My husband and I recently went on a cruise for vacation. If you have never cruised before, it’s worth exploring the option. If you have cruised before, you know there are countless activities to engage in. On this recent cruise, one activity we participated in was called “The Yes or No Game.” The challenge was to answer questions posed by the cruise director, without answering yes or no. In addition, there was to be no nodding or shaking your head for denial or confirmation, you could not repeat the question, or answer the question with the question.
As a therapist, this game was right up my ally. Sitting with couples and individuals, the more information and background I have, the better I am able to understand how situations started. I can see where the challenges are and what actions can be taken to help people experience health and happiness in their lives and relationships.
As a spouse, this game challenged me to evaluate what kind of things I am asking in my relationship. Asking great questions helps me to understand my husband’s perspective, improve my communication and learn how to love my husband better.
How will asking better questions help my relationship?
It’s easy to fire off inquiries to your partner. For instance, “Did you like the movie?”, “Anything interesting happen at work?” or “Are you feeling better today?” Asking questions that limit the answer to one word like yes or no, also limits engagement and connection.
So what are better ways to connect through expressing curiosity? Open questions limit or avoid an answer of yes or no because they encourage people to share their thoughts and feelings. In the world of therapy, these are called open-ended questions.
Below are some ideas on how to be more curious:
Instead of: Did you have a good day?
Ask: How are you feeling about your day?
Instead of: Did you like the movie?
Ask: What do think of the movie?
Instead of: Are you concerned about _____?
Ask: What are your thoughts on _____?
Instead of: Are you happy with our sex life?
Ask: Where you would you like to see our sex life improve?
Learning how to ask better questions in your relationship takes time. The goal is to deepen your relationship, learn more about your partner, and improve your intimacy. Practice opening your questions and you’ll be amazed at how your relationship can change.
What thoughtful questions can you ask your partner today?