If we want to get the right answers, then we must ask the right questions. Here are a series of good questions to ask to help your relationship grow.
Jenny and I know that conversation starters work because we use them personally. Before Jenny and I married, we bought a book packed with creative questions. We went through each one over a few weeks. The book was our companion over morning coffee, during dinner dates, bonfires, and walks on the beach.
One benefit of these creative conversation starters is that it gave permission to ask. Instead of wondering, Are these weird questions to ask, we simply dove in. Asking good questions was easy because it was almost like the book was asking the questions for us. Or like we were completing a project together. So, if you’d like to know your loved one better, grow your relationship, and have fun along the way, then these conversation starters are for you!
How to Use this List of Good Questions to Ask
These deep conversation starters for couples are all centered around a critical relationship principle. First, you’ll find an explanation of the relationship principle. Then, you’ll find about ten questions to ask to help your relationship grow in this specific area. This particular list is especially for couples who want to go deep. You’ll also notice that many questions are actions oriented. This is because, in my mind, taking action is deep work. It’s not enough to know what we should do or what we would like to do.
Growth is all about action. This often starts with gaining a better understanding of an intellectual idea. However, true growth comes from doing and not head knowledge alone. This is why James 1:22 says, “But be sure you live out the message and do not merely listen to it and so deceive yourselves.” The ultimate goal of this post is to help you learn new relationship principles, have great conversations, dive deeper into each other’s inner worlds, and then take action. This is how the best relationships grow!
How to Navigate These Conversation Starters
If the two of you are using these discussions to draw closer together, then you are doing things right! You don’t have to go in order or talk through every conversation starter on this list. What is essential is your bond!
I define intimacy as into-me-see. It’s the ability to peer into our loved one’s inner world. So get curious. Put away the cell phone and turn off any other distractions. Look your loved one in the eyes and turn your bodies toward each other. Then, dive into the creative questions that will help your relationship grow the most. The links below will help you quickly and easily navigate this creative conversation starter post!
Questions to Ask to Grow a Courageous Connection / Questions to Ask About Eliminating Irritations / Questions to Ask to Be a Love-Bank Filler / Questions to Ask to Update Your Lovemaps / Questions to Ask for About Spending and Saving / Questions to Ask That Strengthen Parenting Teamwork / Questions to Ask About Loving Your Partner / Questions to Ask About Habits and Routines
Grow Your Relationship With Courageous Connection
You can’t make your loved one connect with you, but you can courageously reach out. This connection might come through a smile, a gentle look, a soft touch, or a kind word. Relationship expert John Gottman calls this a repair attempt, but I like to refer to it as connecting like Velcro.
Velcro connects, disconnects, and over time, the hooks and loops stretch out to the point it’s almost as if they are reaching for each other. Nearly all couples disagree. This is normal and healthy. After all, if the two of you were 100 percent the same, then one of you wouldn’t be needed.
The difference is that happy couples don’t stay disconnected for long. Reaching for your loved one is an act of bravery. And reaching out is a win whether your loved one reciprocates or not.
So, the next time the two of you disagree, don’t allow the fight to fester. Determine to connect like Velcro by courageously reaching out. This first set of conversation starters are good questions to ask if the two of you would like to grow in your ability to courageously reach out.
Questions to Ask to Grow a Courageous Connection
1. What first attracted you to me?
2. What character qualities do you find most attractive in me?
3. Which of my physical characteristics do you find most attractive?
4. What is the nicest, most meaningful thing I have done for you this week?
5. When you are upset, what are some simple acts of kindness can I show to reestablish our connection?
6. Looking back over our entire relationship, what is one time that you felt especially connected to me, and why do you think you felt such a strong bond at this time?
7. On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being extremely disconnected and 10 being incredibly connected, how close to you feel to me right now? Why?
