conversation starters

Five Questions to Ask on Date Night This Week

Nearly every week couples ask me how to keep the passion alive in their long-term relationships. They see desire fatigue set in all around them, the more we build a comfortable stable life with someone, the less we connect with the fascination, intrigue, and spontaneity that usually comes so easily early in relationships.  

Those three elements fade away as we stop exploring ourselves and each other.  Over time we start assuming we know everything there is to know about our partner.  To that idea, I say:

How incredibly boring it must be to know everything about your love! How limiting it must be to have the person you desire think they know everything about you! 

I hope you never know everything there is to know about your partner. And if you really do, you're either spending too much time together (and need more independence) or aren't growing as humans (and need to start).

The simplest way to reconnect with that energy is to start getting curious about each other.  Start asking questions again and really answering one another.  No quick one-word responses.  No mumbled answers while scrolling your phone or playing a video game.  Turn towards one another with intention like you did way back when and start discovering one another again. 

You know I send out juicy questions to bring couples closer every week.  This week, try asking your honey these on date night:

  1. What do you daydream about most often?

  2. When do you fantasize about escape?

  3. What makes you cringe?

  4. What do you want more of in your daily life?

  5. What can I do to support you in making your dreams come true?

 


 Gina Senarighi | :GBTQ Couples Counseling | LGBTQ Marriage Therapy

Gina Senarighi has been supporting loving couples and healthy teams for nearly twenty years. As a former couples therapist turned retreat coach, workshop facilitator, and author she's transformed partnerships, leaders and communication strategy all over the world.  

Her uniquely non-judgmental, inclusive approach to couples work puts even the most concerned participants at ease.  She's not your average sit-and-nod supporter- she'll hold hope even when it's hard and always help you grow. 

Call for a consultation to see how she can help you deepen connection, communicate effectively, and passionately reignite your relationship.

Couples Who Dream Together: Insipre a Shared Vision in your Relationship

The importance of inspiring a shared vision as a leader and at work has been well-documented.  Leaders who can inspire that vision among team members can more easily motivate for success, re-organize in conflict, and see the vision through to completion.

Why wouldn't a shared vision be just as important in personal partnerships?

This week I'm leading a workshop with 22 entrepreneurial couples to help them apply business success principles in their personal relationships.  We'll be talking about the importance of shared dreaming (join us here).  

Business leaders who succeed prioritize visioning by setting aside time to create and nourish a vision among their teams. You can do this in your family by spending time imagining what things will be like for all of you in a year, and five. Dream up detailed stories of the adventures you'll take and the lessons you'll learn together. 

SHARED DREAMING

Another way to develop your vision as a couple is to start a relationship dream list. A shared dream list is like a bucket list. It collects the dreams you have for this lifetime in one place. If we fill this dream list with interest, growth, and adventure it can help us live life fully, courageously, and intentionally.

Most couples informally share ideas and dreams over time, but clearly committing to shared dreams can be a must more powerful action step in creating a shared future. The act of writing anything out longhand helps you focus and remember it.

WRITE IT DOWN

Use the page below to start your shared list. Dream up all the possibilities you want to experience together and write them down. No dream is too big or too small- if it’s yours commit to it on paper.

This is a list that grows with you, so when you know you want to add something, simply write it down on your list, make it real in your mind, and then consider how to fulfill your dream today, tomorrow, or someday...your list is there when you’re ready. You can reorganize together it any time- I recommend you revisit it together every year.

Having a dream list helps you invest in making them come true. Keep it in a visible place to remind and motivate yourself to reach for your lifelong goals. Every day is a new opportunity.

Download the free worksheet below to help you create a relationship dream list at home.  If you'd like help strengthening your partnership please give me a call for couples coaching.  I'd love to help you!   


 couples coach | couples who start businesses | successful couples | couples who work together

Gina Senarighi has been supporting loving couples and healthy teams for nearly twenty years. As a former couples therapist turned retreat coach, workshop facilitator, and author she's transformed partnerships, leaders and communication strategy all over the world.  

Her uniquely non-judgmental, inclusive approach to couples work puts even the most concerned participants at ease.  She's not your average sit-and-nod supporter- she'll hold hope even when it's hard and always help you grow. 

Call for a consultation to see how she can help you deepen connection, communicate effectively, and passionately reignite your relationship.

Enhance Your Emotional Vocabulary

There are more words out there to describe how you feel besides sad, mad, and glad—in fact, there’s a whole world of words that can describe your emotions in incredibly specific ways. For most people, there's a significant deficit in our emotional vocabulary training growing up.

Having a rich emotional vocabulary means being able to recognize, label and understand feelings in ourselves and others.  Of course happy, sad, scared, and angry are four foundational emotions, but there are far more nuanced and complex emotions experienced regularly.

Having a solid emotional vocabulary helps us navigate complexity in relationships and deepen emotional intimacy.

Together the skills of identifying her emotions and reading and responding to other people’s emotions combine to create a skill known as emotional intelligence or emotional literacy.

Emotional literacy is necessary for us to regulate emotions, effectively connect with the people close to us, and manage social interactions successfully. The larger your emotional vocabulary the better equipped you are to discern different feelings, communicate your needs, and connect with the feelings of others. 

So how do you expand your emotional vocabulary?  Start by downloading this list. Use it for any of the activities below on your own or with someone you trust to expand your use and understanding of each word.  

How to use your feelings list

1) Choose one emotion each day and try to notice where you run into it throughout the day.  Maybe in a news story, or a book you're reading. Maybe someone talks about it on a podcast or you hear a story from a colleague at work. You might see it in a TV episode. Focus on noticing the places that emotion shows up for a day.

2) Choose one emotion at random and do a five-minute free write about where and when it has been present in your life. Think about the circumstances, players and resolution. Notice what physical sensations arise when focusing attention on this particular emotion. Notice if other emotions travel alongside the emotion you picked.

3) With someone you trust, randomly select an emotion from the list and tell a story about that emotion without naming the emotion itself. Have the other person guess what you're describing.  This practice helps you develop more effective empathetic communication.

4) Imagine the emotion as a living being and draw it. Give it a body and face and use color if helpful.  Notice if it's hairy or feathered, winged or legged. Most importantly, ask it what it wants most and how it might try to help you. Jot notes as needed to deepen your learning.  

5) Keep this list handy while you watch TV at night and during the commercial breaks try to guess what the main character is feeling using words from this list.  If you're watching with loved ones you can each choose a character to guess emotions for.

There are many other ways to deepen your emotional literacy but starting with these practices will help you expand your vocabulary and ultimately deepen your connection with yourself and those you love.  

If you'd like support deepening emotional intimacy and expanding your emotional vocabulary give me a call, I'd be happy to help.  


 Gina Senarighi Relationship Coach | Couples Retreats Communication Skills

Gina Senarighi has been supporting loving couples and healthy teams for nearly twenty years. As a former couples therapist turned retreat coach, workshop facilitator, and author she's transformed partnerships, leaders and communication strategy all over the world.  

Her uniquely non-judgmental, inclusive approach to couples work puts even the most concerned participants at ease.  She's not your average sit-and-nod supporter- she'll hold hope even when it's hard and always help you grow. 

Call for a consultation to see how she can help you deepen connection, communicate effectively, and passionately reignite your relationship.

Three Questions to Ask Your Partner This Week

Thank you to Danielle LaPorte for this week's questions.  If you don't know her already, Danielle wrote the Desire Map years ago and it became a foundation for the couples work I do to this day.  In it she helps people re-orient their days around what they want most in life. 

I've now walked hundreds of clients through her process to help them reconnect with their core values, clarify intentions, and take meaningful action individually and in partnership.  Check it out here.

She's about to launch a new podcast and I'm really excited about it.  Even before it launches (next week) she gave a sneak peek on itunes.  In the preview, she asks three questions, and while I heard them I thought of all of you. 

You know I send out juicy questions to bring couples closer every week.  This week, try hers:

  1. Whats the drag in your life?

  2. What do you love?

  3. What do you crave?

  4. What do you want?

  5. How do you think I can help with that?



Gina Senarighi Love Coach | Couples Retreats | Relationship Coach

Gina Senarighi has been supporting loving couples and healthy teams for nearly twenty years. As a former couples therapist turned retreat coach, workshop facilitator, and author she's transformed partnerships, leaders and communication strategy all over the world.  

Her uniquely non-judgmental, inclusive approach to couples work puts even the most concerned participants at ease.  She's not your average sit-and-nod supporter- she'll hold hope even when it's hard and always help you grow. 

Call for a consultation to see how she can help you deepen connection, communicate effectively, and passionately reignite your relationship.

Relationship Advice: Keep Your Conversation Fresh

One of the most important things we can do in a couple is continue to learn about one another.  When we stop being curious and start making assumptions about the people in our lives we start running into problems.  

Take some time over the weekend to get to know this person in a new way by asking these ten simple questions.

Even if you think you know their answer, ask and see if their response has changed or grown since you last checked in.  Try to accept their answers with warmth (the goal is to create openness for more sharing).  

It might be exciting to learn how your partner has changed over time.  These work well on a first date too!

Ask your sweetie:

1.  Do you look more like your mother or father?  How?

2.  Which of your parents are you closer to?

3.  Whats the most important lesson your parents taught you?

4.  What qualities make a good parent?

5.  Do you wish anything were different about your relationship with your parents?

6.  Who mentored you as a child?

7. Who was your hero growing up?

8. What influence should our families have in our relationship?

9.  What values have you held onto from your upbringing?

10.  If you could change anything about your childhood, would you?  What would you change?

(Check out previous conversation starters here)

I am so excited to hear from you about the conversations these ignite.  Leave a comment below and let me know!

Are We Gonna Make It?

"Are we gonna make it?"

The number one thing I get asked by clients, “Are we gonna make it?” can be a tough question to answer.  The real important answer to this question will come less from me and more from the actual members of the couple.  Do YOU think you will make it?  But that’s not why they’re asking.  They’re asking because they’ve hired me as a consultant.  They're paying me to assess what they’ve got as assets and where they need to improve in order to move forward.

Are you asking yourself now?

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself at home to start your own self-assessment. 

  • Do you know your partner's life dreams?  Do they know yours?
  • Does your partner fascinate you?  Do you captivate your sweetheart?
  • Is your sex life satisfying?
  • Are you able to resolve conflicts with humor and respect?  Are you able to agree to disagree?
  • Have you been happy, sad, and mad in front of your partner?  Have they with you?

If you answered no, or are even a little unsure about any of these it might be time for a tune up.   Any good business partnership renegotiates their contract from time to time.  Why don’t we view life partnerships with the same maintenance strategy?  Just coming to see a counselor or coach doesn't mean it's the end, it, think of it as contracting with a consultant.

Are you going to make it?  I hope so and I'm happy to help if you choose.

Couples Conversation Starters: Turn Up Summer HEAT

One of the most important things we can do in a couple is continue to learn about one another.  When we stop being curious and start making assumptions about the people in our lives we start running into problems.  Take some time over the weekend to get to know this person in a new way by asking these ten simple questions.

Even if you think you know their answer, ask and see if their response has changed or grown since you last checked in.  Try to accept their answers with warmth (the goal is to create openness for more sharing).  It might be exciting to learn how your partner has changed over time.

Ask your sweetie:

1.  Whats your favorite summer event?

2.  What has been the highlight of your summer this year?

3.  What is your favorite summer memory?

4.  How do you keep cool?

5.  Would you rather live year-round in a desert or frozen tundra?

6.  What is your experience camping?  

7.  Do you swim?  Whats your earliest memory playing in water?

8.  What summer sports entertain you?

9.  Do you celebrate Summer Solstice?  

10.  If you could attend any summer festival, anywhere in the world, where would you go?

(Check out previous conversation starters here)

I am so excited to hear from you about the conversations these ignite.  Leave a comment below and let me know!

Couples Conversation Starters: Face Your Fears

One of the most important things we can do in a couple is continue to learn about one another.  When we stop being curious and start making assumptions about the people in our lives we start running into problems.  Take some time over the weekend to get to know this person in a new way by asking these ten simple questions.

Even if you think you know their answer, ask and see if their response has changed or grown since you last checked in.  Try to accept their answers with warmth (the goal is to create openness for more sharing).  It might be exciting to learn how your partner has changed over time.

Ask your sweetie:

1.  Whats your biggest irrational fear?

2.  When have you successfully faced your fear?

3.  How do you feel about roller coasters?

4.  How do you feel about roller snakes?

5.  Are you afraid of the dark?

6.  Would you ever go skydiving?  

7.  Do you believe in ghosts or haunted houses?

8.  Do you believe in any superstitions?

9.  How do your faith beliefs intersect with your fears?

10.  What do you do to calm yourself when you are afraid?

(Check out previous conversation starters here)

I am so excited to hear from you about the conversations these ignite.  Leave a comment below and let me know!

Couples Conversation Starters: Fascinate Your Sweetheart

One of the most important things we can do in a couple is continue to learn about one another.  When we stop being curious and start making assumptions about the people in our lives we start running into problems.  Take some time each weekend to get to know this person in a new way.  Even if you think you know their answer, ask and see if their response has changed or grown since you last checked in.  It might be exciting to learn how your partner has changed over time.

These work well on a first date too!

1.  What is the most impulsive thing you've ever done?

2.  What is the largest purchase you ever made?

3.  What is the best thing about your hometown?

4.  What is the most memorable gift you've ever received?

5.  How do you define the word "relationship"?

I recently changed these posts to Thursdays for all of you who start Friday dates early in the day and am so excited to hear from you about the conversations these ignite.  Leave a comment below and let me know!

Relationship Advice: Keep Your Conversation Fresh

One of the most important things we can do in a couple is continue to learn about one another.  When we stop being curious and start making assumptions about the people in our lives we start running into problems.  Take some time over the weekend to get to know this person in a new way by asking these ten simple questions.

Even if you think you know their answer, ask and see if their response has changed or grown since you last checked in.  Try to accept their answers with warmth (the goal is to create openness for more sharing).  It might be exciting to learn how your partner has changed over time.  These work well on a first date too!

Ask your sweetie:

1.  Do you look more like your mother or father?  How?

2.  Which of your parents are you closer to?

3.  Whats the most important lesson your parents taught you?

4.  What qualities make a good parent?

5.  Do you wish anything were different about your relationship with your parents?

6.  Who mentored you as a child?

7. Who was your hero growing up?

8. What influence should our families have in our relationship?

9.  What values have you held onto from your upbringing?

10.  If you could change anything about your childhood, would you?  What would you change?

(Check out previous conversation starters here)

I am so excited to hear from you about the conversations these ignite.  Leave a comment below and let me know!

 

Relationship Advice: Never Stop Learning About Your Partner

One of the most important things we can do in a couple is continue to learn about one another.  When we stop being curious and start making assumptions about the people in our lives we start running into problems.  Take some time over the weekend to get to know this person in a new way by asking these ten simple questions.

Even if you think you know their answer, ask and see if their response has changed or grown since you last checked in.  Try to accept their answers with warmth (the goal is to create openness for more sharing).  It might be exciting to learn how your partner has changed over time.

Ask your sweetie:

1.  How do you feel about having guns in the home?

2.  What do you think of the gun control political conversation?

3.  Have you ever considered military duty?  

4.  How do you maintain your personal safety?

5.  When do you feel most safe?

6.  What helps you feel calm?

7. When were you last angry?  How did you resolve your anger?

8. When were you last afraid? How did you resolve your fear?

9.  What can I do to better support your safety?

10.  When have you felt safest with me?  

(Check out previous conversation starters here)

I am so excited to hear from you about the conversations these ignite.  Leave a comment below and let me know!

