Sometimes in relationships, things can get…well, boring. Sometimes you just need a little healthy spontaneity to continue to get to know your partner on a more intimate level, especially if you have been in a committed relationship for some time now and things are starting to feel really comfortable, if you know what I mean. As humans, we are always evolving and changing. The person you are with today is not the same person you met when you first started dating.
They have their own autonomy, their own dreams, their own goals, their own insecurities, and their own fears. Because we are ever-evolving, it’s important for us to take the time to continue to get to know our partners so we communicate to them that we are curious about their lives and we care enough about watering the relationship so it can continue to grow and be fulfilling for both parties involved.
If you’ve been feeling stuck in a rut with your conversations with your partner as of late, carve out some time this week, and set up a date night with no distractions (for my folks who are busy, even a small date night over dinner could be helpful). And take date night up a notch by asking each other the questions below to deepen your level of intimacy in the relationship.
As you ask the following questions, remember to stay curious about your partner's responses. Instead of judging or criticizing them for what they are feeling, notice what comes up for you in their responses and address it with patience, empathy, and compassion so you both can have an open dialogue about those feelings.
1.What is your honest opinion about me?
In relationships, sometimes we tend to put so much emphasis on “telling our partners about themselves,” pointing out all the things we don’t like about our partner, and telling them where they need to improve in order for us to feel better, especially during conflict. But when you’re comfortable with your partner, or maybe you’re even going through a rough time in your relationship, it’s important for us to focus on what we do like about our partners.
As humans we are wired for connection, we need connection not only to survive but thrive in our lives. In order to receive authentic connection in our relationships, we need to be loved and affirmed for who we are without our partner putting pressure on us to change the essence of who we are. Therefore, in order to have a healthy connection, we need to be affirmed for who we are in order to feel good about the relationship.
This question is great because it’s not just focusing on what you don’t like about your partner; it's all about honoring and respecting our differences without communicating to the other person that they are unlovable because of their difference. I love this question for healthy relationships because it reminds you of whyyou chose to be in a relationship with your partner. It also shows you that you can still love someone, even if you both have some differences or even if they do small things that might annoy you. As long as it’s not detrimental to the relationship, that’s what true love is all about.
2.What has your childhood taught you about love and relationships?
Our earliest relationships set the template for how we will connect/disconnect in our adult relationships. As children, we are dependent on our caregivers to help us not only navigate life but also show us what safe relationships look and feel like. If we didn’t have a template of what a healthy relationship looks like, it comes with a lot of shame and insecurity. And ultimately this may have an effect on our romantic relationships going forward.
It is imperative for us to become curious about what our partner learned in childhood, not to judge them but to better understand them. Depending on what your partner saw in childhood, it could potentially have an impact on your relationship. It’s helpful to ask this question so you can better understand your partner. Remember to enter into this conversation without judgment and remember to stay curious if you need more clarification on anything that comes up.
3.What are you afraid to show others that they probably need to know in order to connect with you on a deeper level?
This is my favorite question because it leads to deeper levels of emotional intimacy and vulnerability. Our authenticity is the essence of who we are. If we are afraid to show people or even our partners all of the parts of ourselves, we’re not giving them an opportunity to love us for who we really are because we may struggle to love, honor, and respect who we truly are.
I love this question because it taps into the most intimate part of a person's being, heart, and soul.
4.When you look at me, what parts of yourself do you see in me?
Intimacy is into me you see. In other words, our partners should show up as a mirror of everything we see in ourselves (healthy traits and characteristics). This question helps to deepen emotional intimacy by seeing your partner beyond their physical form and seeing them from the perspective of the soul. This is what we would call a soulmate. Someone who reminds us of so much of ourselves but also someone who teaches us so much about ourselves.
5.What does our love remind you of?
This is a great question as it prompts your partner to think about some of the things that your relationship reminds them of. Your partner may surprise you with their answers but what’s most important is to lead with curiosity and respect your partner's autonomy with their experience of their relationship with you. Perception is reality.
6.Tell me about the first time you felt it was safe for you to be vulnerable with me.
This is another one of my favorites. In relationships, so many of us remember that moment when we felt safe enough to let our guard down with someone and unfortunately they mishandled our hearts. But, to be in a relationship with someone you can let your guard down with, and they communicate with you through their actions that your vulnerability is safe with them? That's a feeling that is unmatched.
This question prompts you to think about the very first time you felt safe with your partner to do something that so many of us are afraid to do for pretty valid reasons. I love this question because it can really help you to stay in the present moment of how much emotional safety means to each of you.
7.Do you believe love is freely given or does it have to be earned?
This question is really good when you want to dig deeper into your partner's beliefs and values. Some people believe that love is unconditional, it is freely given regardless of the circumstances. Some people believe that love is conditional and that the act of loving someone has to be earned. This question can help you learn more about your partner's beliefs when it comes to love and commitment.
If you both have different beliefs around love, lean into why your partner feels this way with compassion and curiosity. What experiences in their lives have shaped their view on this? How can you both come to a place of common ground around love specifically for your relationship? What are the limits and boundaries when it comes to love for each of you? It’s definitely something worth exploring to deepen emotional intimacy.
8.How can I continue to support you in this relationship?
Oftentimes when I’m working with couples in therapy, one or both partners will come in expressing their grievances around their relationship, specifically towards the other person. Sometimes we can become so consumed with getting our needs met that we don’t take the time to think about what probably needs to happen in our relationship in order for both parties to feel more supported.
No one likes to feel like they are the “problem.” This leads to defensiveness, emotional withdrawal, and resentment because the relationship is no longer a safe space, it’s a warzone. Safe spaces are not always going to make us “feel good," but they compassionately hold us accountable so we can see ourselves a little more clearly.
Asking your partner how you can support them shows that you are thinking and considering their needs as well as yours.
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