By Carrie Murphy
“‘Remember when…’ is a great start to a loving conversation.”
“How was your day?” All too often, couples rely on this standard, ho-hum question when catching up with each other. While not necessarily bad, the conversational touchstone probably isn’t serving your relationship or helping you stay deeply connected to your partner on a daily basis. It’s easy to fall into a communication rut in the routine of everyday life, but hey, isn’t isn’t it worth trying a little bit harder to keep your bond a true priority?
Jane Greer, a relationship therapist and sex expert, says keeping your emotional needs (and that of your partner) in mind can help: “My advice is to focus on your partner’s energy level when he or she comes home. Find out where they are and take an emotional reading. Your partner will really appreciate this, and it will help you feel more intimate, communicate better and connect on an emotional level.”
So how exactly can you create more meaningful conversation with your significant other without feeling like you’re at a therapist’s appointment? Here are some topics you can bring up at the dinner table (or on the couch as you finish up that series-binge-watching marathon) each day to help you connect with your partner. You might even learn something new about them.
What are you working on, professionally, personally, mentally, emotionally? Are you hoping to change jobs, finish a crafting project, or plant a garden this year? Or maybe your goal is something smaller, like aiming to go to yoga every day this week. Share your goals, both large and small, with your partner. Talking about them in the open will help you stick to them, as well as give your partner something tangible to encourage you in.
Tell your partner about the hardest thing you experienced this week, whether it was something crazy at work, an awkward conversation with your sister, or just a really difficult workout. Ask them to share theirs, as well. You’ll feel closer by knowing each other’s struggles, no matter how inconsequential.
Not been sleeping lately? Suffering weird back pain? Chances are your significant other already has a pretty good idea what’s up with your health, but talking out health problems and issues can make both of you more cognisant and compassionate.
4. Happy Times
Tina Tessina, a marriage and family therapist, suggests that reminiscing about the happy times you’ve had in the past can help in fostering a sense of goodwill between you and your partner: “’Remember when…’ is a great start to a loving conversation. It creates so much good feeling to remember how you were when you were dating, when you got married, when you first bought your house, when you had your first child, when you got that promotion. Reminding yourselves of your solid history together is a way to increase your bond.” “‘Remember when…’ is a great start to a loving conversation.”
5. The Future
Talk about the future, both your individual plans and the ones you’re making as a couple. Sure, you can bring up that trip you want to book, but also test out going a little deeper. Ask your partner where they see themselves in 10 years, or what they want to feel when they look back on their life when they’re 80 years old. Creating a shared vision of the future can only make you more united as a couple.
6. What You’re Grateful For
What are you most grateful for in your life? What do you appreciate the most about your partner? What’s one thing your partner did this week or this month that you’d like to thank them for? Cultivating a gratitude practice can be great for you as an individual, so imagine the possibilities it has for your relationship as a whole.