8. When one or both of us is feeling disconnected, how will we reestablish our bond?
9. How can the two of us team up to strengthen our bond this week?
10. Out of all of the couples you know, who has the closest relationship? Why do you think this couple is so connected?
11. Are there ways that I try to connect with you that simply don’t work well? If so, what would be a better way to courageously reach out?
Grow Your Relationship By Catching Minor Irritations
I didn’t mean to offend Jenny, but the look on her face let me know I did it again. “I’m sorry, honey. I’m not upset with you. However, I am frustrated with our situation. I know my sighs drive you crazy, and I’m working on it.”
As a therapist, I spend hours helping kids and adults slow their bodies down by taking big, deep breaths. Whenever Jenny brought bad news, letting out a deep sigh was natural. The only problem is that to Jenny, my sigh meant, “Jed is upset with me.” My sighs became what The Song of Solomon calls “little foxes that spoil the vineyard.”
They were a tiny irritation that grated on Jenny like sandpaper and drained her love-bank fast. My intention wasn’t to offend. However, my intentions also didn’t stop Jenny from feeling unloved every time I sighed. So I decided I would catch this fox and put an end to this irritation once and for all.
Ending an ongoing annoyance is an act of love. Are there any bad habits you can stop that will draw the two of you closer? These next set of conversation starters are good questions to ask if you want to eliminate barriers that get in the way of your bond.
Questions to Ask About Eliminating Irritations
12. Why do you think the Bible uses the metaphor of “little foxes” when describing relationship problems? Do you think this is a good metaphor? Why or why not?
13. Can you think of a friendship where small challenges compounded over time and weakened the relationship? If so, described what happened?
14. Rate how you feel you and your spouse are currently doing at keeping your relationship fox free, with 1 bringing lots of foxes and 10 being flourishing, with no foxes.
15. Is there a time in your relationship when there were fewer annoyances between you? If so, what were you doing differently at this time that made the relationship better?
16. How could you and your spouse begging teaming up right now to drive the little foxes out? What is one specific action you will commit to this week?
17. Is talking about the annoyances in your relationship easy or hard for you? Why do you think this is?
18. Growing up, was your family more likely to address challenges appropriately as they arose, overreact to issues, or pretend like they did not exist? How do you think this family history is impacting your current relationship?
19. How do you address challenges in your relationship today, are you passive, assertive, or aggressive?
20. What is one step you could take to begin moving toward a more assertive way of communicating frustrations?
21. Who is an assertive couple that you know? Are there assertive communication tools that this couple uses that you could implement in your own relationship?
Grow Your Relationship By Filling Love Banks
Imagine you are offered the gift of one million dollars today or the gift of a penny a day doubled for thirty days. Which do you take?
If you’re not familiar with how this works, I’ll let you in on a secret. You should take the penny. Sure, that’s only $.01 today, $.02 tomorrow, and $.04 that you receive on the day after. You’ll probably be furious with me on day 15 when you receive a mere $163.84, but by day 28, your tune will change. This is when the compound effect kicks in, and you receive a payment of $1,342,177.28, and there are still two more days left to go! When all is said and done, you’ll receive $5,368,70 on day 30, and when added to the money you collected on the previous 29 days, you’ll have a grand total of $10,737.418.24!
Love-bank fillers strengthen their bonds with the people who matter most by making tiny deposits daily. Similar to the illustration above, these tiny investments compound over time. Perhaps you say the words “I love you” before your partner leaves for work. Or maybe you give a sincere compliment or spend quality time with your loved one to let him know you care. Throughout the day, these kind words resound in your partner’s heart. And in this way, they compound many times over.
How to Compound Your Love
Object relation therapists refer to this as introjects. All members of the human race internalize the words said to them by others. We soak them up like a dry sponge. The penny principle is powerful because it’s exactly how the human heart works. A kind word may only come out of our mouth once, but it may replay in our partner’s mind ten times more before the day is done. Of course, the same is true for negative introjects too, which is why we must be careful what we say.
