I work with couples who want to lose resentment and regain intimacy. Within six sessions I have had couples learn more about each other than they did in 15 years of marriage. Couples learn how to emotionally connect and create emotional intimacy and risk vulnerability with each other. The list of questions are examples of some of the work I have created for marital/relationship counseling. It’s not intended to be done without attending therapy.
When you try to have a conversation with your spouse stop for a moment and think about what you are going to talk about. I bet you usually do not talk about your relationship. You talk about the kids if you have them, or your dog or what’s going on in the world, Covid worries or gossip. I often get calls from couples where a spouse is shocked that his wife is not happy in the marriage and is contemplating divorce. The one spouse says we work so well together, we built careers together, have properties, and have great kids. I just don’t get it. I often ask did you ever talk about your relationship. They tell me they did talk about things and how they felt and then I gave them this list and I said did you really get deep and get to know each other. What they often find is they didn’t really know each other as well as they thought. Within six sessions I have had couples know more about each other than they had in 15 years. It’s through intense conversations that you develop deep intimacy and feel closer than you ever have. Here are some starters to try and get to know your partner deeper.
Partner Check-Ins by Pam Meyerson
We need our partner to witness pain by sharing our stories on a regular basis and we heal by our partners being empathic and compassionate (this includes when you are in pain from your partner)
- Something I did that is not helpful in our relationship
- Something the other person did that was helpful
- Thoughts I had about you recently
- How I feel about our relationship today
- Something you wouldn’t know about me or I am feeling presently that you wouldn’t know if I did not tell you
- Something that is painful in our relationship
- Something I am grateful for in our relationship
- Did I make promises to my partner that I did not fulfill and if so did I admit to my partner when this happens
- Have I fully explained issues to my partner
- Am I being honest with how I feel today in the relationship
- Am I sharing things in the relationship that are causing emotions in me
- Am I being honest when I want things my own way and how it is impacting the relationship
- Am I considering the coupleship today in my actions and behaviors or what have you done to not consider it
- How connected 1-10 do you feel in the relationship
- It must be hard for you because. . .
- I considered what you need today and did (say what you did to consider your partner)
- I was wrong today. . .
- Send a compliment to the other person and what they did lately to help the relationship
- I need this from you (name one or two things) to make me feel closer to you
- When your partner tells you something they feel and you get defensive admit it is your own insecurities. What you hear from your partner is criticism so you can’t hear what they are saying
- What was a childhood memory that gave you joy, happiness, security, or safety and how does your expectation from those memories affect your marriage
- What was some unmet need in childhood that you never got from each parent and how does that affect your marriage or triggers issues in the marriage
- If your spouse does something that bothers you and you don’t feel you can change it examine why together and validate your partner’s feelings