Can you name your partners best friends? How about your partners three most favorite movies? Ok, how about your partner's major aspirations and hopes in life? How did you score, two out of three? Less?
According to John Gottman, PH.D., one of the country's foremost relationship experts, author and founder of The Gottman Institute (Gottman.com), claims that couples who are intimately familiar with each others worlds are considered emotionally intellectual. Couples who cultivate a knowledge and understanding of their partners are more apt to weather marital storms and prepared to cope with both conflict and stressful events.
With the business of two-career families, having kids, caring for aging-parents (just to mention a few distractions), developing a greater personal insight into each others worlds may not have been top priority in your marriage. However, not taking the time to understand and know each other can be a slippery slope into an unhappy marriage. The good news is, turning it around is 100% effective.
Getting to know your spouse (even after 20 years) is an ongoing process, but starts with simply asking questions. You can even turn it into a game. Make a date to share some quality time together, choose a setting where you won't be interrupted, shut off all devices, come with an open-mind and open-heart and settle in to get to know each other better. Here's a list of questions to get you started:
When is my birthday?
What is my dream get-a-way place?
What am I most sad about?
What was my worst childhood memory?
What was my favorite vacation. Why?
Gottman claims, "In knowledge there is strength". I think he has something there.