“We are so in love!”
“This is it! We will be together forever”
So exciting, isn’t it? I LOVE love. Big time. The connection, the excitement, the starry eyes, the flittering heart, the way your whole self can just warm up and fill up and shine when you have found a connection with someone else that feels so RIGHT.
Love is hopeful and caring and supportive and powerful. It is there for you in good times and in hard times. It is your safety net of someone who gives a damn – even when you are not at your best. It is that bond with another that makes you want to know everything about them and bring them all the way into your world. It is the touching and bonding of souls. It is beautiful.
Why Does Love Die?
Yet, over 50% of loving, committed relationships don’t last. The excitement fades, the stress of life barges in and the monotony of day to day life sucks the fun out of the once exciting, spontaneous beginnings. But is that really what causes the breakdown? After many years of working with couples (pre-during and post marriage), I can tell you this. One of the biggest reasons love dies is because it stops growing. People stop seeing each other. We stop learning. We start thinking that we know all there is to know and we stop being amazed by each other. Our egos get more concerned with what we are getting out of the union than what we are putting in and what we are creating together. We simply stop getting to know each other and put our focus elsewhere.
In the beginning, we are so curious about each other. We spend hours talking about our stories. We put our best selves forward and we are amazed at what we have in common. We feel connected. Sometimes it is easy to think the other person we met is so connected to us that we start to see them as a piece of us and…well…since we already know ourselves so well, doesn’t that mean that we know them too? Hold on there. Not so fast. Your ego is sneaking up on you. The person you are so in love with in this situation is you. Let’s back up and get to know the other person a little better instead. Be ready. They are likely to have some differences from you and you may not agree on as much as you think and they might even get on your nerves and that is a wonderful discovery on it’s own. There is a whole, wonderful person there that you feel connected with, so let’s find out more. In fact, never stop finding out more. Never stop learning from each other. Never stop being amazed by each other. As lifelong marriage expert Gary Smalley says “see each other with new eyes – every day”.
Here is a good place to start.
A list of questions to share with each other. Try not to answer in less than 10 words. Expand, explore. Dive in. Deeper. Ask why and really listen to the answer. C’mon, this will be fun, it might be uncomfortable, but it is sure to be enlightening and you will know each other better afterwards!
1. What was the hardest part about your childhood for you?
2. How many children do you want and why?
3. What do you think your parents did best raising you? What did they do worst?
4. Where have you always wanted to live? Why don’t you live there now (assuming you don’t)?
5. If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?
6. What did you want to grow up to be when you were a kid? What stopped you (assuming it is not what they are doing now)? Do you still want that?
7. Have you ever been in a fist fight? Why? Tell me the story.
8. What do you think is worth dying for?
9. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
10. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
11. What would constitute a perfect day for you?
12. What are you most grateful for in your life today? What about five years ago?
13. What is more important to you, physical or mental health?
14. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
15. What is something you regret doing in the past?
16. If you could tell your whole life story in only five minutes, what would you say?
17. If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
18. Is there something that you’ve dreamt of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
19. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
20. What do you value most in a friendship?
21. What do you value most in a relationship?
22. What feelings do the words “commitment” bring up for you?
23. What is your happiest childhood memory?
24. What are you scared of?
25. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
26. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.
27. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother? What about your father?
28. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
29. What kind of humor do you find the funniest? When is the last time you laughed so hard you couldn’t breathe?
30. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
31. If you were to die tomorrow, what would you like people to remember you for? What would you want your funeral to be like?
32. If your house/apt was on fire, what items would you grab on the way out?
33. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?
34. How important is wealth to you? For example, would you be willing to endure having horrible nightmares for a year if you knew you would be rewarded with wealth at the end?
35. How many people do you know that have been married for over 20 years? What do you think they are doing differently that makes it work?
Ready, set, learn!