When my husband and I decided to start trying for kids, there was one thing I was absolutely adamant about! That our relationship (ie his and mine) would always come first!

Fast forward ten years and three children later (including twins) and my pre-mummy naivety is almost laughable. Between making lunchboxes, rushing out the door at 7:30am, keeping our bosses happy, school pick-up, dinner, bath and bed, we collapse on the couch crumpled and barely able to form a sentence. My before-kids self would be appalled – our relationship is not only NOT coming first, it’s coming a stoney last.

So I know that we should be sitting at the table eating dinner together after the kids are in bed. I can almost see my pre-mum version wagging her finger at me as hubby and I balance a plate of food on our laps while watching TV. We share a few tidbits about our day during the breaks but to be honest, both of us are too tired to make much effort to chat.

We do have occasional dates but we both find it really difficult to just shut-up about our jobs or the kids and talk about anything deeper. So I have started doing a bit of digging to see if there are any quick wins for our relationship.

Try This New Ritual

I stumbled upon an excellent post by Kristen Manieri, writing for Pop Sugar. She describes the new ritual her husband and herself are trying on their alone-time together:

“Rather than let the day’s headlines or our endless checklist guide our conversation (i.e. Did you call the roofer? Should I book the flight before it gets too expensive? Are you going to call the bank about those extra fees?), we anchor our interlude in two questions that have completely changed how we spend those 30 minutes together.”

The Two Questions

She goes on to talk more about those magical two question. They are simply:

What would you like to be acknowledged for?” and “What would you like me to know about your life?

She explains that these two questions encourage couples to delve deeper into their feelings and can’t fob off a conversation with surface chatter. They need to spend a minute or two reflecting on their emotions and sharing these with their partner.

Manieri talks more about what each question achieves:

“What would you like to be acknowledged for?”

“Being asked what I would like to be acknowledged for launches an internal inquiry that truly gives me pause,” says Manieri. “What is something I’ve done lately that deserves a little credit?”

This allows the responder to actually internalise their achievement, be it big or small. “I get to unearth and underscore my tiny triumphs for the sake of my own recognition and notice,” says Manieri. And then the couple can take turns chatting about each others achievements.

“What would you like me to know about your life?”

Manieri explains that this question has a different flavour to “how’s it going?” or “what’s happening Honey?”.

It’s actually recognising that even though married couples live together, they often may co-exist in parallel and may not actually fully understand what is happening in each other’s lives.

Don’t expect for every conversation to be deep and meaningful. It could very well be as shallow as chatting about what new recipe you tried to make for the kids the night before. But there is always the invitation to talk about something more significant, that may have been bubbling away just under the surface for a while.

I really love this idea of these two questions. I think it may just be the trick to jolt us out of our apathy and move us closer to be number one for each other again.

Do you have any magic questions or other solutions to bring you and your partner closer together? Share them with us in the comments below.

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  • For me it’s “how was work?”
    It shows that I’m interested in hubby’s day.
    Also, I try and take an interest in how his hobbies are going.


  • I like this idea, I’m totally going to try this


  • I do not have that magic solution and that is why came straight to read this article. This is very smart and useful, I will put it into practice!


  • That would not work for me! My husband would think I’ve lost my marbles if I asked these questions..


  • If I asked my husband these – I would get the strangest looks from him. I do however often thank him for going to work for us, providing for us, doing all the things around the house (specifically) etc. I’ll ask and see what happens.


  • Wish I’d done this with my late husband.


  • I feel many questions should be raised and answered in a relationship to keep the communication channels open, not sure if these questions would suit all relationships ….


  • I suppose turning those questions into a way you would ask in your own lingo may work, but that doesn’t sound like me. I would probably get a response like, good question honey, I will think about it and get back to you…….easy out really


  • I can imagine they’re questions not to be asked each day. Hubby and I talk often and every day so I’m comfortable with where we’re at. In iso again at the moment, I do ask him how he’s coping and also if he’s happy with the move we’ve recently made. Is it everything he had expected and hoped for?


  • They seem like they need to be asked less frequently than daily but good to ask


  • These are certainly good questions, but I wouldn’t like to ask them daily ;)

    • And if these 2 questions have the power to save your marriage is of course the question !


  • I absolutely love this and hope I can utilise this everyday


  • Definitely this is perfect questions to ask.


  • WOw so this article pretty much started exactly like our life. Except we have one child. Now my husband is a shift worker so generally if we are home for dinner he is usually to exhausted for conversation, but I’m going to try this! I know my husband is going to look at me with the (WT?) face but it might give us a good laugh to start a deep conversation. I think it’s very easy to get stuck in “routine” but it is important to have those deep conversations otherwise you may become disconnected.


  • I think a lot of guys out there would look at you strangely if you ask those questions in that exact wording.


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