With constant demands for our time and numerous responsibilities that need our attention, it can often be hard for couples to connect meaningfully in the day-to-day.
Our Marriage Support Manager, Jess Hills, shares the five simple questions that have allowed her and her husband to intentionally connect every day.
Back in February 2020 when COVID-19 was unknown and the word ‘lockdown’ had not yet entered our vocabulary, my husband and I embarked on a journey that became more significant than we could ever have imagined.
Between us we were holding down two full-time jobs, a part-time degree and leadership roles in our local church whilst also trying to make time for each other, our families and our friends. We noticed that life had become so busy that we weren’t taking the time that we felt we should to truly connect on a daily basis. Regular date nights were great and we valued and still value them hugely. But for us, we wanted to make sure that we were intentionally connecting on a daily basis, even if only for 10 minutes. And that desire to regularly and consistently check in with each other led to the conception of ‘the five questions’.
So what are these questions and why do we ask them?
How are you feeling physically today on a scale of one to ten?
This question allows us to understand how the other is feeling when it comes to their physical health. It may be that whilst we haven’t been feeling unwell enough during the day to let our partner know at the time, we may well feel a little under the weather. Knowing that gives us not only an insight into how our partner is feeling, but also the opportunity to comfort and support them. This question has also helped us to track progress and flare-ups in seasons of chronic illness and given us space to support each other intentionally.
How are you feeling emotionally today on a scale of one to ten?
Similar to the previous question, the way that we’re feeling or the day that we’ve had may not seem significant enough to tell our partner about in the moment, but that doesn’t mean to say that our mental health is not important. Asking this question gives each of us the space and time to open up and be vulnerable with one another. However, the purpose of this question is not to rush in like a superhero and try to solve any problems, it’s simply to be a listening ear and a supportive voice. We don’t need to have all the answers. To be seen and to be heard is very powerful.
What are three things that you’re grateful for today?
No matter how big or small, there is always something to be grateful for. Neuroscientists have found that gratitude can actually change and rewire our brains. Gratitude reduces pain, improves sleep, helps stress and even helps build relationships. In listing three things that we’re grateful for every day, we have become more resilient when we face challenges, have increased our happiness and have found that we now focus on what we have, not what we don’t have.
What went well today?
On overwhelming days it can feel like nothing has gone well. This question helps us to see that there is always something that went well. Our answers have ranged from a phone call with a friend to receiving some positive feedback in work and from enjoying a long car journey to being given good news from a doctor. However bad a day has seemed, more often than not we can find at least one small thing that went well.
What have you done today that you’re proud of?
Some of us find it easy to be proud of ourselves and others find it more challenging to recognise our achievements. Whether it’s celebrating a job promotion, that we didn’t put off a difficult conversation we needed to have or that we chose to cook a meal at home when it felt like the local takeaway was calling our name, finding something to be proud of every day helps us to recognise the small wins as well as the big. It also increases our confidence and helps us to grow as individuals and as a couple.
So there we have it, five simple questions that have a huge impact. Having discussed these questions every day, 18 months on neither of us feels able to go to bed without completing them! This is not because we feel forced to do them, but because we have seen such benefits in our marriage and enjoy doing them so much that on the days when we’ve not been able to do them, it has felt incredibly strange. Whilst these questions won’t be something that every couple finds helpful, for us it was a game changer and we hope that it could be for you too.
It’s not always easy to communicate well and we will all find ourselves in seasons of life where communication is a challenge. Take a look at this article for more about communication.
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