2020 and (so far) 2021 have tested our ability to make fulfilling conversation. The little every-day stories that used to bolster us have ground to a halt. Because the days all look the same… for both of you.
You may find yourself dreading silent meal times as you and your partner trudge from the couch to the table to eat. Or holding on to your phone like a lifeline as a way to get out of awkward, stunted conversations.
Well, guess what? This may be more difficult than normal, but it’s certainly not a new problem. The longer we’re with someone, the harder it can sometimes be to have deep, meaningful, lengthy conversations.
Plus, as marriages expand into families, you may train yourselves to hold short, pragmatic talks that end in “yes” or “no” out of necessity. But while it may be great for getting things done, too many of these exchanges can make you feel like a to-do list instead of a person!
We need to remember that words serve as an essential portal to know our loved ones — at any age and stage. Start with the tips below to avoid “yes” and “no” questions that can make conversations feel stilted and forced.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
Easier said than done? Maybe not. All you really have to do to avoid yes and no questions is restructure the way your sentences begin. For example, “Did you enjoy your day?” becomes “What were some of the highlights of your day? How did those go?”
Then, make sure you receive your partner’s response with empathetic, affirmative body language, like a sympathetic frown or nodding smile. And ask for details in an unpressured way — remember, it’s not an interrogation.
Give Your Attention to Yourself, Then Your Partner
Sometimes we ask close-ended questions to keep conversations short because we’re not really ready to be engaged. Instead of doing this, take a little time to center yourself before jumping into quality time.
Even the bathroom will suffice as a private spot to look in the mirror, take a few deep breaths, and let the spinning thoughts of the day settle. Then you can be fully present in a conversation.
Tap Into Curiosity
It’s natural to build up beliefs about someone you see on a daily basis. But remember how conversations sparked in the early days, because there was so much you didn’t know about each other?
Well, guess what? There’s still a lot that you don’t know about each other!
It may be hard to believe, but we continue to change and grow throughout our lifetime. Ask for updates on your partner’s opinion of topics large and small. You may be surprised, and you’ll find yourselves having an authentic back and forth.
Avoid “Yes” and “No” Questions with Guidance
If you still feel like there’s a canyon between you and your partner, Tim Higdon and Norene Gonsiewski can help. Reach out today and we’ll help you learn how to have conversations that build real intimacy.