How to
Learn How to Capture Your Spouses Attention,
Develop Intimate Communication and
Deepen Your Relationship With These Powerful
Thought Provoking Questions
How to Connect Emotionally
How to Connect Emotionally:
——————— • ———————
Learn How to Capture Your Spouse’s Attention,
Develop Intimate Communication, and
Deepen Your Relationship with these
Thought-Provoking Questions
Dr. Frank Gunzburg
Copyright © 2010 Breakthrough Learning Institute LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this book or any part of
this system, including, but not limited to, interior design, cover design and icons, may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, by any means, (electronic, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written
permission of the publisher.
s you know, deepening your emotional
connection is one of the key elements to
healing your marriage and building it into the
wonderful relationship you want it to be. In Saving
Your Marriage Made Remarkably Simple, I gave you
some powerful communication techniques that will
help you improve your skills in this area and renew
the emotional connection between you.
But knowing how to start conversations can be
difficult. Some people get hung up because they don’t
know what questions to ask. In cases like this, you
may desperately want to deepen your connection, but
you just can’t figure out how to begin.
For that reason I compiled the following
conversation starters to help you open up the lines
of communication in your marriage. Each of the
questions in this guide will help you deepen your
connection with your partner and learn information
about him or her that you may never have known.
As I say, these are just conversation starters. You
should use them as a jumping off point to have
as many intimate and interesting discussions as
you would wish about the issues covered in this
guide. Use the communication tools in the book in
conjunction with these exercises to dig in and truly
deepen your understanding of your partner.
When you do this, you connect in new and fresh ways
… no matter how long you have been married.
1. A. What do you like best about our
B. What would you like to change?
As you know, relationships are a work in progress. It’s
important to know what you are doing right and what
you are doing wrong.
Exploring what areas in your relationship need work
is an important step to rebuilding your marriage. Can
you manage to have this conversation without being
accusatory or defensive? Use the information you
gain as a way to start improving certain areas in your
2. In what ways can I make your life easier
or more comfortable?
We all have needs. This question will help you
discover areas in your spouse's life that you can make
more comfortable. It could be as simple as setting the
coffee maker for your spouse when he gets up early
in the morning or giving the kids a bath once or twice
a week. Regardless of the situation, what matters
is what is important to your spouse. Asking this
question is not a promise to do anything about it, but
it does invite the idea that you might make changes to
accommodate your spouse in some areas.
3. A. How well do you think I handle myself
in a crisis?
B. How well do you think you handle
yourself in a crisis?
At times, we need to ask questions to help us
understand how our actions affect the people around
us. People want to feel safe and secure. If we do things
that make them feel insecure, then it is important that
we do not hide from that fact.
4. A. How do you think I manage problems
in our relationship?
B. How do you think you manage
problems in our relationship?
All relationships face problems from time to time.
And, of course, you need to address these problems.
This question opens the path for feedback about your
general style of managing problems.
5. A. What do you suggest I do to enjoy life
B. What do you think you could do to
enjoy life more?
Yes, we can take life too seriously. As you know
from the book, having fun, enjoying your life, and
enjoying your relationship are actually powerful ways
to help your relationship thrive. People in healthy
relationships typically go on dates together on a
regular basis. Take time to discover shared likes that
you and your spouse can do together.
How to Connect Emotionally
6. A. What do you suggest I do to relax and
enjoy our relationship more?
B. What do you think you could do to
relax and enjoy our relationship more?
This question, like the one above, is about learning
how to unwind and enjoy the time you spend with
one another. Spend the time you need to figure
out ways that you and your partner can enjoy your
marriage more deeply.
7. A. Is there any topic about which you
wish I would speak more openly and
B. Are there any topics that you would like
to speak about more openly and freely?
Relationships should be safe and open. Too many
individuals have “don’t go there” signs posted all over
the place. Emotionally shutting out your spouse is
not only painful, it also prohibits you from having a
fully intimate marriage. As you know at this point, it
is my opinion that the lines of communication in a
fully intimate marriage need to be open. Take a leap of
faith, and start sharing with your spouse.
8. What are some things you truly appreciate
about our marriage?
