Relationships thrive on open communication, vulnerability, and a genuine desire to understand and support each other. While it may be easy to discuss everyday matters, diving into deeper questions can strengthen the emotional bond between partners. If you and your partner feel comfortable having these conversations and exploring questions for couples together, you can uncover new dimensions of your relationship. In this blog post, we will explore six thought-provoking questions to ask your partner that can help you gain insight into their thoughts and feelings. Sit down, ask your partner these questions, and embark on a journey of exploration and connection.
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghAugust 1, 2023 communication, communication exercises, connection, conversation, conversations for couples, couples communication, couples counseling, couples therapy, marriage counseling, questions for couples, questions to ask my partner, questions to ask your partner, relationship counseling0 comments
6 Questions for Couples
- What are your expectations of me in this relationship? Setting clear expectations is essential in any relationship. By discussing each other’s expectations openly, you can avoid misunderstandings and work towards mutual growth and support. Talk about your emotional needs, communication styles, and what you both envision for the future. Understanding each other’s expectations helps build a solid foundation for your relationship.
- How do I make you a better person, and why? In a healthy partnership, both individuals should encourage personal growth and support each other’s aspirations. Reflect on how your partner positively influences your life and vice versa. Acknowledging each other’s positive impact fosters appreciation and builds a sense of purpose in the relationship.
- What little things can I do to enhance our relationship? Small gestures can have a significant impact on the relationship’s quality. Discussing these simple acts of kindness or thoughtful behaviors creates opportunities for both partners to show love and care regularly. It might be as simple as leaving love notes or cooking each other’s favorite meal. These little things can create lasting memories and strengthen your bond.
- Do you feel like you became a better person after meeting me, and why or why not? The dynamics of a relationship can lead to personal growth and transformation. Discuss how your partner’s presence has influenced your life and vice versa. Share the positive changes you have experienced since being together. Recognizing this growth fosters appreciation and reaffirms the value of your relationship.
- Was there any time during our relationship where you thought we wouldn’t make it, and why? Every relationship faces challenges, and it’s crucial to address moments of uncertainty openly. By discussing tough times, you can gain a deeper understanding of each other’s emotions and perspectives. Understanding how you overcame obstacles together reinforces your resilience as a couple.
- What specific part of me do you never want to change? By asking this question, you are inviting your partner to reflect on the attributes, characteristics, or traits that they hold most dear about you. It goes beyond physical appearances or external aspects and delves into the deeper aspects of your personality, values, and essence. Moreover, this question fosters a sense of acceptance and appreciation for who you are as an individual. It allows your partner to express their unwavering love and admiration for the core essence of your being, reinforcing a sense of emotional intimacy and connection in the relationship.
Engaging in these questions for couples can be an exciting and enlightening experience. Make it a fun game by writing the questions on pieces of paper and picking them randomly. Alternatively, set aside dedicated time to discuss each question in-depth without distractions. Create a safe space for vulnerability, honesty, and non-judgmental communication.
Benefits of Deep Conversations
Exploring these questions for couples can yield numerous benefits for your relationship, especially when you engage in meaningful questions to ask your partner:
- Strengthening Emotional Intimacy: Discussing these questions fosters emotional intimacy as you open up about your feelings, fears, and dreams.
- Building Trust: Honest conversations build trust and demonstrate your commitment to understanding each other deeply.
- Improving Communication: Engaging in meaningful discussions enhances communication skills and promotes active listening.
- Reinforcing Appreciation: By acknowledging each other’s positive impact, you cultivate appreciation and gratitude.
Deepening your connection with your partner through thoughtful questions for couples can be a transformative experience. By discussing questions to ask your partner about expectations, personal growth, relationship enhancements, challenges, and admiration, you will gain valuable insights into each other’s inner world. Embrace these conversations as an opportunity to grow together, strengthen your bond, and create a deeper understanding of your unique connection. Remember, communication is the key to a thriving relationship. So, sit down with your partner, ask these questions, and embark on an exploration that will enrich your love and connection in profound ways.
Written by: Autumn Walsh, LSW, MSW and Certified Clinical Trauma Specialist.
Interested in Exploring Questions for Couples During Couples Therapy?
If you are interested in exploring deeper questions for couples while in the container of couples therapy, please call us at 412-856-WELL or fill out the form below to get started. Our experienced Couples Therapists can help you to strengthen your relationship.
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghDecember 21, 2022 compassion, conflict resolution, conversations for couples, couples communication, couples counseling, couples therapy, gratitude, making up after fights, marriage, marriage counseling, new years resolutions, relationship, relationship conflict, relationship resolutions, resolutions0 comments
Setting Couples New Year’s Resolutions is a great way to create a stronger connection, reinforce your bond, and set expectations for the future. Having shared goals can help you both stick to your promises—the more effort you two put in, the stronger the relationship. If you’re looking for some goals to work toward with your partner, this list of 6 Relationship Resolutions for 2023 is the perfect place to start.
1. Make a conflict management plan: this will allow you both to have your unique emotional constitutions respected, as well as forming a plan for how to manage healthy conflict in your relationship. A plan for conflict implies that disagreements are not inherently a problem but aims at tackling issues in the relationship that can cause small issues to become much bigger. It also brings awareness about how emotions play into your disagreements and what to do so that there is a smaller likelihood that trigger topics spiral out of control.
2. Make a vision board for your relationship and what you want in the next month, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years and 5 years! Once you’re done, put your vision board in a place you’ll see often because when you see something that inspires you on a daily basis, you stay on track. You can even take a picture of it and use it as your phone wallpaper.
3. Create an environment of appreciation between yourself and your partner. Catch your partner doing three things a week that you are grateful for. Share this with each other at the end of each week.
