February 6, 2014

Conversation Starters for Married Couples

Gary Thomas — 
photo: Corey Balazowich, Creative Commons

photo: Corey Balazowich, Creative Commons

Talking is one of the best ways to build intimacy as a couple. It is easy, however, to slip into “purposeless” talk or “utilitarian” talk (just going over what the kids are doing, what needs to be done around the house, etc.). That’s fine for many occasions, but to keep building intimacy, it’s helpful to initiate intentional conversation that leads to a greater understanding of each other.

Lisa and I have found that it’s sometimes helpful to let others initiate our conversation. We’ve been married for almost thirty years—we can fall into old patterns, and letting someone else set the agenda can help us get out of a rut. For our most recent vacation together as a couple, I copied the questions from Ted Cunningham’s excellent (and highly recommended) new book entitled Fun Loving You. As Lisa and I drove around or sat at a restaurant, we’d pick up a group of questions and go through them. Some we laughed at and didn’t answer (that’s not a knock on Ted’s book in any way; it’s just that every couple has their own style of relating and any suggestion of date night ideas or conversation starters is going to be very personal, with some working and some not).

Now that Lisa and I are empty nesters, we can be alone together all day (especially on vacation). So it can be helpful to have someone else spark some new thoughts, and Ted’s book provides many good and thoughtful questions (and all the chapters are well worth reading). It’s just as helpful, though, for young couples who haven’t been married so long to use other’s questions so their conversations don’t always fade off into talk about the kids.

Les and Leslie Parrott wrote Love Talk Starters a decade ago, which contains 275 questions for couples, so you might want to check out that book, too.

A writer recently asked me to provide some questions designed especially for younger parents who are finally getting out on a date night. Here’s what I gave her:

Let’s imagine our kids are grown and going through premarital counseling. The counselor asks them to describe their parents’ marriage. What do we want them to say? What can we begin doing now to create a marriage that is just like that?

If money wasn’t an issue, what would be your dream vacation in the next ten years, with the kids? Without the kids?

What is the single most frustrating thing about your life right now?

If you could have an “ideal day off” (within our budget), what would it be?

Are we in the best church situation for our marriage? For our kids? What are the strengths of our church? Where is the best area to invest in our church family during this season of our lives?

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:1 to “eagerly desire spiritual gifts.” Have you ever thought about this? What gift(s) do you think you have? What gift(s) would you like to have?

What part of your day do you most look forward to?

What makes you feel closest to me as your spouse?

You might laugh off some of these questions, but there may be a couple you can use. Any one care to offer some other suggestions for fruitful questions? Just hit “reply” on this post and let all the readers of this blog benefit.

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