When was the last time you had a conversation with someone who made you feel connected to them? Have you recently opened up to your own partner about your own feelings and desires?

We know that good communication is key to have a deeper connection with your partner. However, being caught up in day-to-day activities such as dealing with the kids, managing the household and holding a job can leave you worn-out.

Your daily conversations tend to revolve around these activities and you may not find the time to engage in deeper conversations that allow you and your partner to connect. However, research suggests that having meaningful conversations with your partner could very well determine if your marriage will last. If you’re serious about your marriage, it is time to intentionally make these conversations happen…

Here are 3 key tips on having meaningful conversations

1. Ask Open-ended Questions

Having a deeper conversation would mean allowing your partner to express themselves more freely. Asking open-ended questions allow them to share their opinions and feelings, rather than just giving a simple yes / no response to questions starting with “Do/Did”.

For example, the question: “Did you have a good day?” often elicit a yes/no response. Instead you could reframe the question to “How did your colleagues react to your new proposal?”

2. Be A Good Listener; Empathise With Your Partner Without Judging

The key to having a good conversation is the ability to listen to your partner and understand their point of view. Don’t think about responding to what they are saying while they are speaking. Don’t be too quick to judge. Give them time to share their feelings and experiences without jumping in with your opinions immediately.

Listen intently and try to understand where they are coming from. Figure out how they are feeling and empathise with them. For example, you can say “It must be really frustrating for you to face this issue…”.

3. Prioritise These Conversations

Schedule these conversations in your diary if you have to. Perhaps make this a weekly routine. 15 minutes before you sleep or have such conversations when you go on a weekend walk together. Without such conversations, you may start to drift apart and find it harder to connect with your partner over time. If you feel like you have already drifted apart, it is never too late to re-connect.

For couples who need a little help on how to get started on connecting on a deeper level, here are some conversation starters to get you going.

• My favourite memory of us was when…(both parties to share)
• Shall we do something different this year for New Year/your mom’s birthday/our kid’s birthday?
• What do you think about…? (E.g. a movie plot, a teacher’s remark about your child’s performance, your plans for the weekend / holiday)
• In what ways do you feel happy/unhappy with our relationship?
• What are your current challenges at work?
• How do you think we are doing as parents?
• What are your hopes and fears about our child?
• What do you find exciting in life right now?
• What do you need right now in a friend?
• What is one thing you would like to change?

The more you talk with your partner, the more you learn about them. You will also have an easier time broaching bigger issues when they surface. Connecting on a deeper level also builds trust and reaffirms your commitment to the relationship.

"I Still Do" 2019

"I Still Do" is back to celebrate a lifetime commitment of love and marriage. The road to a long lasting marriage may have its ups and downs, but the promise to never give up on each other is everlasting. Click here for more "I Still Do" tips and couples' events to spark joy in your marriage!