Almost by necessity, there are parts of your
relationship or your spouse that you appreciate;
otherwise you would never have gotten married.
Discussing these helps you remember that there
are, indeed, good things in your relationship right
now and you reinforce the positive aspects of your
9. What differences do we have that you
think could potentially cause difficulties
in our relationship?
This discussion should create more material for you
to work on to create and protect your own wonderful
marriage for the future. If only one of you has the
issue, it still remains an issue for you as a couple.
10. A. Would you be pleased if I began to
develop my talents and interests
more, even if it took time away from
our relationship?
B. Would you want to develop your
talents and interests more, even if it
took away time from our relationship?
Healthy relationships take an investment of time to
grow and thrive. Dedicating time to your relationship
is a necessity if you are going to have a happy and
healthy relationship.
However, for many people it is also important to
spend time developing themselves, maintaining
their own hobbies, and developing new talents and
interests. This also takes time.
This question will help you begin thinking together
about how you might negotiate your time for the
immediate future in terms of the time you take for
yourself and the time you give to your relationship.
11. A. Do you believe that you can
occasionally tell how I am feeling
based on my body language? Which
emotions do you pick up from me
when I’m not speaking?
B. Do you believe that I am able to tell
how you are feeling based on your
body language occasionally? How
does this make you feel?
Over the course of a long-term marriage couples start
to know a lot about each other. This often happens
without words. One spouse might be able to tell
something about the way their partner feels based on
body language alone.
However, it is always important to clarify what your
partner thinks and feels. Don’t assume too much.
Allowing a person to express themselves is important
for both parties. This question will help you start a
conversation about how comfortable you are with
your current modes of unspoken communication, and
whether or not there is enough verbal clarification of
thoughts and feelings in your relationship.
How to Connect Emotionally
12. A. Do you believe I succeed in
my relationships with people?
What relationships in my life
are particularly strong? What
relationships could use some work?
B. Do you believe that you succeed in
your relationships withother people?
What relationships in your life are
particularly strong? Which ones could
use some work?
A conversation that revolves around the nature of
your relationships with other people can reveal many
things. Use this conversation starter as a means to
investigate this issue with your spouse.
13. A. In what ways do you believe I can
help you become a better person?
B. What ways do you think you can help
me become a better person?
Working toward being the best person you can be is
one of the great challenges and joys of this life. As a
married couple you have the potential to help one
another become the best people you can be. Use this
conversation to see how you can start or continue that
14. What are your thoughts on the way
your parents raised you? What
would you do differently?
Understanding how you were raised can help you
determine how to raise your own children. It can also
be revealing in terms of the way you behave in your
marriage. Taking time to discuss any parenting goals
you might have and reflecting on the way you were
raised might impact your marriage.
15. Would you like a relationship similar to
your parents’ relationship, or one that is
drastically different?
to explore these issues.
16. A. How did your parents handle
B. Did they successfully resolve their
Conflict happens in marriages. And it can often
be difficult. The models of conflict and conflict
resolution you grew up with may influence you more
profoundly than you have previously considered. In
addition to following the conflict resolution program
in the book, take some time to consider the models of
conflict and conflict resolution you were raised with.
17. A. Were there aspects of your parents’
relationship you didn’t think were
B. What can we do to have a better
Most relationships (like everything else in life) have
their positive and negative sides. Whether or not your
parents had a wonderful relationship, or one that was
fraught with trouble, it may be that there were aspects
of their relationship that you could imagine improving
on. What are these? What do you have to your own
marriage to improve on these points?
18. A. Are you more similar to your mother
or your father?
B. In what ways do you resemble him or
C. What are you thoughts about your
Most people spend the first 17 or 18 years (at least)
under the purview of their parents or guardians.
These are foundational years, and they have an impact
on us that we carry for a lifetime. It can be very
revealing to discuss feelings about childhood with
your spouse.
This expands on question 16. Our parents, and
the relationship that was modeled to us by them,
has a powerful influence on our adult lives and
relationships. Use this question as a jumping off point
How to Connect Emotionally
19. What negative things have you learned
from observing how your family treats
one another?
24. A. How did your parents discipline you
when you misbehaved?
