Many stay-at-home parents crave adult interaction. You get tired of singing the alphabet and counting to 10. You read the same stories over and over and have theme songs to your child’s favorite shows memorized. When your spouse walks in the door, you want to pull them aside and tell them everything about your day, current events and neighborhood gossip. Instead you hear a simple, “How are you?” and you respond with, “I’m fine.”
This scenario isn’t uncommon. When was the last time you really talked to your spouse? In many marriages we get caught up asking generic, basic questions that result in answers with very little information. For example, questions such as “How was your day?” and, “How are you?” usually result with, “I’m fine.” “I’m doing well.” “It was OK.”
When couples communicate by asking generic questions, they are missing out on numerous opportunities to really talk to each other, share one another’s feelings and understand what each spouse goes through during their daily activities. Healthy communication is vital in a relationship and can be something that happens each and every day.
Here are a few tips to help you push those basic, boring questions aside and spice up the communication in your marriage.
When asking your spouse questions, don’t ask questions that result in a, “Yes,” or, “No,” answer. Also, don’t ask questions so broad that it takes too much time and energy to provide a true, honest answer. Instead, be specific with your questions. By narrowing down a time frame, choosing specific activities, asking about specific children, you can learn much more about your spouse. Here are a few examples of specific questions you can ask.
What was your favorite part of the day?
How did (enter child’s name here) show you love today?
What were you able to accomplish throughout the day?
How have I shown you that I love you today?
Don’t ask the same question twice
When asking the same question on multiple occasions, it tells your spouse that you don’t really care what he or she has to say. Most individuals are hurt when they have to repeat themselves. When you ask your spouse a question, be sure to listen to the answer. Poor listening skills can get you in some hot water.
Think before you ask
Before you ask your spouse a question, think about how it will come across. There have been several times in my marriage where I’ve asked my spouse a question, not thinking beforehand, and my tone of voice or body language offends my husband. Before you ask any question, think about how you are presenting the question. In addition, be prepared for an answer you may not want to hear. Thinking before speaking can save you a lot of unnecessary contention.
When you are specific with the questions you have for your spouse, you can improve your communication. You can keep the spark alive that you have both worked hard to ignite. Asking the right questions can help you improve your marriage and become closer to one another.
Courtnie is an editor for FamilyShare.com and has a degree in journalism. She has a slight obsession with running, newspapers and large fuzzy blankets. She currently lives in Idaho with her husband and two sons.