Monotonous Conversation in Relationships
My husband and I have been together a long time. Everything is fine, but we don’t have the conversations that we used to. Now we just talk about the kids or the house or the bills. How can we focus more on us?
Signed: Monotonous Conversation
Dear Monotonous Conversation,
When we start out dating a new person, there is so much to learn. Getting lost in hour long conversations is exciting and brings people closer together. The same feelings also need to be kept alive, even years into the relationship. Connections spiral downward when we start to think we know everything there is to know about our partner. Boredom sets in and paths start to separate.
Connecting conversations provide a very different intimacy in relationships compared to normal, everyday chatter. Being able to have meaningful and revealing discussions helps keep relationships growing strong. These kinds of conversations often need to be intentional – they require time and focus – they allow us to see something new in the person we love, and this contributes to the emotional bank account that will help couples stay together, longer.
But finding things to talk about at this kind of level can sometimes be a challenge. Sure, we can watch the news and discuss thoughts relating to current events. There is no shortage of tantalizing subject matter available to us, in the world around us. We want to look for topics that offer us insight into our partner’s values and beliefs – the passions that get reflected in the expression of their opinions – so we can catch a glimpse of their hopes and dreams for the future. But there are other creative and fun ways to generate a deep and vulnerable conversation with the person we love, even after 25 years of marriage.
The Gottman Institute is known and respected as a foundational pillar in all things related to couples. They offer a FREE relationship app (Gottman Card Deck) that generates all sorts of scenarios, suggestions and prompts, for common connecting opportunities between partners. It has categories that relate to romance, levels of sexual intimacy, planning date nights, sharing feelings, building trust, etc. Here are some of the conversation starters suggested:
What are your 3 biggest needs, and how can I help fulfill them?
Of all the people we know, who do you think has the best relationship, and why?
Is there something you have always wanted to do/hoped to do, but haven’t yet? What gets in the way?
Why do you love me and when are some moments when you have felt most loved by me (and why)?
What kinds of things in this world (or in a relationship) do you consider “unforgiveable” and why?
How can we make our sex life better?
Connection gaps get created when we start to focus too much on the negative/problematic areas of our relationships. Sometimes it might feel like every “we need to talk” moment is draining and just creates more distance. Relationship gaps also develop when we start taking our partner for granted and fall into a pattern where things are just “okay” or “fine” for too long. Everyone likes to feel special and understood. The onus is one us to make sure our partners feel that way, no matter how long we have been together. And meaningful conversation is the key to being able to do this.