It may be that the behaviors modeled to you by your
family in your early life are reflected in ways that you
behave today. Some of the behaviors might not be
positive. Asking questions like this can start to unveil
some of the negative behaviors you picked up, and
may be a starting point for change.
The way your parents disciplined you may work as a
model for how you wish to discipline your children
or it may not. What’s more, certain forms of discipline
may have had an impact on how you think, feel, and
behave as an adult. Use this conversation starter to
analyze these issues.
20. What positive things have you learned
from your family?
25. Who is your closest friend? What do you
value most about your friendship?
By the same token there are likely positive behaviors
you picked up from your family. Analyzing the
positive is a good way to reinforce it.
21. What is the most important thing your
father taught you?
What you love and admire in other people reveals
a lot about who you are. Understanding why your
spouse considers certain friends special is a way to
understand him or her more deeply. It may also help
you respect their friends on a deeper level as well.
You learn powerful lessons from both of your parents.
This question and the following one are ways of
beginning to look at what lessons your parents taught
you as individuals and how these lessons affect your
current life.
26. Is there anyone you trust to give you an
honest evaluation when you go to them
with a problem? What is it about that
person that makes his or her evaluation
22. What is the most important thing your
mother taught you?
Understanding why your spouse trusts someone
may empower you to change your behavior so he
or she can trust you this way as well. In any event,
understanding why your spouse trusts someone else
is a special way to deepen your understanding of your
You learn powerful lessons from both of your parents.
This question and the previous one are ways of
beginning to look at what lessons your parents taught
you as individuals and how these lessons affect your
current life.
B. Do you agree with their methods?
23. Would you talk with me about people
you resent and why?
27. What is the best advice you have ever
received? What made this advice so
powerful for you?
Resentment is a powerful emotion. In some cases,
it has the power to block almost all other emotions
you feel toward a person or situation. What’s more,
resentment that goes unaddressed can, in some cases,
block productive change.
There are points in life where a little advice may be
pivotal. Learning what this is for your spouse can be
revealing. What’s more, asking the question may set
off a wave of thinking about this issue that turns into
many more conversation down the road.
Understanding your partner means understanding
as much of him or her as possible. This includes
the dark side. Having a conversation about past
resentments may help your spouse talk about other
feelings, also.
How to Connect Emotionally
28. A. How do you define a healthy
B. What do you want from our
Knowing what your spouse sees as a successful
relationship is an important step to building your
marriage into the healthy, happy relationship you have
always wanted. In a good relationship, both partners
get needs met and feel positive about their marriage.
Do not assume that you know what your spouse
wants. Asking your partner is the best way to uncover
what he or she wants so that you can start working
toward that in your relationship.
29. What is your greatest fear? Have you
ever told anyone before?
Intimacy often means becoming vulnerable. When
you share information about fears, you are revealing
yourself to your spouse in a vulnerable way.
Knowing each other's fears is not a weakness. It is
one way to deepen your understanding of each other.
If you use this conversation to really understand
each other better, it can help you become more
empathetic toward each other. Sharing fears is a great
start for building trust and renewing your emotional
30. What makes you feel secure and safe?
Building safety and security inside your marriage
is one of the hallmarks of a healthy relationship.
Nurture your spouse and your relationship by
understanding what he or she needs to feel safe and
secure and then work to provide that to the best of
your ability.
31. Has your definition of love changed over
time? How has it changed?
Ideas about love, expressions of love, and even
understanding what it means to love change over time
as your relationship grows and matures and as you
grow and mature. The passionate spark of young love
is a different thing than the rich, mature, love of a
relationship that is decades old.
Understanding what your partner thinks about love,
how he or she defines it, and how that has changed
over time can be very revealing.
32. A. Do you consider yourself a more
rational person, a more emotional
person, or a balance of both? What
do you base that on? How do you
think that impacts our relationship?
B. Do you consider me a more rational
person, a more emotional person,
or a balance of both? What do you
base that on? How do you think that
impacts our relationship?
Everyone is both rational and emotional. We all have
both of these sides in us. However, some people make
decisions, think, and react based more on emotion.
Others are more oriented toward their rational side.
Some people consider themselves to be a good
balance of both.
