One of my favorite expressions, as I have worked with families, is that “the most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” And yet intimacy in the marriage relationship can seem to suffer when our family is at its busiest. It is just hard to find time to strengthen love and marriage when we are busy running to scouts, soccer, piano lessons and family events and are exhausted at the end of the day or a week.
Many years ago, I worked with a marriage and family therapist that suggested a great way to make the time to build intimacy in a marriage relationship. If you had asked me back before my exposure to this therapist how to build intimacy, I think I would have suggested a long weekend away with a nice dinner out, a bed and breakfast with a large jetted tub and a soft bed, and lots of rose petals. But intimacy and romance are not at all the same thing. Romance works when there is a sense of emotional intimacy; and, conversely, it doesn’t work without it.
So, my therapist friend suggested that a couple who wants to build intimacy should about the things that matter most. He suggested setting aside some time each week when the couple could be and that they ask each other questions that would help build emotional intimacy when the questions were answered. I have to admit that I was skeptical at first, especially when I saw the list of questions.
But the more I tried the exercise, the greater the results I saw in the marriages with which I worked.
I’m not entirely sure where the list came from, but I have seen some similar lists online from time to time. But, with a couple of additions from my own experience, here is the list of questions, the answers to which and the process of the discussion lead to greater intimacy in a couple.
If you could choose anyone in the world, living or dead, to have in our home as a dinner guest, who would you choose?
If you could choose the things to do that would make a perfect day, what would you choose?
If you had a crystal ball that could tell you anything at all about your life that you don’t already know, what would you ask it to tell you?
What is your favorite memory about your growing-up years?
What are the ten most important things on your personal bucket list?
When did you last cry about something and what did you cry about?
If you could wake up tomorrow morning with one new skill or ability, which skill or ability do you wish it would be?
What is something that you would like to try, but that you are too scared to try?
If all of your friends were asked to describe you, which friend’s description would be the most accurate and why?
What was your favorite book (or movie) as a child and why did you like it so much?
What is the one thing about yourself that you would most like to change?
What would be your dream vacation?
What was your favorite place to go as a child and why did you love it there?
If you could be any character in a book, who would you choose to be?
If all of a sudden you knew that you had 6 weeks left to live, what would you want to do in the time you had left?
What three things in your life could you not imagine doing without?
Assume that your house is on fire and that your family members and pets are safe. What things would you want to rescue from the fire and why?
If someone gave you enough money to start a business - no strings attached - what kind of business would you want to start?
What are the five things that you are most thankful for right now?
If you could possess one artistic talent (painting, sculpture, writing, etc.), which talent would you choose?
What is one of the most adventurous things you have ever done?
If you could have been an eyewitness to any event in history, which one would you choose?
What do you like most about your appearance?
Over the last five years, how do you think you have changed?
If you could take a year-long paid sabbatical, what would you do?