Proverbs 12:18 says, “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Like a double-edged sword, words can build up, or they can tear down. And they continue to reside in our loved one’s hearts long after they leave our lips. So choose your words wisely. Be a love-bank filler. Follow the penny principle. If you fill your partner’s love-bank daily, these kind acts will compound. Over time, your relationship will reap the benefits of exponential growth!
This next set of conversation starters are good questions to ask if you want to be a better love-bank filler.
Questions to Ask to Be a Love-Bank Filler
22. Does the idea of the love-bank resonate with you? Why or why not?
23. What was the most recent deposit your spouse made into your love-bank? What made your spouse’s actions so meaningful to you?
24. What was the most recent deposit you remember making into your spouse’s love bank? Was make my this deposit easy or a challenge?
25. Is making regular deposits into your spouse’s love-bank easy or difficult for you? Why?
26. Right now, do you feel there is there a love-debt or an abundance of love in your home? Why do you feel this way?
27. Growing up, how was love demonstrated in your home? Do you think the way love was shown to you as a child impacts the way that you show love to your spouse and family now?
28. If you had to choose between receiving occasional, grand demonstrations of love from your spouse or daily smaller actions of love, which would you pick? Why?
29. Is there a way your spouse tries to fill your love-bank that simply does not work well? If so, what acts of love would be more meaningful to you?
30. What is your favorite way to receive love from your spouse? (I.e, what acts make you feel the most cared for).
31. What are some activities that you and your spouse do together that leave you both feeling loved and filled?
Grow Your Relationship by Updating Lovemaps
A lovemap is a mental roadmap you’ve created for your partner. It consists of your impression of your partner’s best friends, favorite foods, hobbies, dreams, goals, aspirations, preferred books and movies, and deepest desires. Typically, we create these lovemaps during our initial dates. But if you don’t stay curious, then your lovemaps will slowly become outdated.
Last year, I asked Jenny, “You don’t still want to cage dive with great white sharks, do you?” On our early dates, Jenny’s passion for adventure captivated me. However, Jenny was now a mommy and step-mommy of four. I assumed she now valued safety over adventure.
The only problem is I was wrong! “Of course I do,” Jenny replied. “I just don’t mention it often because our family has other priorities that need to happen first.” I had wrongly assumed that Jenny had settled into the role of a Minnesota housewife who longed to play it safe. My face lit up as I realized her daring adventures side is still there, waiting for the right opportunities to come out.
Don’t put your loved one in a box and assume you have him or her figured out. Stay curious, even about the things you think you know, by updating your lovemaps regularly. Having your partner get curious about you is flattering. So when is the last time you updated your lovemap and confirmed what you think you know?
This next set of conversation starters are good questions to ask if you are ready to update your lovemaps.
Questions to Ask to Update Your Lovemaps
32. Who are some of your best friends, and what makes these relationships do meaningful?
33. What book are you currently reading, and what was the best book you read in the last year?
34. On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being miserable and 10 being elated, how happy are you with your current job? Why?
35. What are your work goals over the next five years? Over the next ten years?
36. What are your top three favorite leisure activities?
37. What personal goal would you like to accomplish in the next five years?
38. Describe how you picture your family looking ten years from now. What things are different? What has stayed the same?
39. What are you most looking forward to during this stage in your life?
40. What scares you the most about your current stage in life or your current family situation? Why?
41. If you had a magic wand and could change one thing about you or your family, what would it be, and why?
Grow Your Relationship by Spending and Saving Together
Early in our marriage, Jenny and I hit a financial low point. I panicked. After all, my job was to be the guy, the breadwinner, and the financial hero of the family, right? Try as I might, I simply don’t hide stress well.
Then, Jenny spoke a few words that changed everything. “Don’t worry, honey. Every couple has financial challenges sometimes. We are just getting ours out of the way early.”
