When you finally get the chance to reunite and reconnect with your partner at the end of the day, what do you say?
“How was your day?”
There’s definitely nothing wrong with this question! It shows you’re interested in each other’s daily lives and can be a great way to start a more in-depth conversation. But when you both start asking the question mindlessly and responding with one-word answers, it might be time to say hey, we can do better!
Therapists and researchers John Gottman and Bill Doherty both believe that “rituals of connection” are an important tool in nurturing successful relationships. Create a daily ritual where you intentionally reconnect each evening, whether it’s over dinner or after the kids are in bed.
To get you started, here are five questions to ask instead of “How was your day?”
- What made you laugh out loud today?
This might sound like a silly question, but more than likely it will lead to sharing a story, whether it’s to provide context or explain what happened. Out of this you might learn more about your partner, increasing your connection.
- If your day was a meal/song/color, what would it be and why?
Here’s another question you can have fun with, but that can actually give you insight into the flow of each other’s day
- What gave you a sense of accomplishment today?
Sure, you might find out about a big work project or the third day in a row of hitting their step goal, but the conversation might take a deeper dive as well. Maybe they don’t know how to answer because they’ve been struggling with balancing work and home responsibilities, and that’s okay. The goal is to have a more meaningful conversation or at the very least give yourselves the opportunity for one.
- How would you like today to end?
Maybe their day was so busy they didn’t have a spare moment to catch their breath, and now all they need is some quiet time to relax. Maybe it was a bad day and they just want leave it all behind them and play games with the kids. Either way, it gives them an opportunity to tell you exactly what they need – and an opportunity for you to help make it happen.
- What did you learn today?
Sure, this might sound more like something you’d ask your kids after school, but hey, we adults learn new things, too! Maybe it’s an interesting factoid from that new podcast they’re listening to. Or perhaps they learned they shouldn’t stay up so late reading (they were dragging today) or to always make sure the blender cover is on tight. Whatever it is, you can hopefully also learn something new about each other.
When we reunite with our partner at the end of a long day, it’s easy to let mundanity creep in. But research shows that intention around creating and engaging in rituals of connection has a profound impact on the quality of your relationship. We think it’s worth the effort.
Want to keep the conversations going?
Check out our Discussion Guide for Couples. It’s a great addition to your date night or daily check in, and it makes a great gift as well!