There's a little ritual that occurs in our house each evening. My husband walks in the door, and I ask him how his day was. He asks me how the kids are, and then we stand in silence. Neither of us learns much about the other's day from these micro-conversations, but it also doesn't feel appropriate to ask each other for a play-by-play of our routines.
What's a loving couple to do? If you want to take a more vested interest in your spouse's day, there are ways to talk about it without sounding lame. Here are 10 ways to get a real conversation going, and you're guaranteed to feel closer as a couple in the process.
1. Who did you see today?
Open up the conversation to a discussion about mutual friends. This question can lead to a discussion about all the good people — and annoying people — your spouse dealt with today.
2. What was the best part of your day?
Sometimes, it's hard to answer a generic question like, "How was your day?" Open-ended questions are great for starting discussion, but you need to give some direction so there's a starting point for the conversation. Asking for a specific event gives your spouse an easy place to start the conversation.
3. Did you do anything interesting or new?
When the days seem long and monotonous, looking for the extraordinary puts a positive spin on a potentially boring conversation. Looking for novelty keeps things interesting.
4. What do you have to do tomorrow?
Keep track of your spouse's ongoing projects and responsibilities. You'll get a better sense of how your spouse spends his days when you see things in the long-term.
5. Did you enjoy your day?
Let your spouse know that you're a safe haven where she can talk about the difficulties of the day. Asking to hear about her feelings — not just about the day's events — leads to deeper intimacy with your spouse.
6. Who did you spend most of your time with?
Get to know your spouse's coworkers and friends, even when you can't see them in person. It's important to know about the players in your spouse's life, so ask questions about who he sees when he's away from you.
7. What would you change about today if you could?
An introspective question leads to a deeper conversation than you'll get by asking about events from the day. Throw in a few deep questions each day in addition to the perfunctory ones.
8. Did you go anywhere?
This is an especially important question to ask stay-at-home moms or spouses who work in an office setting. Let them talk about the interesting parts of their day, and listen attentively to the travel log.
We're assuming here that you and your spouse miss each other throughout the day. Create a feeling of camaraderie and intimacy by sharing the moments each day when you're thinking about each other.
10. What was the funniest thing that happened today?
Life is best lived with a sense of humor. When things get too serious, lighten the tension by talking about the funny points of the day. Having a good laugh together is an important way to strengthen your marriage.
Drop out of the daily drudgery, and get to know your spouse better. Dedicate 10 or 15 minutes each day to really discussing your days. Even though you can't spend each day together, you can still use that time to improve your relationship. Get past the lame, and start asking the questions that really matter.