There are lots of things my husband is wonderful at but having “real” conversations is not one of them. What do I mean by “real”? I mean conversations that explore an idea or emotion widely, deeply. A conversation that isn’t rushed. A conversation that is not about task lists, weekend plans or children’s behaviour.
For a number of years now we have had a weekly family plan that helps us create time for our own needs, such as yoga or running for me and paddling for him. This weekly plan also includes one night a week that is just for “us” but at home. We are not allowed to do work. We are not allowed to watch TV. Sometimes we play scrabble, sometimes we brainstorm upcoming holidays and sometimes we just talk.
When we had our first baby my wonderful GP loaned me a book called “The Post Baby Conversation” and suggested that we both read it. This book was wonderful for exploring the challenges that relationships face after the arrival of a baby. Each chapter had a series of discussion questions at the end.
This was the first time I realised how well ‘structure’ worked for my husband in opening up real conversations. Because the book was leading the dialogue nobody took the questions personally and we were able to have some really great conversations that helped us enormously at the time.
Recently I was gifted a great product called FUELBOX which is designed to help people have great conversations. There are a few types but they include one for couples and one for families.
What I love about this product is the fact it offers simple structure to open up new and interesting conversations. I figure this is exactly the kind of thing my husband would be will to play with on our “home date nights”.
There are 10 different categories such as Love & Romance, Spare Time & Mine, Your and Ours. I have all sorts of ideas of how we can play with these:
- Pick category that might be an issue in our relationship right now and pick out 2 questions each we want to explore?
- Lucky dip … pick a card each without looking so the category is a surprise
- Speed chat … on a night that you don’t want a really long conversation you could set a 5 minute timer for each question. Keeps it light but interesting.
- Bottle of wine chat … how many questions can you explore in the time it takes to drink a nice bottle of red wine together?
As a coach I love how open the questions are. They are an invitation to explore, not finger pointing or loaded questions. Things like:
- What was the first thing you noticed about me?
- How do you think our children will describe us as parents?
I love the structure of FUELBOX so much that I asked if they would create me a special worksheet of questions to add to my program, 5 Minutes 4 Mum. One of the modules in the program is called 5 Minutes 4 CONNECTION which is all about how Mums can take simple, small actions to improve the quality of important relationships with partners, friends & family. I am so excited to add this FUELBOX resource to the program, Mums are going to love it!
If you would like to buy a FUELBOX for your home you can order them online HERE. This would also make a beautiful gift. The quality of the packaging and cards is superb, feels very special to have.
How often do you have “real” conversations in your relationship? How do you make them happen and work well in your relationship?