 

Relationship Advice: Enjoy the Ride Together

One of the most important things we can do in a couple is continue to learn about one another.  When we stop being curious and start making assumptions about the people in our lives we start running into problems.  Take some time over the weekend to get to know this person in a new way by asking these ten simple questions.

Even if you think you know their answer, ask and see if their response has changed or grown since you last checked in.  Try to accept their answers with warmth (the goal is to create openness for more sharing).  It might be exciting to learn how your partner has changed over time.

Ask your sweetie:

1.  Do you remember your dreams?  

2.  Do you have recurring dreams?  What themes revisit you?

3.  What do you think your dreams are telling you?

4.  When you daydream where do you go?

5.  How do you comfort yourself after a nightmare?

6.  Are you a morning or night person?

7.  How satisfied are you with your sleep?

8.  Where was the most comfortable bed you ever slept in?  What made it special?

9.  What do dislike about sharing your bed?

10.  What do you like about sleeping with a partner?

(Check out previous conversation starters here)

I am so excited to hear from you about the conversations these ignite.  Leave a comment below and let me know!

Relationship Advice: Be Wildly Enthusiastic About Your Partner

One of the most important things we can do in a couple is continue to learn about one another.  When we stop being curious and start making assumptions about the people in our lives we start running into problems.  Take some time over the weekend to get to know this person in a new way by asking these ten simple questions.

Even if you think you know their answer, ask and see if their response has changed or grown since you last checked in.  Try to accept their answers with warmth (the goal is to create openness for more sharing).  It might be exciting to learn how your partner has changed over time.

Ask your sweetie:

1.  How many serious past relationships have you had? What made them "serious"?

2.  What makes "a relationship" different from "dating" in your mind?

3.  Could your feelings of affection be revived with an ex even if you have strong commitments in another relationship?

4.  What made your past relationships successful?

5.  What did you learn from your last relationship?

6.  Who was your first love?

7.  What did you learn from your first love?

8.  Do you keep memorabilia from your past relationships?  Why or why not?

9.  Have you been violent in past relationships?  

10.  What are you most proud of in your dating history?

(Check out previous conversation starters here)

I am so excited to hear from you about the conversations these ignite.  Leave a comment below and let me know!

Relationship Advice: Never Stop Growing Together

One of the most important things we can do in a couple is continue to learn about one another.  When we stop being curious and start making assumptions about the people in our lives we start running into problems.  Take some time over the weekend to get to know this person in a new way by asking these ten simple questions.

Even if you think you know their answer, ask and see if their response has changed or grown since you last checked in.  Try to accept their answers with warmth (the goal is to create openness for more sharing).  It might be exciting to learn how your partner has changed over time.

Ask your sweetie:

1.  If I had bad breath, would you tell me?  Should I tell you?  How should we tell each other?

2.  What is nagging?  

3.  What is your biggest pet peeve?

4.  Is there anything you do in your line of work that I might disagree with or that would hurt me?

5.  Define "good manners."  How important are they to you?

6.  When do you need space away from me?

7.  How should I tell you when I want space away from you?

8.  What do my friends do that annoys you?

9.  What annoys you about yourself?

10.  How do you deal with annoyance?

(Check out previous conversation starters here)

I am so excited to hear from you about the conversations these ignite.  Leave a comment below and let me know!

Couples Conversation Starters: Keeping Long Term Relationships Fresh

One of the most important things we can do in a couple is continue to learn about one another.  When we stop being curious and start making assumptions about the people in our lives we start running into problems.  Take some time each weekend to get to know this person in a new way.  Even if you think you know their answer, ask and see if their response has changed or grown since you last checked in.  It might be exciting to learn how your partner has changed over time.

BTW: These work well on a first date too!

1.  Who has been the biggest influence in your life?

2.  What kinds of things really made you laugh this week?

3.  Where do you find peace?

4.  Who is your best friend? What keeps you close to them?

5.  What's your favorite movie of all time? Why?

I'll continue posting five questions on Fridays to help ignite weekend conversations.  Let me know what you learn!