5 Simple Questions That Will Dramatically Improve Your Relationship
The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your questions. -- Dr. John Demartini
Questions have the ability to completely change one’s life and relationships.
Tough and uncomfortable ones can challenge relationships to deepen, but don’t discount the effectiveness of neutral or day-to-day questions either.
Too often, couples get caught up with routine dialogue as both go about their days.
How was work?
What do you want for dinner?
What Netflix series do you want to watch?
While this is all part of sharing a copasetic life with someone, it can sometimes gloss over bumps in the road. We don’t get deeper beyond these daily exchanges which can cause unintended distance.
Most importantly, it affects our ability to detect if something is wrong or brewing with our counterpart.
With our lives surrounded by multiple relationships, we are bound to have a bad day. However, often times, we try to dismiss these unpleasantries as a coping mechanism.This can create an emotional bruise that’s left tender and open to sensitivities when you come home.
It can build up and unfortunately, come out at the wrong time to the wrong person - your partner.
Being aware of your partner’s emotional bruise can avoid such outcomes tomorrow. You want to address such matters BEFORE they come out of nowhere emerging as full on problems, especially, if they are unrelated to your relationship.
Remember, part of being in a relationship is continuously relating to the other. Help bring out those dismissed thoughts and emotions from your partner. Moreso for the health of the relationship and for preventative measures.
Consider these subtle questions below. Ask your loved one the next time it appears they may be emotionally bruised from their day and could use a little loving nudge.
Get them to open up and begin their process to resolve things. And, save that Friday night for a positive time with a healthy stress-free mind with you!
1. How can I make your day better?
A couple who exchanged their vows when they were 21 years old had been struggling with their marriage for years. It was strained. They were barely acknowledging each other in their days.
Everything changed when they began asking each other a simple question: “How can I make your day better?”
This question, which he shared in a viral blog post, completely transformed their marriage.
Evans explained in an interview,
“Many people in relationships focus on what their partner should be doing for them, when they should really be focused on what they can do for their partner.”
He shared a beautiful Italian expression that represents his profound lesson: "Ti voglio bene” which is interpreted as “I love you” but it specifically translates to “I want good for you.”
Love is about what you can do for your partner. Don’t wait to be at the brink of a breakup or a divorce. Integrate this subtle question into your daily dialogue.
Ask with genuine intention and desire to make a difference in your partner’s lives and watch your love and connection change.
2. Is there something that I said or did that might have hurt your feelings/ Is there anything that you feel incomplete about from the past week?
You may or may not have anything to do with your partner’s issue, but this will allow them to know you’re aware of a behavior change.
However, it could be about you. It’s uncomfortable to bring up potential negative topics when it can feel like rehashing or playing with fire. But a thriving relationship requires the willingness and courage to walk through tough conversations together, even if the answers may hurt your feelings.
It’s easier to avoid such interactions, and therefore makes it more important to ask this question. By doing so, you create a safe space where openness and vulnerability becomes a commonplace between you two.
This will help prevent any potential resentment from building up.
Although it is often tempting to move on by dismissing an issue, we must remember that it takes courage and love to nurture and strengthen the relationships that matter the most to us.
3. Is there anything extra stressful coming up for you this week?
Stress has the potential to create distance, disconnection or frustrations in our relationships. So, knowing when our partners will experience more stress is extremely beneficial and very advantageous.
Not only will there be an opportunity to discuss preventative practices together, but it will also get your partner to engage with you through the process. Thus, becoming closer as a team helping each other to tackle the world’s differences.
4. What can I do to specifically help you with this upcoming stressful situation? Let me know how I can support you better.
It’s imperative to support our partners in a way that directly caters to their needs. We can easily fall into the trap of ‘fixing’ things, usually based on our perception.
Hence, this question focuses on asking your partner to specify any requests pertaining to their situation.
Avoid making assumptions about their problem as doing so can work against your intention if things aren’t interpreted or understood accurately.
By getting aligned with their side of the story first, it will help you to consider solutions more fit to what THEY need and not what YOU think THEY need.
5. Was there something that I said or did that you DIDN’T like? Why?
It’s inevitable that there are some things that we do or say that may trigger our partners negatively.
Here is a secret to dealing with conflicts with your partner.
It’s NEVER about the actions, it’s about how the action makes your partner FEEL.
For example, it’s unsettling to me if someone attempts to multi-task as I’m sharing my feelings. Even though what they are doing may be minuscule or an autopilot task like grabbing a kleenex or a glass of water, it somehow throws me off.
Why? Because it makes me feel like their needs are more important over mine during this moment of vulnerability I’m sharing.
What flips this around is when they simply acknowledge this by reassuring me - “I’m just getting a kleenex/water.”
Although small, this act makes the WORLD of a difference for me. It confirms they realize I’m sharing something vulnerable and it encourages me to continue with what I was saying.
Your intentions may be right, but there is always a chance it can be misread as in my example. A solution can be as easy as a clarification.
When you ask this question, understand you are hearing their reaction to the misunderstanding, not to your communication ability or lack thereof.
It’s not personal.
At the end of the day, that’s what most arguments, fights, and problems arise from. Our behavior and our words are based on how we see things. However, it is not always universally understood. If we were perfect, we wouldn’t need questions like this.
We love our partners because of who they are that is independent of us. It is only right to ensure that our communication was accurately registered and not misinterpreted.
Breaking our fixated routines and taking the time to ask these questions is a powerful way to refocus the relationship to a place where it truly matters - getting clear on your partner’s needs and how you can help them. This will also inspire your partner to put their best foot forward in catering to your needs and contributing to your happiness too.
Remember that we are in relationships to give, experience joy and grow together. Problems or uncomfortable moments are inevitable obstacles that need surmounting and yes, it is easy to give up, but the truth is that these are the golden opportunities to grow as individuals and as a couple.
Listen to your partner, discover their needs that means the most to them and do your best to fulfil them.
Remember giving is the secret to true fulfilment.