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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and have lived in and around Palo Alto since 1969. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in Silicon Valley for 15 years before becoming a therapist. My background i...  (More)

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808 Topics to Talk About

Uploaded: Dec 16, 2016
A normal piece of homework I give couples is to have date night EVERY week, and they may not talk about kids or work. The instructions are to take turns planning the date, and plan it as you enjoy it. It takes a lot of pressure off trying to plan the “perfect” date for your partner (besides there’s no such thing as perfect, and trying for it can cause a lot of anxiety and stress). Some of the dates will be face-to-face (e.g., dinner, talking), and some may be side-by-side (e.g., an event).

I realize that may mean you have to find a babysitter, or another family to swap babysitting for them on their date nights, but it’s worth it. Your healthy, prioritized relationship provides the psychological roof over the family – the safety and foundation for your kids to grow up to have healthy intimate relationships of their own.

Because communication is the most common reason couples come to counseling (followed by lack of connection, lack of intimacy, lack of sex, affairs, and so on), I want you to begin communicating again – and not just about the problems you’re experiencing.

Many couples get to the point where they are only discussing logistics, kids, or work – or not communicating at all, even for months or years at a time.

Once upon a time you talked to each other, in depth, curious to know all about each other. This is what I want for you again.

There’s a new book that will be a great help in your date conversations, or maybe just sitting in the living room or in bed together. It’s called 808 Conversation Starters for Couples. Be sure you ask each the other the question, listen carefully, and ask follow up questions that pop into your head. The goal is to get to know one another again, not to hurry through the book.

Here are a few of the questions I like:

Everything happens for a reason. Why do you think you met your partner?

Did you overreact because of a misunderstanding on your end? What was it about? How did you make amends, or did you let it go without explanation or apology?

When did you lose your virginity? Was it a good experience, not so hot, or something you’d rather forget?

If you could dial into a “dream machine” and choose your nocturnal wanderings, what would you want to dream?

Nature or nurture? What do you think?

Is it more important to be honest, or kind, or correct?

Let’s say you get a second chance on life. What is the first thing you would do over?

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “unjust”?

Do you think you say “I love you” too often or not often enough? Why is that?

Sexuality is another form of communication. Often sexual disconnection or problems is directly related to lack of communication and emotional connection. So with these conversations, over time, you may find improvement in your sex life as well.

Beginning to talk and renew the friendship part of your relationship will make everything else more solid between you. There are many facets of a great relationship.

Have fun. Let me know how it goes.

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