With those words, I breathed a sigh of relief and understood the two of us were on this journey together. Fast-forward about a decade. Jenny and I have had good financial years and bad ones. Yet, one thing stays the same. We are on this journey together.
Money issues can make or break a marriage. When it comes to finances, are the two of you on this financial journey together? I define intimacy as into-me-see. It’s the ability to peer into our loved one’s inner world. And financial into-me-see is all about knowing our loved one’s heart when it comes to finances. The two of you may have more in common than you realize.
This next set of conversation starters are good questions to ask if you want to dive deeper into your ability to budget together. If you desire to go even deeper, then be sure to check out this list of over one hundred conversation starters about money, finances, and saving.
Questions to Ask About Spending and Saving
42. When it comes to finances, would you describe yourself more as a saver or a spender, and why?
43. Why is saving important to you personally?
44. What is one big purchase you would like to make this year?
45. On a scale of 1-10, with a 1 being spending like we just won the lottery and a 10 being miserly saving, how do you believe your family manages money?
47. What is one thing that you would like to do differently in regard to your finances this year?
48. What do you feel is one of the best financial decisions you made this year, and what was good about this decision?
49. In what ways is your family currently honoring God with its finances, and how would you like to see your family grow in this area this year?
50. Do you believe in the adage, “It is better to give than to receive?” Why or why not?
51. Do you think finance is a current point of tension in our relationship? If so, what small steps could we take to reduce the tension?
Grow Your Relationship by Parenting as a Team
“Those people” (aka the kids) is a term we got from our friends Gil and Benda Stuart. Those people can be cute. Jenny and I love our brood of girls. But they can also stir up strife.
Lately, one of “those people” has been sneaking candy, marshmallows, and other sweet treats. After shoving as much as she can into her mouth, she hides what’s left under her covers—which often isn’t very much.
When asked why these sugary treats are in her bed, our little one always gives the same answer. “It was either daddy or the cat.”
Fortunately, there are two significant flaws in our kiddo’s plan. First, neither daddy nor the cat is especially fond of marshmallows. Second, Jenny and I both know that those people may try to divide and conquer mom and dad to get their own way. When “those people” are sneaky, the key is to pump the breaks, slow things down, and get unified.
It’s important to ask good questions and have meaningful conversations about “those people.” The truth is, those people will stir up strife. They will try to divide and conquer mom and dad. But those people also thrive in a two-parent home, and they feel most secure when their parents are unified. So don’t allow those people to break the unity of your bond.
This next set of conversation starters are good questions to ask if you’d like to focus on parenting teamwork.
Questions to Ask That Strengthen Parenting Teamwork
52. What are some of your favorite parts about having kids?
53. What is one of your favorite memories of playing and interacting with our kids?
54. What are some aspects of having children that annoy, scare, or frustrate you?
55. Would you ever want to have more children? Why or why not?
56. In what ways do you think that having children have brought the two of us closer together?
57. How have our children created gaps in our relationship?
58. What are some of the things we have done in the past to successfully bridge the gaps created by our children?
59. Are there any ways that you would like me to interact with the children differently? Why are these changes important to you?
60. How do you think the two of us are doing at raising our children in a Christ-honoring way? What can we do to help our children go deeper in their faith?
61. What do you consider to be one of our greatest parenting successes, and why?
Grow Your Relationship by Loving as Your Partner Wants to be Loved
I have a friend who almost planned an extravagate dinner date for his wife at home. He envisioned dinner by candlelight, soft music, and a rose-petal path leading from the dining room table to the bedroom.
He almost put his plan into action until he envisioned his wife opening the door and realized her first thought would be, Who is going to clean up this mess.
So he took her out for dinner, a night on the town, and the two returned to a clean home. This wise man thought in terms of his loved one’s interests and loved his wife as she wanted to be loved. Loving our partner as he or she wants to be loved is also known as following the Platnum Rule.
What will you do to express your love in ways that your partner appreciates it most? This next set of conversation starters are great questions to ask if you’d like to love your spouse as he or she wants to be loved.
