My Top Premarital Counseling Question

Questions have the power to open us up intellectually, emotionally, spirituality, and sexually. Whenever questions make us ponder something new or force us to examine ourselves at a deeper level, they lead us into unfamiliar terrain—a terrain that can include possibilities not previously imagined. In short, questions offer couples (in every stage of their relationship or marriage) a powerful pathway to greater understanding and discovery (self and other).

Unfortunately, too many couples lose sight of the importance of questioning as a communication skill that can deepen mutual understanding and feed emotional connection.

Couples Communication: My Top Premarital Counseling Question

At a recent couples communication workshop, I asked the attendees one of the questions that I often ask couples in my couples therapy practice:

What words and actions truly touch your partner—the words and actions that make him/her feel emotionally seen and cared for and desired?

Surprisingly (or maybe not), many of the couples at the workshop had a difficult time answering this important question. Some of the individuals knew what would make themselves feel more loved and desired, but could not hazard a guess at how to answer that question for their partner. With this type of communication void, couples are left to haphazardly fill in the communication gaps in ways that may miss the mark and fail to touch the heart of their spouse/partner.

So it becomes imperative to ask your partner this question in order to discover the words and behaviors that make him/her feel seen, cared for and desired.

Asking this important question (and others), however, is just one part of the communication process. The other part has to do with what the receiver of the question does with it. Too often when asked questions designed to invoke a deeper emotional experience or discussion, the person being asked the question doesn’t give it the attention and reflection it deserves. So rather than wrestle with a question like “How are you feeling about that?”, we may short-circuit the power of the question by quickly responding: “I don’t know”; or “Fine.”

Not immediately knowing the answer to a question like “What are you feeling?”; or “What are you needing from me in this moment?” is quite common. It takes a bit of self-reflection and discernment to discover what you might be feeling or needing. But without the effort, the discussion will remain on a surface level and offer little in the way of self- and other-discovery.

Strengthen Your Relationship Self-Reflection Action Step

Take a few moments to reflect upon the premarital counseling question:

What words and actions truly touch your partner—the words and actions that make him/her feel emotionally seen and cared for and desired?

If you are not certain, ask your partner to really think about his/her answer to this question, and when s/he is ready, to share her/his response with you. Allow this question (and any others you can think of) to provoke a discussion about the different ways in which you both feel loved and desired. And if you both know the answer to this question, don’t assume that this won’t change in the future. As you each grow and become more self-actualized, your needs and desires may also shift and take a different form.

Understanding one another fosters a deeper sense of emotional security, a secure foundation which research shows is at the center of a loving relationship. When you know the words and behaviors that make your partner feel seen, cared for and desired, you are feeding this foundation rather than taking it for granted.

Strengthen Your Relationship Resource

Check out my Marriage Enrichment Special, a comprehensive marital toolbox to help you keep your marriage vibrant throughout the years to come.


Dr. Rich Nicastro

Related posts: