Finding ways to connect in our marriages and with our children can be challenging.
There’s no sense bemoaning the “busy lifestyle” of the modern family: it is what it is. What we have to do is make the most of every opportunity to maintain and build our relationships. This takes, time, togetherness, and talking. The talking part seems to be the hardest. For instance, how much time do you spend together with your family in the car, but nobody is talking to each other? Instead, everyone is staring at their phones, talking on their phones, or they have earbuds in their heads. Its moments like those that I visualize myself gathering up all the smartphones in our family and chucking them out the window! Another fine opportunity for conversation that is often ruined by screens is dinnertime. Dolores Curran, author of “15 Traits of Healthy Families,” notes that an important trait of healthy families is that they value table time. This means families that eat their meals together often and engage in conversation around the dinner table. This would require the TVs to be turned off, and the iPhones to be put away.
Easygoing and conflict-free conversation is one of the blessings of family relationships. Sharing stories, jokes, laughing together, and learning more about each other are bonding interactions. The more bonding and rapport-building conversations you can have in your family relationships, the better those relationships can handle conflicts when they do arise. With that in mind, I’m providing some conversation starters. Some questions are geared more towards marital conversations, and others are more general for family interactions. My suggestion is to use these when you have that valuable table time together, or when you are driving your kids here and there.
- What are the best and worst sounds in the world?
- What age would you like to be and why?
- If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
- Tell about a special gift you received as a child.
- How would you like to change your family to make it better?
- What do you like best about your personality? Why?
- Talk about something that worries you.
- What is the best thing for you to do when you feel upset?
- What is one of the most funny and embarrassing moments in your life?
- Who do you consider a “hero” or “heroine” and why?
- If you could have lived in a different time in history, when would it have been?
- What did you used to be afraid of, but aren’t any more?
- What is a goal you would like to achieve in your lifetime?
- What is something you appreciate about each person in your family?
- What is a favorite memory of our wedding day?
- Talk about a time you felt very close to each other.
- What is your idea of a romantic night together?
- What is a surprising thing that you fight about in your marriage?
- What would you like to change about our marriage to make it better?
- What do you treasure the most about our marriage?
- Share three things you appreciate about your mate as your mate, not as a parent.
- When we are old and sitting on the front porch, what do you want to remember that we did with our lives?