Remember the excitement and curiosity at the beginning of a romantic relationship? It was time when countless hours were spent in deep conversations, playing “I’ll tell you mine, if you tell me yours.” The more you shared with each other, the closer you’d feel. This process of mutual sharing created the friendship that supported your budding romance.
This usually happens slowly and it seems we have legitimate reasons for not sharing or losing our curiosity about each other:
- We think we already know everything about our partner.
- We are so bored by our own daily lives that we think it is not worth sharing.
- We become so tired that we have no energy to connect.
Often, couples initially believe that they are in the process of adjusting to the typical external demands of life (work, kids etc.). They assume that the disconnection in their friendship is temporary and therefore not that big of a deal. Let me assure you, it is a big deal. If left unchecked, couples inadvertently arrange their lives as parallel rather than joined. To put it bluntly, they aren’t close friends anymore.
So, how can you strengthen the friendship?
1. Let go of your assumptions about your partner and connect to that feeling of wondering about each other.
2. Stay up-to-date on these key questions:
- Who are the major players in my partner’s life right now? Family members, friends, frenemies, coworkers, bosses etc.
- What are some upcoming or recent important events? A meeting, a doctor’s appointment, a deadline or presentation.
- What is my partner worried or stressed about?
- Are there any decisions my partner is wrestling with?
- What is my partner most looking forward to in the near future?
3. Show your partner that you actually care by making mental space for the details of what your partner’s shares.
4. Maintain an atmosphere of curiosity. The goal is to know more about your partner’s world. No judgments and no unsolicited advice allowed!