Relationship Help: Keeping Curiosity Alive in Your Relationship

Relationship Help: Keeping Curiosity Alive in Your Relationship

How well do you know your spouse/partner?

Are you a curious spouse/partner?

All marriages and relationships evolve, and this evolution involves getting to know your spouse/partner at a deeper level. Early in the relationship, this process moves along naturally and at its own pace—but as relationships mature, this process levels off, and the mutual curiosity that was once a regular part of a relationship vanishes.

Why is that?

Simple: over time we reach a certain level of transparency that ends up shutting down curiosity—couples end up believing that they know everything there is to know about each other. For many of us, this is quite comforting and brings a sense of stability to our relationship and lives.

But this can also lead to a marital or relationship rut. This is because emotional intimacy requires ongoing, mutual understanding, and since we are all continually evolving beings (growing and changing psychologically, physically, and spiritually), mutual curiosity needs to keep up with this evolution. This is the case no matter how long you’ve been together.

Relationship Help: 7 Questions to Pique Curiosity in Your Relationship

Below are questions designed to help you think about your relationship (and your partner) in a new light. You might want to answer them separately or together as a couple, whichever works best for you. As you share your responses with each other, try to be open and curious about the nuances of one another’s answers.

It’s best to approach this exercise with a beginner’s mind (in other words, let go of the preconceptions you hold about your spouse/partner).

(Please take your time answering these questions and come back to them as often as you like in order to deepen the journey of mutual discovery).

1. Would you want to be your partner’s friend even if you didn’t have romantic feelings for him/her? Why? Why not?  From your observations, what kind of friend is s/he to others?

2. How do others describe your spouse/partner? How does s/he treat others in general (cashiers, wait staff, coworkers, etc.)? Is this consistent with the type of spouse/partner s/he is to you?

3. Describe how s/he handles stress and demanding circumstances. What seems to help your partner during these trying times? What makes things worse?

4. If your partner won the lottery, how would s/he spend the money? Predict his/her first 5 purchases. Are these consistent with your values?

5. What are your spouse’s/partner’s greatest fears in life? How might these play out in your marriage or relationship?

6. What brings your partner the greatest joy?  What makes him/her feel the happiest and the most fulfilled? What is your partner truly passionate about? Where does s/he find meaning in life?

7. If your spouse/partner could magically change one thing about his/her life and solve a particular world issue/problem, what would that be and why?

Remember, don’t assume you know how your spouse/partner will respond—the goal isn’t to guess his/her answers but instead to be open and curious about each other’s evolving and changing interests, passions and viewpoints.

You can use these questions as a way to create greater emotional intimacy by entering into a dialogue with your spouse/partner about her/his responses.

I hope you found my latest marriage/relationship advice article helpful!

Warmly,

Dr. Rich Nicastro

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