When couples become parents, it can become all to easy too lose track of Who are we without the kids? The US gets lost because it’s the easiest plate to drop. Taking time out just for the two of you at least twice a month really matters.
If couples aren’t talking to each other about the kids, they can forget how to be more than the business of raising kids. If you figure out now, how to be an US without them (the kids); you will not mind becoming empty nesters because you will still like each other.
So one of my couples asked for some help with what questions to even ask to get started up and these are the 80 questions I came up with. The questions are like Triple A coming to jumpstart your battery, you are still the one who has to do the work of driving it around for 1/2 an hour by fattening up your responses and drilling down within yourself to make the questions interesting & worthwhile.
It’s way easier to be prickly like a cactus than to share. Feel free to print out & take on a road trip!
1. What drains your energy?
2. How do you replenish your energy?
3. If you inherited $100,000 right now, how would you spend it?
4. Pick 3 adjectives to describe yourself & me; share.
5. If you had time to do volunteer work, what would you do? (Should you make time?)
6. What’s the hardest part of your job for you?
7. What’s the best part?
8. Who was your best friend as a kid? In High School? In College? (Describe why)
9. What’s your favorite physical activity?
10. What non-profit do you believe in supporting? (Do we do that enough?)
11. What’s your favorite cultural activity?
12. What about religion has changed for you as you’ve aged?
13. What makes you wince about how you are like your mother? 18. …your Father?
14. How are you glad that you are like her? 19. …like your Dad?
15. How are you different from her? 20. …different from him?
16. What makes you sad about her life & unmet dreams? 21. …sad about his life?
17. What makes you proud of your mother? 22. …proud of your father?
23. What relative was important to you growing up & why?
24. What messages or myths about sex did you believe growing up? (from parents, peers or anyone)
25. What’s something you’ve never done that you’d like to try?
26. What’s a favorite lyric, song or band? How does music matter to you?
27. What’s something that scares you that you would never ever try?
28. What artistic endeavors have you tried & decided you were bad at?
29. What dreams have you given up on as unrealistic?
30. What book do you remember as being important to you?
31. What piece of art did you see that you’ve never forgotten?
32. What’s hard about being a parent? or What’s hard about not being a parent?
33. What’s one of the worse things that could happen to you?
34. What’s a favorite memory that you have about us?
35. Were your parents ever any good at having an us?
36. What scares you about aging?
37. What’s required the most courage of you in your life so far?
38. What’s good about how we are living in our life right now?
39. If you had more courage what would you do differently in your life now?
40. What do you like about our home? & what do you dislike?
41. If you had 1 year left to live, what would you do for you? for us? for the family?
42. For the two of us as a couple, what has been the hardest thing for you to face or learn?
43. How are you a different person from loving me?
44. What has made you angry about us as a couple?
45. What do you love about living in Pittsburgh? (or your own city)
46. Is there anything hard for you about living here or in our neighborhood?
47. If you could live anywhere, where would it be & why?
48. If you have kids give a detailed snapshot of each one from your point of view & what worries you.
49. Discuss what you love about your favorite t.v. show.
50. Are you happy with how we spend $$? What would you change?
51. From your point of view how could sex be improved?
52. Of all your friends & relatives whose life do you envy & why? (There might be a clue as to what you want)
53. Are you living the life you would want to live if you knew you’d be killed next week?
54. Where have you never been that you would like to visit?
55. When you look back on your life what is something you wish you’d done differently?
56. What are your 3 strengths as a parent?
57. What are your 2 weaknesses as a parent?
58. Are we spending enough time together, just us as a couple?
59. What are some new things you’d like to experiment with doing together?
60. Do we have enough friends with other couples or are there people we should reach out to?
61. How do you have fun? Do we have fun as a couple?
62. Do you think we are too materialistic?
63. What are 3 of your top personal values? Do we keep them in mind enough?
64. What is your idea of special time together?
65. Are there any ways you hold yourself back from being truly honest with me?
66. Is there anything I do that interrupts your ability to be completely honest with me?
67. What’s the hardest part of living with me? (if you think you know, say it & find out if you’re right.)
68. What pipe dreams do you wish could come true? (completely unrealistic)
69. Do you want to be cremated or buried? Do you want a green burial? End of Life concerns addressed?
70. How do you want to maintain vitality after the kids are grown & gone?
71. How do you want to age differently from how your parents do/did it?
72. What current events are really troubling to you?
73. Will/Was your mothers’ death or your fathers’ going to be harder on you? How can/Did I give support to you?
74. What’s something in our history together that was a big deal to you; that I may have overlooked?
75. What do you like about my parents? 76. What do you dislike? Do I stand up for you enough with them?
77. Are there any old grudges that interfere with trust between us?
78. What would you want your eulogy to say about you?
79. What’s missing in our life together? How could it be improved?
80. How is trust for you with me? Anything I may be trampling on unwittingly?
There are 80 more questions on the Improving Communication page of my Website. That’s a total of 160 questions. If anyone discovers a duplicate please let me know!!
Listen to my podcast “What Healthy Couples Know that You Don’t” on website, iTunes or download with your favorite podcast app.