Peter Pearson

Do you remember the game “Twenty Questions?” You could ask twenty questions to identify what thing the other person was thinking about.

Here’s a variation on that, for your next dinner date or when you have some spare time. Using the questions below, you can find out a little more about your partner and vice versa. These questions will help you go a little deeper than discussing work, kids, vacations, or sports.

Interestingly these are the kinds of questions couples often ask each other in the early stage of a relationship. But as time hurtles forward, these great questions get neglected and then abandoned.

For an interesting and stimulating conversation, try these questions to discover or rediscover who your partner is.

(If you’re having trouble even getting a conversation going with your partner,
click here for help
.)

The one quality to keep in mind for the questions below is to treat the responses with respect. Try not to argue or negatively judge any of the responses. Be like a compassionate reporter who is writing an interesting story.

Here is what you can ask your partner (or that your partner can ask you) – you can even test how you each think the other would answer the question first:

1. If you could change only one thing in your life, what would that be and why?

2. In a regular day, what do you find yourself thinking about the most?

3. If you could write a song about your life, what type of music would you use?

4. What things in your life bring you the greatest pleasure?

5. What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment in your life? Did other people help to make that happen?

6. In what settings are you the happiest / eager / most comfortable?

7. What things do you look forward to each day? In your life?

8. If you had three wishes that would come true, what would they be?

9. What other things would you want to change now, and why?

10. What major regret do you have so far in your life? Is it too late to change it?

11. What would be my ideal romantic date?

12. Is there a belief or attitude that seems to interfere with creating or pursuing a big dream?

13. What are a couple of things that you appreciate about our relationship and why do these things seem significant?

14. In what situations do you feel most afraid or insecure?

15. What would you like to do outdoors that you have not done before? Are there any extreme sports that you’d like to try?

16. What country would you like to visit that you haven’t visited yet?

17. What family member did you most admire when you were a child?

18. What activities did your mother/father do that you most wish he’d taught you?

19. What do you most wish you’d learned from your mother/father?

20. Name 3 things that most excite your imagination when you imagine doing them?

21. What question about our money or future spending do you find hard to ask?

22. What are your favorite things to spend money on?

23. Who are you most envious of?

 

For the brave ones of you, enter your name and email address here to see 10 more questions that get a little more personal, and to find a printable version of all the questions:

I think it is hard to love someone or something if you don’t have some emotional understanding or feel for it. You also can’t love something you didn’t know existed.

I hope you find this voyage of discovery satisfying.

Keep stretching and growing,

Peter Pearson

(Note, you can opt in above for a printable version of these, bookmark this page on your computer or smartphone, or even email these to yourself here.)

P.S. Do you have a question to add to the list? Please note it in the comment section below.

 

Relevant Articles:

The Hidden Cost of Too Much Compromise in Your Relationship

Get the Most Out Of Couples Therapy

About 

Peter Pearson, Ph.D., Relationship & Teamwork Expert for Entrepreneur Couples

Pete has been training and coaching couples to become a strong team since 1984 when he co-founded The Couples Institute with his psychologist wife, Ellyn Bader.

Their popular book, “Tell Me No Lies,” is about being honest with compassion and growing stronger as a couple.

Pete has been featured on over 50 radio and television programs including “The Today Show,” "Good Morning America,” and "CBS Early Morning News,” and quoted in major publications including “The New York Times,” “Oprah Magazine,” “Redbook,” “Cosmopolitan,” and “Business Insider.”


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Ellen
8 years ago

These are excellent questions for both newly dating partners and couples who have been together for years. I will share these with the couples I see for therapy. Thank you!

Angelika
7 years ago

Good questions! But I would always emphasise the importance to NOT go for sore spots, hidden/shameful secrets and old hurts… especially not, when you are on a dinner date;)

margot maurer
7 years ago

I too am a family/ couples’ therapist, a consultant, a gerontologist, a professional mediator, an executive coach, a mother and a daughter. I always wear many different hats as do the two of you. I used to be able to ask these types of questions to my husband. i knew it was time to leave when he became elusive , rather than transparent in his responses.

What do the two of you think about this type of response, frequently given by some spouses. I think it means they are frightened about digging deeper and with intimacy issues.

Dr. Alexander Kazan
7 years ago

I like the list of 20 questions. Of course I’d make sure my clients will only be taking two or three of these to the dinner table, or the date would turn into an interview. The additional questions are a little out there for a normal everyday couple. I’m not sure if the dinner table at a restaurant would be the right place for these kind of questions, perhaps I’d save them for the bedroom talk. Over all very good ideas here. Thank you for getting the list together.

Ellyn
Ellyn
7 years ago

Margot-
Good question you ask and one I am sure you realize depends on the couple/context. Elusiveness is especially common when an affair is happening or when a partner has something to hide. It may also occur with someone who feels very insecure or unable to articulate their internal process and desires.
Thanks for commenting.

Peter Pearson
7 years ago

Glad you appreciate the questions. Please think about them as guides to create your own questions for yourself or couples you work with. Obviously this is not an exhaustive list – I just want to get the conversational ball rolling for couples who have been or felt disconnected.