4. It is commonplace to be consumed by work, children, and finances that we literally forget how important it is to carve out quality time with our partners. Schedule date nights every other month. Pick the day (time and place can come later). Having a planned date is a great way to maintain a sense of adventure and fun in your relationship—it ensures time to build emotional intimacy and check in with each other.
5. Make rituals that honor your birthday, anniversary, holidays, and other landmark events through time. Celebrating the passage of time is a key component of how relationship masters keep their relationship well.
6. Choose compassion over being right. So many relationships suffer because our egos become gridlocked in the pattern of trying to be correct instead of being understanding and loving towards our partners and loved ones! Keep this in mind and always remember it is our kindness and care which nurtures those that surround us!
Written by Marriage Counselor and Founder of the Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh, Stephanie Wijkstrom.
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by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghApril 7, 2022 borderline personality disorder, boundaries, communication, conflict resolution, conversations for couples, couples communication, educational, emotional intelligence, how to say no, personal growth, relationship, relationship conflict, relationship resolutions, self care, stress management0 comments
You may have heard that boundaries in relationships are good and worthwhile. Understandably you might have some questions about boundaries such as what are they? How do I set a boundary? How do I communicate a boundary? How do I enforce a boundary? Is there any flexibility to boundaries? I will answer all of these questions for you because as a licensed marriage and family therapist I am professionally and personally invested in people having the healthiest relationships they can for as long as it makes sense.
I would like to start with some warnings at the outset: boundaries are difficult, people often react negatively to them, and relationships can get worse before getting better when you challenge a person even if it is for the best. Here’s the thing: despite how it might feel, setting boundaries in a relationship shows that you care deeply about the relationship because it’s a difficult thing to do. People generally don’t expend the energy to do such challenging relationship work with persons they have no intention of maintaining a relationship with. A boundary communicates that you want to keep the person in your life and gives them clear guidance on how that can happen.
Boundaries vs. Rules
First, it is important to specify what a boundary is and what it isn’t. A boundary is about you and what you will/will not or can/can not do. When you try to make a boundary about someone else and what they will/will not or can/cannot do, that is a rule and is actually a disempowering position. You do not have control over others, but you do have control over yourself. For example, “Hey, Uncle so-and-so, you can’t say racist things at Thanksgiving dinner” is a rule that is hard to enforce because Uncle so-and-so can choose to ignore that rule and say racist things anyway. Now what? Repeat yourself? Get into a verbal altercation over Thanksgiving dinner? Not ideal, right? However, if instead you say, “Hey, Uncle so-and-so, if you continue to say racist things at Thanksgiving dinner I will leave” Uncle so-and-so can choose to violate your request but there are now consequences that you control for that choice.
4 Steps To Set Boundaries in Relationships
- Identify how you want to interact in this relationship and/or how you don’t want to interact in this relationship. This is the boundary you are setting.
- Communicate the boundary to the person the boundary applies to directly. By the way, it’s not enough to simply say it. Effective communication and therefore effective boundary-setting involves confirming that the person received the appropriate message. This is as simple as asking, “What is it you just heard me say?” The person should be able to accurately summarize what your boundary is. If they cannot, either you are not communicating accurately and effectively or they are struggling to hear you. Repeat or re-form what your boundary is until what you’re saying and what they reflect back match.
- Attach a consequence to the violation of this boundary. A boundary with no consequence is toothless. It’s important to emphasize here that this can be read as a threat or ultimatum but it’s not. An ultimatum is a demand followed by retaliation usually of a similar caliber (think “taste of their own medicine”) but a consequence is merely the effect of an action. There are natural consequences to a person’s choices. To refer back to the Uncle so-and-so example, it is a natural consequence for you to remove his access to you if he can’t respect your boundary. This should also be communicated effectively and reflected back to you accurately.
- Build in a warning system. The violation of a boundary isn’t always intentional or malicious. When it is not their own boundary it is easy for a person to forget, especially over time. I think most people and most boundaries deserve at least one warning stated thusly, “Hey, remember when I told you that if you say racist things at Thanksgiving dinner that I will leave? Well, the next time this happens that will be the consequence.” You can absolutely choose not to build in a warning system but I like to work under the assumption that your relationships are valuable enough to you to give them a chance. I reserve two warnings for children and exceptionally difficult boundaries. Three strikes should almost never be considered acceptable. Even with two warnings you run the risk of setting a precedent that a person may violate your boundary only this many times, and they could take advantage of that.
Now for the hardest part: following through. I cannot emphasize this enough: it is extremely important that you do follow through on your boundary and its attached consequences or you run the risk of doing further damage to your relationships by showing you can’t be relied on or your word is meaningless.
You might be saying to yourself, “Okay, this is all well and good but what if I’m dealing with a hostile person who will take this the wrong way?” Well, that’s not something you can control. That is not where your power lies. Your power lies in the fact that you have the ability to set and enforce a boundary. How they react is in their control. However, you can increase your success in communicating around boundaries by leading with the relationship. Something like, “Hey, I have something I need to talk to you about and I want you to know that I value our relationship. That is the reason I’m bringing this up.” You can even bookend your boundary communication with an echo of this statement just to keep the sentiment fresh in their minds and minimize their reactivity.
Finally, I’d like to address flexibility with boundaries. Boundaries should not necessarily be firm and unwavering. People and circumstances change, and so it stands to reason that boundaries can, too. Again, communication here is key. Perhaps before you are done communicating about your boundary you establish that you’re going to try things this way for a certain period of time after which the intention is to reconvene and have a discussion about how that went and whether or not this boundary needs to change. You could also just check in after a certain period of time in the same way whether you established this in the original boundary communication or not. I do not recommend altering a boundary on a whim. This is a serious matter. You take your relationships and your boundaries seriously. Any changes should be communicated.
I wish you the best of luck in your relationships and boundaries!