening of relationships. And something we need to make sure we continually do every day, to ensure we grow together and not drift apart.
So, you might be thinking, what type of questions can I ask? There are many questions you can simply find on the net if you google ‘questions to get to know someone’. These are not only great for new relationships – but even more important for existing ones too. Below are a few questions that you might like to use to start rekindling your relationship & we also send you the Gottman ‘open-ended questions’ card deck as part of the ‘Bringing Baby Home’ video program, that will take your understanding of each other – even further. Have a look through and see which ones you might like to use as a conversation starter with your partner.
- What is one aspect of yourself that you would like to change?
- What is one of the best things that has happened in your life and why?
- What is one of the worst things that has happened in your life and why?
- What kind of parent do you think you will be?
- What stresses are you facing right now?
- How do you see our life in 5 years?
- What present would you most like to receive?
- What is a childhood experience that you remember clearly and how did it make you feel?
- Who is your favourite relative and why?
- What was your favourite holiday and why?
Love to all – and to all I wish you ‘good loving’.
Kylie-Jo Elliott – www.relationshipafterbaby.com