Talk about where you each fall on this scale and what
it means for your relationship.
33. A. Tell me one of your goals for the
future. What do you need to do to
reach this goal?
B. What do you need me to do for you or
for us to reach this goal?
Encourage your partner in his or her goals if you can;
it will help your spouse feel supported and loved.
34. Describe your dream house. Would you
rather build a house or buy one?
Do not be afraid to dream together. Setting goals and
plans can be stimulating and encouraging. Write
down shared goals for the future and how you will
achieve those goals. Start with the house of your
dreams. Then you can expand out and dream about
whatever else you would like to achieve together as a
How to Connect Emotionally
35. What is your dream job? Do you think
you can obtain that job?
40. What dreams do you have for your
Your spouse may have many aspirations about which
he or she has never told you. Strive to discover your
spouse's dreams. Encourage your partner to go after
those dreams, if you can.
If you have children or you are planning to have
children, this question can be an interesting one.
Everyone wants to give his or her children a good
life. Talking about your dreams for your kids not
only helps you plan for them, it also helps you plan
for the kind of relationship you want to have with
your spouse and the kind of family you want to build
36. How many children do you want?
If you don’t already have children, having a discussion
about what kind of plans or dreams you have for
a family is fun and revealing. The answer to this
question may change over time and with changing
circumstances, but talking about having children and
the size of your family can be an exciting topic to
37. If we had to make a New Year’s
resolution today for us, for our
relationship, or for our family, what
would you want that resolution to be?
Agree to make goals together and stick to them. It is
easier to accomplish things when two people agree to
work toward the goals.
38. If you were given $100,000 what would
you want to do with the money? What if
it were $1,000,000?
Your spouse's knowledge and interests might surprise
you. Would you spend or invest? Invest in what?
Investing is fun and exciting because it represents
planning for the future. Money can be a sore subject
in many relationships, so use patience when working
through the issues and developing a plan.
39. A. What kind of car matches your
personality? How is that a fit?
B. What kind of car do you think
matches my personality?
How is that a fit?
This is a silly question, but it is fun. For a good date
to match this question, go and test-drive the car.
41. A. What is the best or one of the best
books you have ever read? What
particularly do you like about that
B. What is your favorite movie? What
particularly do you like about that
If you don’t already know the answers to these
questions and others like them, it’s a great way to gain
new knowledge about your partner. Your likes and
dislikes define who you are on some level. Finding
out this information from your spouse and sharing the
same information about yourself can help you deepen
your connection.
42. Do you prefer small gatherings or large
parties? Are you better one-on-one, or
do you feel more comfortable in a large
group? Which do you prefer?
Knowing when your spouse is most comfortable
will make it easier to plan your social life together. If
your partner is not comfortable at large gatherings,
then you know this is an area where you need to
be particularly sensitive. On the other hand, if your
spouse is self-conscious in an intimate, one-on-one
setting, you will know that you should be more
sensitive during these times.
43. What is the most important life lesson
you have learned so far? How did
you learn it? What makes this lesson
important to you?
Life is full of lessons. Learning these lessons is the
How to Connect Emotionally
way we grow. Finding out about some of the most
important lessons life has taught your partner is a
great way to deepen your knowledge about him or
her. What’s more, you might learn something yourself
in the exchange.
44. What do you hope to accomplish before
you die?
We only live this life once. And most of us have a
lot of dreams about what we want to accomplish in
that time. Learning what this is for your partner not
only reveals something about his or her character,
it gives you the opportunity to support your spouse
and help him or her to accomplish their life goals, if
appropriate. You only live once, make it all it can be.
45. What was the best day of your life, so
far? What was so special about it, and
why did it affect you so deeply? Describe
it to me.
This is another question that allows you to
understand your partner on a more intimate level and
helps you understand something about your partner’s
character. What’s more, once you understand the
quality of the special events in your partner’s life you
might be able to recreate some of these elements and
generate more special days you can spend together.
46. What was the worst day of your life?
What made it so awful? Describe it to
On the other hand, there are those days that you
would never want to relive. Find out what they are to
help you connect with your partner in a different way.
You can also use this information to try and stay away
from such catastrophic days.
