This June the Work/Life Relationship Series sent emails for three weeks with relationship research, insights and tips. A weekly email also provided questions for conversations and closeness. I'm sure many of us may find ourselves occasionally staring silently at our partners, friends or family, as we continue to endure these strange times of the pandemic. So here are all of those questions compiled into one spot. While some are intended for romantic relationships, there are plenty of other questions to keep in mind for the next time you'd like to have a deeper conversation with any friend, family or acquaintance.
What are some of your favorite questions? Please share in the comments.
Keep the conversations going with a new end of day ritual...
British Physician and Author, Dr. Rangan Chatterjee, has suggested families discuss these three topics at the end of the day:
- One thing someone did for you that day that made you smile or feel good or that was nice
- One thing you did for someone else to make them smile or feel good or that was nice
- One thing you learned that day
Based on decades of research, relationship experts John and Julie Gottman have developed questions that help couples reconnect.
Here are a few from the book Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love:
- Tell me the story of your proudest moment.
- Which decade of your life would you like to redo and why?
- Who was your childhood hero, or heroes?
Here, along with explanations from this Gottman Institute blog post, are a few of the questions Gottman suggests that couples revisit throughout the relationship:
- List your three biggest needs, and how can I fulfill them?
- What is the best part about being together?
- Why do you love me? And when did you feel most loved by me?
Look back in time...
- One memorable moment I still recall about the day we met is...
- If we could go back in time and relive our first meeting, one thing we might do differently is...
- What peculiar event contributed to us meeting?
Have a discussion about how you can support each other during times of stress. In her book, Love More, Fight Less: A relationship workbook for couples, Dr. Gina Senarighi suggests couples take turns answering the following questions*.
- How will I know when you're starting to get stressed?
- How can I best support or encourage you in moments of stress?
- How should I let you know if I'm concerned about your stress level?
- What can I do to bring greater ease to your week?
*She notes that you should make sure neither is hungry or fatigued before entering conversation. If so, make an appointment to regroup after those basic needs have been met.
Look ahead to six weeks worth of conversations
Psychologist and researcher Arthur Aron developed 36 questions to create intimacy which in lab studies were proven to create a greater sense of closeness among strangers. In this blog post, sociologist and author Christine Carter, assigns these questions to six different date nights. Save these and schedule some future date nights. As a preview, here are a few:
- What would constitute a "perfect" day for you?
- When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
- What is your most treasured memory?