Not too long ago, my husband and I had not one earthly thing to talk about. When we’d met, we shared a few common interests. Once we became parents, however, we had less time to enjoy those interests.
In our relationship, I’m the talker. He’s the listener. After so many sleepless nights in a row, I stopped talking. Our communication ceased. Flash forward three years, to the middle of our marriage project. We still had very little to say to one another. Worse, he talked to people all day long and came home in need of silence. As a freelance writer, I went days without hearing the sound of another person’s voice. I ended my workday in need of conversation.
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Over time, I learned to satisfy my need for chatter with various social engagements and gave my husband his space when he arrived home from work. But when I needed him to talk, I got him to talk, and here are the topics and questions I used. Perhaps they will work for you as well.
The news: My husband reads the newspaper. I’d like to, I just never get around to it. So, I ask him to tell me about the important news of the day, and he does because he’s the kind of guy who likes to be in the know and be the first to share such information.
Politics: He’s an independent and I’m a Democrat, therefore we generally share the same views. Our discussions about politics are not heated; rather they turn into the, “Wow, you are so right,” and “No, you are so right” type of discussions that all of us need from time to time.
Our daughter: Typical questions I might ask include:
Do you think we should ask her teachers not to let her nap at school? I don’t think she needs one anymore.
Do you think we should sign her up for gymnastics or soccer? Are you going to take her or am I?
I signed her up for kindergarten. I didn’t research other options. Do you want me to?
My life: Sometimes I just talk about whatever is on my mind; my fears, my dreams, etc. He usually just says, “Uh huh,” but he does listen, and I’ve learned that the listening is what I most crave. And then, occasionally, I just want to talk about something, anything, so I’ll ask him random questions like:
What is your favorite beer and why?
Some people think that Google Street View is an invasion of privacy. What do you think?
Tell me one interesting story about something that happened to you today.
Do you have any other life dreams that you have not yet accomplished? (He usually says, “No,” but I like to ask.)
How’s your latest diet going? (My husband is on an eternal quest to reduce his weight below 180 pounds).
Where’d you go on today’s ride? (My eyes sometimes glaze over, but he does get pretty animated as he tells me about all of the various towns and places he visited on his bicycle).
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Sometimes I just get a yes or no or one word answer. Other times he surprises me by chatting about himself for a while, and telling me something that I didn’t know, even after nine years of marriage.
Alisa Bowman is the author of Project: Happily Ever After, which tells the real life story of how she went from the brink of divorce to falling back in love. It's available for pre-order on amazon.com. Visit her blog at http://www.projecthappilyeverafter.com.