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Curiosity & Long Term Relationships
Posted: 9/2/2014 | Relationships Comments
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We were talking about the importance of becoming curious in new relationships, but what about when you have been with someone for a while? 

How much do you know about the person you’re been with for a while, the person you’re going to marry, or even your spouse of many years? 

By the time you’re ready to get married you probably feel you know a lot about the person you’re going to commit your life to. But, have you been curious enough?  Have you explored areas that may have raised red flags or overlooked other areas?

For example, you’ve noticed that he gets annoyed when you try talking to him during football games. Do you know why?

Have you asked him from the curious place inside you
rather than just going with your triggered reaction to his annoyance? It might be helpful to ask at a time when the game is not on. Something like: “I’ve noticed that you seem irritated when I ask you a question or am even in the same room when the game is on. I’d love to understand what’s going on for you.” 

The answer might turn into a great conversation in which you get to learn even more about each other. Maybe he says that as much as he loves you, this is “his” time to focus on something he enjoys watching alone or to hang out with his football buddies and he didn’t know how to tell you. In that case, maybe the two of you can make an agreement and you take that time to do something you enjoy on your own or with friends.  

Become curious about what feelings and thoughts came up for you when you noticed he might be annoyed. Were you feeling angry, sad, scared, or something else? If you had a strong reaction, how might that be connected to something from your past? It might help to read Chapter 8 of Your Ultimate Life Plan to learn more about your feelings.

Curiosity can keep the sparks alive in a long-term relationship
.  Sometimes sitting in silence is very relaxing, but how often have you seen couples eating at restaurants and each seems lost in their own world and very distant from the other?  Unfortunately, many couples feel they know all there is to know about their partner after years or decades of marriage. They feel there’s nothing more to talk about that hasn’t already been said dozens of times before. Even childhood memories you haven’t thought of in a long time could open up new discussions with your partner. Curiosity has the power to refresh even the longest relationship.

Just because you’ve been together for a long time, don’t assume that you’ll keep sharing the same opinions you always held on every bit of news or political issue. Be curious and ask what your partner thinks and feels about certain topics now at this point in time. We all change over time and can continue growing and deepening. Don’t take for granted that you know for certain what your spouse or partner means when they say something. Ask them, check it out.

Often couples forget about their curiosity in a fight. Joe says something and you feel immediately angry and behave defensively. To someone else listening, not in the relationship, it might not appear to be a big deal. Saying something as simple as, “Did you call back the Jones’ for dinner for Friday evening,” can have many different aspects to it. Perhaps you don’t like one of them and he knows that or he always gives you the job to call people and you have discussed sharing this duty before.

Be curious about what got triggered for you so fast.
This usually indicates that something from the past is coming up to be noticed and worked with in order to lessen the intensity of the reaction and heal. Until we become familiar with our inner thoughts and feelings, we all hear through our particular filter consisting of our past experiences.

What did Joe mean in his question about calling back the Jones’?
What were you reacting to that has happened between the two of you in the past, in general or about the Jones’? Did he have that familiar tone and energy when he spoke to you? If he has a tone for instance, that means he has some kind of feelings behind his words, possibly annoyed, sad, or something else. It’s helpful to become curious about his feelings around this. For example, maybe he already asked you to call, you said yes, and haven’t done it yet? If that were true, then he is having feelings that are coming out indirectly in his tone?

Become curious about what’s coming up for him also in this interaction with you. You being curious about what he’s feeling and thinking can stop a fight and help foster a closer relationship. 

It also helps if you can let him know about what feelings and thoughts are coming up for you as a result of what he said and did.

Curiosity is vitally important
to every stage of a relationship. It has the power to make your life together richer and fuller.

How have you been curious in your relationship? Your comments make a difference for us all.

For further information on accessing the wisdom, happiness, fulfillment, and peace you desire, click here to learn about Dr. Howard's Multiple Award Winning Book "Your Ultimate Life Plan: How to Deeply Transform Your Everyday Experience and Create Changes That Last.

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