The puppy love stage of a relationship is exciting. You’re constantly on each other’s minds. You hang out non-stop. Emotions are flying. The sex is great.
But, inevitably, you become comfortable with each other. You move out of the phase where everything is new and exciting and move into being able to be silent around each other and binging Netflix shows.
And while many couples swear they’ll never be the ones to lose that fiery connection they have, a lot do. Because, like a fire, the connection between two people needs to be cared for. You can’t assume it’ll burn by itself.
I say all the time that a healthy relationship doesn’t happen by accident; it happens with intention. The best couples are the ones who care for their relationship and put in the work to keep their fire burning.
And that starts with great communication; the happiest of couples know that they need to express their feelings, desires, and fears with their partner. And while that might seem scary or a bit awkward to start back up, several questions can make things easier.
“What do you need from me?”
Every single person has needs. You have needs. I have needs. But not everyone is great at expressing them; that, and sometimes your partner does express them, but you’re distracted or miss what they say.
That’s why the happiest couples often ask each other what they need from one another.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs explains that when people have certain needs met, they can be their happiest selves. The same rings true for your relationship throughout the span of its lifetime.
This simple question helps a lot of couples avoid things like resentment in their relationship. Simply asking what your partner needs can uncover the solution to both of you feeling more satisfied in your relationship.
“What do you need outside of the relationship?”
Staying on the topic of needs, not all of a person’s needs can be or should be met within a relationship. Healthy couples know that a thriving life outside of their relationship is better for their individual happiness.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a better understanding of where your partner’s head is at. Perhaps they miss going hiking with their friends, but your schedules have been so busy, they don’t have time. You can help carve out that time for them to get some fresh air with people they haven’t seen in a while.
It’s healthy for your partner to look for certain needs to be met by other people. Accepting and supporting that will help your partner feel fulfilled.
“How do you feel about the relationship?”
Once a week, my boyfriend and I check in with each other. I like to think of it as both of us taking inventory of our relationship. Whatever is on our minds, we create the space and time for both of us to talk about things.
Because sometimes, issues are present in the relationship but, since there’s no specific incident that brought them up, the time never seems right to talk about them. Asking your partner this question can solve that.
Decide on whatever frequency works for you, or simply bring this question up at random times. But let your partner know what your intentions are for asking it. Let them know that time is for issues to be brought up without judgment.
“What’re ways we can improve our sex life?”
Sex can be one of the most vulnerable aspects of a relationship. People place so much emphasis on having thriving sex lives; if theirs doesn't compare to what they think is ideal, they think the relationship is failing.
So it’s worth having two conversations with your partner. The first is asking them what an ideal sex life looks like to them. Because I’d always assumed three times a week was what I wanted, but when my boyfriend and I thought about it, we were happier with once a week.
The second is to ask them how things can be improved. Maybe your partner wants more foreplay. Perhaps they’ve been considering a fantasy that they want to try with you. Maybe people think sex inevitably gets stale, but I’d argue it’s the communication that becomes stale.
“What’re your biggest goals and dreams right now?”
Think about the person you were five years ago. Now think about who you were a year ago. Compare those people to who you are today. Chances are, you’re a much different person now than you were then.
The same goes for your partner.
People constantly grow and change throughout their lives. With that growth, their dreams and goals change, too. The happiest of couples stay on the same page of what those are for each other and help support one another.
Because people who achieve their goals and chase their dreams are the happiest, it’s one of the best parts of living.
“How are you feeling today?”
This seems like a simple question, but when was the last time you asked your partner how they’re feeling with a genuine interest in hearing more than just “I’m ok.” Yes, it’s up to your partner to express their emotions, but it can’t hurt to create space for them to open up by asking.
Everyday stress can take a toll on couples, even if the stress doesn’t stem from the relationship. Checking in with each other helps couples not only connect but vent about whatever is going on at work or in their personal life.
Communication will always be the key to improving your relationship. You can’t know what’s wrong or how your partner needs to be supported unless you both talk about it.
That’s why the happiest of couples ask each other these questions often. Because they don’t have one-and-done answers, you and your partner will have different responses all throughout your life.