There is so much hype around popping THE question in the most magical manner. Wearing the right attire, selecting the perfect location, and even hiring a professional photographer to capture candid pictures of the cheerful joy (hopefully!).
Of course, the photographer has to remain camouflaged until the perfect moment.
“What is the love song that makes you hum along?”
While the narrative of the big question ‘Will you marry me?’ governs the tabloids, there exists a quieter set of significant research questions to ask your partner in a relationship, which had taken the romantic universe by storm some years ago.
Referring to the research by psychologists Arthur Aron and team, popularised by the New York Times columnist Mandy Len Catron in 2015, it was the perfect formula to fall in love.
It resulted from an inquiry into perceiving love as actions and seeking the perfect laboratory setting for it to thrive in.
This research established a practical exercise that increases one’s chance of falling in love with their partner by answering a set of relationship questions that will make your love life better.
This article will look at the important roles that art of curious questioning and deep listening can play in romantic bonding. Moreover, how curiosity and questions spark relationships.
“What is that special childhood toy you have since cherished?”
The experiment: Conversation gets going
The experiment conducted by the above-mentioned psychologists attempted many ways to ignite embers of romance between strangers.
It revealed that 45 minutes of sharing answers to a series of questions, that gradually became more intimate in nature, leads to an overall feeling of positive appraisal of one’s partner and a feeling of closeness with them.
Conclusions from the experiment provide insight into the network of variables that play a strong role in romantic connections.
Sharing an experience, disclosing intimate stories and opinions, and having someone answer intimate questions authentically, are a few of the building blocks that are identified.
“What is the bravest thing you have done in the face of opposition/ disagreement?”
Psychology of questioning
Questions, inherently, are magical. This is not true for probing, disrespectful or insulting remarks disguised as questions. The kind of questions which were documented in the experiment, that breed closeness, are curious in nature. Let’s call them curious questions henceforth.
Two main qualities of questions asked with curiosity in romantic relationships are openness to listening and the feeling of being accepted.
Openness to listening is fostered by the vibrant and intimate nature of the questions. The answers create a bridge of sharing between the partners. At that moment, the question and the answer become a mirror of authenticity.
The feeling of being accepted is accentuated by the eye contact maintained by the partner, a slight leaning in as the answers are shared, and a non-judgemental attitude. This creates a space that can hold mutual vulnerability.
The vulnerability can create space for more truthful conversations and daring decisions (See Cognitive Psychology: Connecting Mind, Research, and Everyday Experience).
The last step in the exercise was to stare at the partner’s eyes for two to four minutes. This step has been described as emotional, strong, scary, vulnerable and highly effective in bond creation.
Charm them closer with questions
You might ask- So what? Since you weren’t part of the experiment and didn’t find your long term partners in a laboratory setting, how does knowing about curious questions and deep listening help your romantic case? And why curious people have better relationships?
There are some insights from this experiment that can be directly applied in life to form deep bonds in general and romantic bonds in particular. These insights also establish the top reasons to ask questions and stay curious in a relationship.
Here are some ways to charm your partner with questions:
- On dating sites, like Tinder, up your game with more curious questions rather than the boring ‘WYD?’
- Partners should make a habit of not only catching up on the other’s day but also ask interesting and imaginative questions. Their answers will help you find new facets of their personality and refresh your relationship.
- Find the list of questions used in the experiment, especially if you are having a difficult time in your relationship, and re-discover the intimacy that is fading.
- Spend your anniversary or together-time knowing each other more through memories and shared stories rather than expensive dates and hotel suite getaways.
“When we are 90 and have exhausted the list of materialistic gifts, what quality of mine will you most treasure?”
In conclusion, curious questions create an ambiance of trust, play, and joy. They pave the way for old stories to be shared and new ones to take form.