As a marriage counselor and couples therapist, I have found that the key to quality communication is asking questions that engage the mind and open up the heart. While this may seem like a daunting task, it doesn't have to be.
Asking powerful questions is a skill that you can learn and develop over time. If you and your partner become experts at asking good questions, your relationship will thrive and soar as a result.
The Importance of Open-Ended Questions
Many of us reflexively ask closed-ended questions. These are questions that can be answered with a simple "yes" or "no" response.
These are questions that stop meaningful conversations. These are questions that do not encourage further reflection and communication. Examples of close-ended questions include:
"How was your day?"
"Did you like that movie?"
"Do you want to go ______?"
Open-ended questions open up deeper communication. They are questions that open up communication between you and your partner without providing simple "yes" or "no" answer.
Open-ended questions take effort and thoughtfulness to formulate. The wording of open-ended questions is very important.
Open-ended questions do not begin with "did" or "do". Those phrases encourage your partner with a very short response.
Instead, open-ended questions usually begin with:
"What's it like"
"Tell me about"
"In what ways"
"How did you"
Open-ended questions encourage your partner to think critically. Open ended questions also aim at engaging your partner at an emotional level.
With minds engaged and hearts open, you and are more likely to connect and experience deeper shared meaning. If you would like more information on open ended questions, The Gottman Institute provides a great article on this topic.
5 Open-Ended Questions to Ask Your Partner
1. What are three things that I do that you couldn’t live without?
This question encourages your partner to reflect on you, their needs and the relationship. By asking for three things, your partner has to pause and truly reflect on what is important to them.
2. If you could wake up tomorrow morning with one new skill or ability, what would you choose?
This is a good question because it helps your partner think about their weaknesses in a non-combative way. This question could lead to further conversations about how you can support each other to develop the skills you need to excel.
3. What is your best and worst childhood memory?
Understanding our childhood experiences can help us gain insight into how we behave as adults. Learning more about the good and bad aspects of your partner's upbringing can shed light on their beliefs and values. It's important to include the positive and negative dimensions to get a realistic account of things.
4. How can we make our sex life better?
This is one of the most vulnerable areas in a marriage. Most couples have a difficult time communicating about their sex life. The Gottman Institute writes on this topic beautifully.
Talking meaningfully about sex is a crucial dimension of a thriving sex life. This is an opportunity to explore fears, needs, and fantasies.
5. What do you consider unforgivable and why?
It's easy to tell your partner what you consider your non-negotiables in a relationship. What is more challenging is going into the deeper emotional and spiritual reasons why you'd have such a difficult time with infidelity, abuse or any other deal breaker. This may be a difficult question to explore on your own.
Couples Therapy, Marriage Counseling, & Learning to Improve Meaningful Communication
A couple's therapist or marriage counselor can help you and your partner learn to ask better open-ended questions. A professional marriage counselor is trained to help couples explore their communication issues and improve their connection strategies.
Couple's therapy or marriage counseling is also a good idea if you have important questions that need to be explored but are too difficult to navigate on your own.
A marriage counselor or couple's therapist can be an objective party that helps both of you understand and accept each other and overcome obstacles in your path to a deeper and more meaningful relationship.
Marriage Counseling or Couples Therapy at Katy Teen & Family Counseling: Katy, Tx & Houston
At Katy Teen & Family Counseling, our marriage therapists and couples counselors can help you strengthen your relationship or overcome barriers through meaningful communication. Marriage counseling or couples therapy can help rescue a relationship that you've worked hard to build and worth fighting for!
If you are ready to take that first step as a couple and meet with a marriage counselor or couples therapist, all you need to do is follow these three simple steps:
Contact Katy Teen & Family Counseling
Let us help you strengthen your communication foundation in your relationship!
Other Therapy and Counseling Services Offered at Katy Teen & Family Counseling: Serving Katy, Tx & Houston
Below are a few of the other counseling services we provide for teens, families, and young adults in Katy, Tx and Houston:
Board Certified Neurofeedback Therapy
Peak performance (optimal academic brain performance)
Peak performance (optimal athletic brain performance)
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR Therapy)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
About the Author
Quique also has a passion for helping teens, young adults, and adults who may be on the Autism Spectrum. He has a talent for connecting with and helping people with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
If you're ready to start your healing journey in marriage counseling or couples therapy, you can call us at 346-202-4662 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.