Once you get into a routine, in a relationship, some things may get pushed aside. If this happens and you don't dig deep into your partnership, you may hurt each other, emotionally, without even knowing it.
Here are some questions to ask your partner either on a monthly or weekly basis. When you sit down to have these talks, put your phones away and clear away any other distractions.
1. What can I do for you right now to help you feel more comfortable?
Assuming you are in a distraction-free room, it is best to start off asking your partner if they need anything before you start asking heavy questions. Quickly touch base to make sure that you are on an even playing field.
Your partner may want the option to take a moment and lie in silence and breathe deeply. Or maybe they want a quick hug or a back massage to allow them to settle down and focus on you. Maybe they even need to run to the restroom, but whatever they need to do to settle in, let them do it.
2. How can I be more supportive?
This question may have an answer and it may not, and that’s okay.
It could be as simple as asking you to give them a kiss goodbye in the morning or send them a text in the middle of the day to check in. However, it could be something bigger like “I have a lot on my plate right now at work, do you mind making dinner for the rest of the week so I can relax?"
By just asking this question and allowing them the chance to give their honest answer will show your intentions of support.
3. Have I done anything this week to unintentionally hurt you?
This is a good place to start uprooting some of the bigger issues that may have been swept under the rug. While you may have thought a comment you made was insignificant or an argument you had was resolved, your partner may think differently.
Listen to their answer closely and let them tell their side of the story without interrupting. Recognize the fact that although you did not have the intentions of hurting your partner, it takes courage for your partner to come forth with their resentment or discomfort with something that happened.
Thank your partner for sharing their emotions and apologize for the incident or ask what you can do to help them move past the event.
4. What can I do to make you feel loved after a long day?
Just because you would want to be anxiously greeted and asked about your day doesn't mean that is what your partner wants. They may want silence and as little communication as possible when they get home and start to settle in. Alternatively, perhaps they want to go right into physical affection to end their day. Knowing what they prefer is one more step towards better understanding your partner and having a deeper relationship.
5. What kinds of physical touches make you feel loved?
This is referring to non-sexual touch. Perhaps they want to hold hands more? Give or get a back massage? Start each day with a big hug?
Find out what your partner physically needs to feel more loved and incorporate that kind of touch as much as you can.
6. In the near future, do you need more closeness or alone time?
Everyone's needs for independence and intimacy change constantly throughout the week. Perhaps your partner is having a discouraging week and they need some extra words of affirmation, intimacy, or compliments. Alternatively, maybe they are so busy at work that they just want to come home and relax and not have too much interaction.
Just because your partner needs independence and alone time does not mean they don't want to be with you or they love you any less. People's emotional needs fluctuate depending on countless elements in their everyday lives. The more you are able to accommodate the needs of your partner, the better. Remember, however, to still be conscious of your own needs when taking theirs into consideration.
7. Have we recently had an argument that you feel is not resolved?
This is another question that may directly bring up wounds from previous days. This question gives your partner a chance to consider if they thought your disagreements felt complete.
This is a tough question to ask because you may not want to rehash an old argument, but talking through this together will help get rid of any underlying tension that remains. When you are assertive and direct with the things that you want, it may be uncomfortable. But if you are not, you will always have the low-lying anxiety of not being true to yourself.
8. Are you satisfied with our sex life?
The biggest difference between your relationship with your partner and other relationships in your life is that you are physically intimate with your partner. However, sex is one of the most commonly cited stressful issues that couples don’t talk about that leads to a breakup.
Ask your partner if they are satisfied with your sex life. Is there anything they want to change? This may be a better question for couples who have been in the relationship for quite some time, so skip this question if you and your partner are brand new.
9. What are your current stressors and can I do anything to help?
This open-ended question will get your partner to directly think about and tell you what their current struggles are. Asking your partner how you can lighten their load is a great way to increase deeper feelings of connection in your relationship.
10. When is it hard for you to express yourself and how can I help during those times?
Ask this question every few months to make a big impact. Everyone has things that make them feel vulnerable in certain situations.
Maybe your partner feels really hurt when you argue about the in-laws, or maybe they feel completely embarrassed if you get into a disagreement in public. No matter what it is, there is a way to make your partner feel more loved.
None of this is to suggest that you should become submissive to your partner's needs. Also, some of these topics may not apply to your relationship and therefore do not need to be discussed. However, some of these questions have the ability to start a conversation that most couples never have with each other.