47. Do you believe in God? What are your
spiritual pursuits if any? Are there ways
you would like to manifest these in our
Religion and spiritual pursuits are very important to
many people and, in some cases, are something you
want to share with your children as well. Take time to
discuss what your personal spiritual beliefs are, how
you practice these beliefs, and how you would like to
make this present in your marriage. Too often, these
discussions don’t take place until after a couple has
48. What do you think happens to us after
we die?
On some level this goes hand in hand with the
question above. Questions of this nature can be
quite intense. Not only do they have the power to
unveil parts of your spouse, but for some people
they may be very difficult to answer. They may raise
intense emotions. Be careful when you ask this kind
of question. But if you and your spouse are ready to
discuss it, it can be an interesting and empowering
conversation to have.
49. What is the biggest risk you have ever
taken? Do you feel it was wise?
Life is full of risks; they are scary, but can be worth it.
Discover the levels of risk with which you and your
spouse are comfortable. This discovery phase can very
helpful for the future, especially when it comes to
making decisions.
50. Do you have any favorite hobbies? Are
there any hobbies you would like to
pursue either alone or together?
Hobbies are healthy. If you don’t already know what
your spouse’s favorite hobbies are, find out. If there
are ways you can support their hobbies, wonderful.
What’s more, take the time to discover whether or not
there are hobbies your spouse would like to pick up,
or if there are things the two of you can do together.
51. What is your personal definition of
success? Do you consider yourself
successful? What steps have you taken,
or will you take, to reach your goals for
We all define success differently. You may consider
one thing to be a success and your spouse may select
another. Understanding what your spouse sees as
success is not only interesting information in itself,
it can help you start a discussion about what success
How to Connect Emotionally
means to the two of you, and how you can pursue a
successful life together.
fulfill an immediate need. Do everything you can to
make it happen, if possible.
52. What would you dream of for yourself in
ten years? How about twenty years from
now? Thirty?
Conclusion: Converse for Life
Understanding what kind of life your spouse would
like to lead over the course of his or her life is
important information. It helps you connect to your
partner, understand them better, and it give you
practical information you can use to help make these
dreams come true.
53. What was your best vacation? What
made it special?
Vacations are fun. Sometimes, planning one is just as
fun. Take time to discuss what the other person sees
as an enjoyable time. He or she could want to spend
their vacation being active and seeing everything, or
simply relaxing and unwinding.
54. At what moment were you most content?
What helped create your contentment?
Did you know it at the time, or did you
only realize it in hindsight?
It is amazing what makes us content. Sometimes it
is the simplest thing. Do not assume that you know
what satisfies your spouse; take the time to discover it.
55. What were the holidays like for you as
a child? What is your favorite holiday?
What made holidays good for you or
difficult for you?
Holidays are a wonderful time to rejoice and be with
your family. Have a conversation about what holidays
are meaningful to you, and what rituals you can create
(or follow) in your family to make the holidays what
you want them to be.
The questions I have listed are intended to be
sprinkled into your relationship over an extended
period of time. Many of the answers to the questions
in this guide will change over time. Don’t think of
these questions as a one-shot deal. Ask your partner
these questions again and again over the course of
your marriage. As you change as individuals and as
a couple, and as your understanding of yourselves,
your relationship, and the world around you grows
and matures, you will find that the answers grow and
change as well.
This is as it should be. The questions above don’t have
right or wrong answers. Even if you don’t agree with
what your spouse thinks, respect his or her beliefs
and try to understand how your spouse arrived at his
or her answers in your discussions.
More than that, support your spouse’s growth and
their changing thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and
beliefs. Don’t try and nail your spouse down on a
single answer to these questions. Instead, use the
discussions as an opportunity to continue to deepen
your understanding of each other as you and your
marriage change and grow over time.
Understanding your partner in new and different
ways is something you can (and should) do over the
course of your marriage. If you can do that, it is that
much more likely you will develop the happy, healthy
relationship you have been dreaming of.
56. Give me a small menu of things I could
do today to make you happy so that
maybe I could choose one and add a
little happiness to your day.
Prove to your spouse that you truly care for him or
her. Do something right now to foster happiness and
How to Connect Emotionally