Bryan
6 years ago

Elusiveness is something am disturbed about when having this kind of discussion with girlfriend. For me am open and wouldn’t mind talking about some past hurts and secrets but I find that each time I bring them, my girlfriend starts getting too tired or suddenly remembers that she has something to do.

I find that very frustrating and I wonder if she is in the relationship for real. Though we are not married but I think if it comes to making a decision about that, I will always have second thoughts.

Peter Pearson
Peter Pearson
6 years ago

Hi Bryan – The 20 questions exercise is designed to explore each other’s ideas in a (hopefully) safe way. This exercise is not designed to discuss past hurts and secrets —

past hurts and secrets are good to discuss if they are thought to influence the relationship in its present form

Timo
Timo
4 years ago

I tried these with my girlfriend and they were a lot of fun.. Cheers 🙂

Pete
Pete
4 years ago

Timo – thanks for the feedback and your willingness to experiment – ongoing experimenting is one way to keep relationships feeling alive

Mr. Mohale
Mr. Mohale
4 years ago

tried this with my wife, it is so exciting to see her stumbling in some questions

Pete Pearson
Pete Pearson
4 years ago

Mr Mohale – glad it triggered excitement. Stay curious and open to discovery.
Good luck on this endeavor.

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2 years ago

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Laura
Laura
2 years ago

A new Question: “what do you love mostly about your partner?”

Kiona Dawghoused
Kiona Dawghoused
2 years ago

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Whitney Houghen
Whitney Houghen
2 years ago

wow I love these questions for couples. I have been married for over a year now and I have been thinking of a way to bond with my husband. This will come in handy when we have our date night

Olga
1 year ago

Hello, every time i used to check webpage posts here in the early
hours in the morning, since i enjoy to gain knowledge
of more and more.

Brahmleen
Brahmleen
1 year ago

I like someone also. But that person does not know that I like him? So what can I do. If you have any ideas please tell me.

Kirby
1 year ago

Thanks to my father who told me about this web site, this webpage is in fact amazing.

Christy
1 year ago

Hi there to all, because I am genuinely keen of reading this blog’s post to be updated daily.
It includes pleasant data.

Elena Leblanc
Elena Leblanc
1 year ago

These a really good questions, great. We enjoyed it. It is a little bit like groozers we also liked a lot.

Victor
Victor
10 months ago

My partner and I live in different cities working. We are having trust issues and she is asking for a break up. We have a child together so i want to marry her early next year 2021. Now she told me she is not ready yet for me to go and see her parents. What should I do ?

Charles
Charles
4 months ago
Reply to  Victor

Yo, man. Just do what she says. I learnt a lady likes to be listened to. Man, just listen to her.

kylie
kylie
8 months ago

what’s something you want to try but dont want to be judged for in the bedroom

A Glossary of Terms that are sometimes Confusing

Couples Therapy is a counseling procedure that seeks to improve the adjustment of two people who have created an interdependent relationship. There are no standard procedures to help two people improve their adjustments to each other. Generally, a more experienced therapist will offer more perspectives and tools to a couple. Length of treatment will depend on severity of problems, motivation and skills of the therapist. A couple can be dating, living together, married or separating and may be gay, lesbian or heterosexual.

Marriage Therapy is a term often used interchangeably with marriage counseling. The term marriage implies two people have created a union sanctioned by a government or religious institution. The methods used in marriage counseling, marriage therapy and couples therapy are interchangeable and depend more on the specific challenges of each unique couple.

Psychotherapy is one or more processes to help improve psychological and emotional functioning. Examples are psychoanalysis, cognitive therapy, behavior therapy, Gestalt therapy, Transactional Analysis, Rational-Emotive therapy, or group therapy. Many forms of psychotherapy are blends of different approaches. For example, newer forms of psychotherapy called energy psychology draw upon recent advances in brain and neuroscience. These approaches often build on cognitive behavioral methods.

Clinical Psychologist. After graduating from college, it usually takes about five years of graduate school to get a Ph.D. in Psycholgy. It then requires an additional two years of supervision and passing a written (and often) an oral exam. There are a few states that allow psychologists to prescribe medications (with additional training) but that is uncommon.

Psychiatrist. After graduation from medical school, there is a generally a 4-year psychiatric residency. After the completion of this training, psychiatrists must pass an exam issued by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology to obtain certification and legally practice in the field. Psychiatrists can prescribe medications.

Clinical Social Worker. This profession usually requires two years of study after obtaining an undergraduate degree. While specific licensure requirements vary by state, most require clinical social workers to obtain 3,000 hours or 2 years of supervised clinical experience, after obtaining a Masters degree. Social workers can also specialize in diverse fields such as human services management, social welfare analysis, community organizing, social and community development, and social and political research.

Marriage and Family Therapist. Obtaining this license requires a Masters degree which takes approximately two years of post graduate study. The license also requires 3000 hours of supervised work and passing written exams.

The Couples Institute. We have assembled a group of top notch therapists at The Couples Institute. Whatever marriage help or marriage advice you are looking for, we are here to serve you. While most other therapists see only a few couples a week, we specialize in marriage and couples relationships, working to develop and bring you the most current and effective approaches to couples therapy. For more information about couples therapy or marriage counseling, see our couples therapy section.