So you've been married to your husband long enough to know that he likes his toast slightly burned and prefers sleeping in the nude. You've learned his quirks and can finish his sentences -- but there's more to know about him. Asking the right questions to understand more about your husband is one way to strengthen your bond and improve your marriage. Couples that have positive, affectionate interactions are more likely to stay married, according to "Conflict and Love: Predicting Newlywed Marital Outcomes From Two Interaction Contexts," published in the Journal of Family Psychology. Ask open-ended questions to spur conversation and intimacy.
Delve Into His Childhood
If you are newly married, your husband has lived with you for a much shorter time than he lived with his family. There may be more than 18 years of stories and experiences that helped mold him into the man he is today. Ask questions like, "What is your favorite childhood memory?" or "Can you tell me about your family's holiday traditions?" If his childhood wasn't full of fond memories, don't push him to talk about it. When he opens up, show empathy and support. If you find out the two of you share a common background, you should let him know. However, The Gottman Institute advises that you should keep the focus of the conversation on him.
His Opinion on Current Events
No matter how long you have known your husband, there is always something different to talk about from the news, pop culture or politics. Ask him what he thinks about artists, television shows or the latest political scandal. When he gives you his opinion, ask follow-up questions to learn more about why he feels a certain way. Don't worry if you disagree with him. If you agreed about everything, your life together would become dull. Respectfully share your opinion and engage in an occasional friendly debate.
Explore His Interests and Hobbies
If your husband spends his spare time on activities like restoring old cars, watching sports or playing music, ask him about his endeavors. This gives him the opportunity to demonstrate his expertise and shows that you are intrigued with something he enjoys. Ask him questions like, "What made you want to try skydiving?" or "Can you tell me how the NFL draft works?"
His Hopes and Dreams
It is important to know his vision for the future. Even if you have had this conversation before, plans and goals can change. Learning what is really important to your husband creates a spirit of compromise in your relationship, according to HelpGuide.org. Ask him about his career aspirations or his ideas for the perfect dream home. If you have children or plan to have them, ask him what kind of father he hopes to be. Show him that you are listening with non-verbal cues like nodding or raising your eyebrows.
- American Psychological Association: Conflict and Love: Predicting Newlywed Marital Outcomes From Two Interaction Contexts
- The Gottman Institute Relationship Blog: What Makes Love Last: Putting Your Feelings Into Words & Asking Open-Ended Questions
- The Gottman Institute Relationship Blog: The Digital Age: The First Duty of Love is to Listen
- University of Missouri Extension: Creating a Strong and Satisfying Marriage
- HelpGuide.org: Relationship Help
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