My wife, Karen, and I have been married 18 years and both of us love going to the movies. This past Saturday we saw the movie “Hope Springs.”
“Hope Springs” stars Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep trying intensive marriage counseling – with Steve Carell as the therapist. While not giving away the storyline, a major lesson the movie reinforces is the importance of talking.
Whether or not you’re in a relationship, it’s worth considering: “What are the most meaningful questions we could be asking each other that we don’t?” and “What questions would I fear my partner asking me and why?” Typically “why”s reveal the fears which are most important to overcome to have a truly intimate relationship.
EXAMPLE: You say to yourself, “I’m afraid to ask you about a fantasy I have because you’ll think I’m weird and not be attracted to me.” The truth is a partner in a healthy relationship will feel closer to you knowing your inner thoughts. After all, fantasies can always remain fantasies. A supportive partner could respond with, “Thanks for sharing. What about the fantasy do you think makes it exciting for you?”
If instead your partner responds with disregard for you (not just the idea of the fantasy), isn’t it better to know sooner than later how this person is treating your thoughts and feelings?
Asking questions can be challenging, fun, revelatory, and trust-building, especially when you are both willing to hear the answers and respect your partner’s perspective. For Karen and I, going out to dinner after the movie resulted in some deep conversation and a few good laughs.
In the first few weeks of our relationship (we were both juniors in college), I remember wondering if I freaked Karen out with revealing that I believed in waiting for sex. Karen responded by sharing how much it meant to her that I could trust her with my feelings early on in the relationship. My fear was simply my overthinking the situation.
In the COMMENTS section below, share questions you think EVERY couple should be able to openly ask each other.