Seeking Clarity About Your Relationship? Asking Yourself These 40 Questions Can Help
“Sometimes questions are more important than answers.” — Nancy Willard
One of the most valuable life lessons I learned was from my grandmother. She taught me the importance of staying curious and asking questions.
When I was growing up, she would often look at me with her warm, almond-colored eyes and say, “The best way to learn, to gain clarity is to ask questions. Never be afraid of asking questions.”
As a middle-aged adult today, the truth of her wisdom continues to prove itself. The beauty of questioning is it is one of the surest paths to enlightenment. It stimulates an unquenchable thirst for understanding. It encourages us to be more proactive in our lives.
Questioning also provides us with valuable perspective into every area of life, including our relationships.
When I was in college, I could only afford to visit my family during summer and Christmas breaks. While I was at home, I particularly enjoyed spending time with one close friend. We had known each other since junior high school and I considered her the younger sister I never had.
During the beginning of my sophomore year in college, my friend contacted me and revealed she had romantic feelings for me and wanted us to start dating.
I was completely caught off guard. I had no idea she felt this way. Sensing my dismay, she asked that I think about it, and we would talk when I saw her that Christmas.
For the remainder of the semester, I agonized over what I should do. One night, my grandmother’s wisdom began echoing in my mind. I needed to honestly ask myself: How did I feel and what did I want?
By being still and questioning myself, I gained access to my inner voice I was drowning out in my panic. I came to realize while I did love my friend, my feelings toward her were purely platonic. Pursuing a romantic relationship primarily out of fear of losing her would have been unfair to both of us, and would have caused us to live a lie.
That Christmas was very difficult. When I told her how I truly felt, she was understandably hurt. However, our friendship survived because we both realized we cared enough to be brutally honest with each other, and that is rare.
To this day, I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I didn’t heed grandmother’s wisdom by questioning my true feelings and had, instead, reacted out of fear.
If you are seeking clarity about a relationship, let me assure you the answers you seek are within you. However, fear and denial may be muffling the truth.
An effective way to cut through fear and doubt is to gather your courage and ask yourself some very important — and yes, difficult — questions.
The following 40 questions can help provide you with more clarity about your relationship — if you are open and honest with yourself. Please keep in mind there are no incorrect answers, just insightful ones:
- Do you completely trust your partner?
- Do you feel your partner completely trusts you?
- When was the most recent time you told each other “I love you?”
- Are you satisfied with your sex life?
- Does your partner make you laugh?
- How often do you laugh together?
- Do you feel you have made personal sacrifices for your relationship?
- When you think of your partner, what feelings come forward?
- Do you feel threatened when your partner is found attractive by others?
- When was the last time you held each other close outside of a sexual context?
- Do you believe your partner is your biggest advocate?
- What did you do today to express your love?
- Do you know your partner’s views on finances?
- How do you feel about your partner’s views on finances?
- Do you enjoy spending time with your partner’s relatives and friends?
- How do your closest friends and family feel about your partner?
- Are past resentments dredged up during arguments?
- How do you feel when your partner returns home after being away for an extended period?
- Do you consider your partner your best friend?
- Is there a secret you are keeping you feel that if your partner knew, you would lose them?
- Do you feel accepted by your partner?
- When did you realize you had fallen in love?
- Do you think you have seen each other at your best and worst?
- Would you ever consider having an affair?
- When was the last time you discussed your future together?
- Are you excited about your future together?
- Have you discussed having children and your views on child rearing?
- When was the last time you held hands?
- Do you feel your relationship is a true partnership?
- When was your last romantic outing?
- If different, do you both respect each other’s spiritual beliefs?
- Do you feel you both are supportive of each other’s personal and professional goals?
- What is your happiest memory of your time together so far? Your worst?
- What is a relationship deal breaker for you?
- How do you envision your relationship five years from now?
- How do you feel about the last, heart-to-heart conversation you and your partner had?
- When you think of life without your partner, how does it make you feel?
- Do you feel seen and heard in your relationship?
- When you think of your partner, what descriptors immediately come to mind?
- Are you kind to each other?
Part of what makes us uniquely human is our ability to ask questions — not only about the world around us, but also of ourselves. It is the way we make course corrections in our lives, explore new possibilities, create new opportunities, shake up the status quo, and learn to be more grateful.
If you are seeking clarity about your relationship, the best source of insight is from within. You just need to be unafraid to probe deep and start questioning— then trust in yourself and the answers you uncover.