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 PittsburghJuly 17, 2023 active listening, communication, communication exercises, connection, conversation, conversations for couples, emotional intelligence, interpersonal effectiveness, interpersonal skills, listening, professional development0 comments
Are you a good listener? Do you want to develop your active listening skills further?In honor of World Listening Day on July 18th, let’s explore the significance of active listening skills as an art and a valuable skill. Active listening goes beyond merely hearing words; it involves fully engaging with the speaker, understanding their perspective, and providing meaningful responses. It plays a crucial role in effective communication, promoting empathy, and fostering stronger relationships.
Using the principles of empathy, genuineness, and unconditional positive regard, active listening takes typical listening to a deeper level of engagement. During conversations, the active listener interacts with the speaker in such a way as to encourage the speaker to continue speaking.
Active listening has three main elements:
- Cognitive: The listener pays attention to and processes the information received from the speaker
- Emotional: The listener stays calm and composed during the conversation and manages any emotions that might arise
- Behavioral: The listener conveys interest in the conversation and in the speaker both verbally and nonverbally
Asking open-ended questions with a neutral and nonjudgmental demeanor is one of the best ways that active listeners can show interest in the speaker and the conversation. Open-ended questions are designed to elicit more information and include who, what, when, where, and how questions. This technique is effective because responses to open-ended questions contain more information than questions that are answered with a simple “yes” or “no”. Examples of open-ended questions include “What happened next?”, “How do you feel about this?”, and “Where do you think this will end up?”
Other ways that active listeners can show interest in the speaker and the conversation include verbal and nonverbal utterances and gestures, such as nodding, maintaining an engaged facial expression, making appropriate facial expressions, having open body language, and saying things like “I see.” and “Really?”
Developing Active Listening Skills: Common Stumbling Blocks and How to Avoid Them
- Trying to multitask – regain control of your attention by deliberately and intentionally refocusing on the speaker, including focusing on the speaker’s mouth as if reading their lips (if need be, confess the lapse in attention to the speaker, apologize, and ask them politely to repeat what they said)
- Tuning out what the speaker is saying and preparing to argue or end the conversation instead of listening if you become emotionally triggered – regain emotional control by taking a few slow, deep breaths from your diaphragm and doing grounding exercises like making eye contact or shifting your position (strive for an open and curious attitude toward the speaker and the topic).
- Interrupting, offering unsolicited advice, or asking “why?” – regain control by remembering how you would feel if you were on the receiving end of such aggressive and dismissive tactics (the conversation isn’t only about you – avoid making the speaker feel uncomfortable or put on the defensive)
In conclusion, developing active listening skills is crucial for enhancing communication and building stronger connections with others. By engaging in active listening, which involves cognitive, emotional, and behavioral elements, we can truly understand the speaker’s perspective and convey genuine interest. Open-ended questions, nonverbal cues, and a mindful approach help demonstrate our attentiveness and create a supportive listening environment. To be effective active listeners, we must overcome common stumbling blocks such as multitasking, emotional triggers, and aggressive behaviors, by regaining control of our attention, managing emotions, and practicing empathy. By continuously honing our active listening skills, we can foster deeper connections, promote understanding, and foster more meaningful conversations.
For more information about World Listening Day, visit https://worldlisteningday.org
This blog was written by Renae Sever, PhD, NBC-HWC. Renae is accepting new patients at our Greensburg location as well as online.
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!
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghJuly 12, 2019 conversations for couples, counseling near me, how to tell that your relationship will lead to marriage, marriage and family statistics, premarital counseling near me0 comments
According to the US National Bureau of Family and Marriage Statistics, in 2017 there were 130 million married couples living in the US. Still, not every relationship is going to make it to the altar, it is even true that not every healthy or compatible relationship will have long term potential. The issue is that everyone is looking for something a little different to inspire them to settle down, even if you and your partner might connect well from your perspective, there are other factors which influence the choice to commit deeper. For instance, your partner may not be ready for that commitment or may have a different vision for the kind of relationship that they want. You are likely feeling anxious and wanting some sign to know which direction your partner sees things headed. Here are 8 ways to tell that your partner isn’t that into you.
- Your partner uses “I” instead of “we.” Generally, there is a lot of use of the word ‘we’ when connected partners talk about their life, their past, and their future. If your partner is still using “I” to talk about their 5 year plan they probably aren’t that into you.
- There is a lot of making up and breaking up, or if your relationship is toxic.
- Doesn’t make plans more than a week or few days in advance. If your partner is fairly last minute and doesn’t talk about your summer vacation or what you might do for holiday’s then they are probably not that into you.
- You haven’t met your partners family. Meeting the family is a signal that your partner is invested in making you a part of their life. If you have been together for 6 months or more and haven’t met their family then this guy isn’t all that into you.
- Do you talk/text/communicate every day? If there isn’t daily communication it is likely that your partner may not be very committal or into you.
- Your partner hasn’t posted any pictures with you on social media. Of course we don’t want to define our relationships by how they measure on social media but we do know that partners who are into you enjoy occasionally sharing a photo of them being together on social media.
- Your partner never talks about your marriage and family or a future together. If your partner were open to the idea of marriage or forever together, you would know it because they would mention it. If they don’t discuss the topic ever its probably because it is the furthest thing from their mind.
- If he has never ask whether you’re seeing other people, it might be because they are not that into you. Genders react differently to love, men are wired to feel a sense of protectiveness from a partner who he shares a sexual bond, if his testosterone is coursing in high volume with you, he will want to know that you are not seeing others and if not, your partner isn’t that into you.
- You are under 27 years old. If you are young, the people you are dating are a little less likely to want to get married or be your forever relationship. The lack of long term potential may have nothing to do with you but merely a reality of the numbers with the national average a man marries is 29.8 and for women 27.8, if you are dating earlier than that you are encountering people who are experimenting with relationships.
If you are noticing these signs, the best thing to do is to talk to your partner about them and ask what they think, a good opener is, ‘I have been thinking about you and I and its hard for me to tell where this is going, do you see long term potential between us?’ This might lead to a deep conversation about your partners perspective and take some of the guess work out of your future together. Read here for more premarital questions for couples and intimate questions and conversations.Learn More