Questions to Ask About Loving Your Partner
62. What actions does your spouse take to let you know you are loved?
63. What is your favorite way to receive affection from your spouse?
64. Is it easy or difficult to show your spouse affection? Why?
65. What did affection look like in your home when you were growing up? Do you think this has impacted how you show (or don’t show) affection in your home today?
66. On a scale of 1-10, how content are you with the level of affection you receive from your spouse? A 1 means that you are incredibly discontent, and a 10 means the level of affection is perfect. Then explain why you chose this number.
67. When it comes to affection, what would you like for your spouse to do differently?
68. In what way has the affection between you and your spouse matured and grown?
69. Are there any ways that affection has diminished your relationship that you now miss?
70. In what ways are the two of you working together to teach and model healthy affection to your children?
71. After talking about affection with your spouse, what, if anything, will change over this next week?
Grow Your Relationship With Love Habits
When I started writing books, my amazing wife, Jenny, had one complaint. “Honey, when you write, you are in your zone. You completely tune out the rest of the world, and it’s almost like I don’t exist.” This is when I knew something had to change.
The next morning, I woke up early, brewed a pot of coffee, and began to write as usual. The one difference is that I decided the moment I saw Jenny would be my cue to close my laptop and take a minute to connect.
This simple connection habit worked like magic. Sometimes the two of us connect for a minute. Sometimes it’s a bit more. But never again has Jenny complained about my writing. This simple connection habit became a powerful way of communicating, You are always more important than my next project.
How to Grow Your Relationship by Creating a Connection Habit
To create a connection habit of your own, simply pick a cue that will serve as a reminder that it’s time for the two of you to connect. This connection trigger might be:
- The first time you see your loved one in the morning.
- The moment you walk through the front door after you return from work.
- Immediately after putting the kids to bed.
- After brushing your teeth.
- Right after you turn off the lights to go to bed.
When it comes to relationships, good intentions are not enough. The easiest way to start a new habit is to connect this action to a routine that’s already in place. What cues will trigger your daily 1-minute connection moments?
This next set of conversation starters are good questions to ask about developing habits and routines.
Questions to Ask About Habits and Routines
72. What are some healthy habits your spouse has that you especially appreciate?
73. Is there a habit that your spouse has that you find annoying and you would appreciate him or her fixing?
74. What is one healthy habit you would like to develop this year?
75. What is one negative habit that you would like to reduce or eliminate?
5. In what ways can your spouse support you in reaching your habit goals?
6. What are some healthy habits that you would like to instill in your children, and how will you do this?
7. What spiritual habits would you like to grow this year?
8. What habit would you like to develop together as a family, and how might you do this?
9. In your opinion, how important are habits, and why?
10. Do you have any habits that you hope continue to strengthen and grow over the next ten years?
Great Questions to Ask for Couples, Families, Kids, and Teens
If you enjoyed these creative conversation starters for couples, then you may want to check out some of our many bestselling books. They are packed with great questions to ask couples, families, kids, and teens. These include. Conversation starter books include 131 Creative Conversations for Couples / 131 Necessary Conversations Before Marriage / 131 Conversations that Engage Kids / 131 Connecting Conversations for Parents and Teens / 131 Engaging Conversations for Couples / 131 Holiday Conversations / 131 Conversations for Stepfamily Success / 131 Creative Conversation Starters for Families / The Joyfully Married Couple’s Journal: A Year of Questions to Ignite Fun Conversations and Grow Your Love
Each book is designed to help you connect, peer into each other’s inner worlds, and grow in into-me-see!
Let’s Keep the Conversation Going
How are you using these creative questions lists? Are there any great questions to ask that we should add? Where is your favorite place to dive into a good conversation? Please feel free to share your stories, ideas, and conversation adventures in the comments below. Jenny and I enjoy great conversation, and We’d love to hear from you!