Couples Counseling: 36 questions to spark intimacy

Arthur and Elaine Aron have studied love for 50 years and have developed 36 questions to create closeness in a lab setting. The result is not unlike the accelerated intimacy that can happen between strangers on an airplane or other close quarters.

“The theory is, when you’re first in a romantic relationship, there’s an intense excitement, but then you grow used to each other,” Aron said. “If you do something new and challenging, that reminds you of how exciting it can be with your partner, it makes your relationship better.”

Those 36 questions to spark intimacy were recently popularized in a Modern Love column in the New York Times, and have broken down emotional barriers between thousands of strangers, resulting in friendships, romance and even some marriages. Examples of the questions include:

  • Would you like to be famous? In what way?
  • Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
  • If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?

The Relationship enrichment services that I provide for monogamous couples integrate Gottman Method Couples Therapy, a goal-oriented, structured, and scientifically-based approach built upon over 40 years of research, with Intimacy From the Inside Out (IFIO) Therapy that grew from Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy in its application to helping couples who seek safety for each partner while building intimacy for the relationship. We work on recognizing emotions, building skills for managing conflict, repairing the couple’s friendship and love, and creating a system of shared meaning in a relationship based on trust and commitment.

The goals of Gottman Method Couples Therapy are to disarm conflicting verbal communication; increase intimacy, respect, and affection; remove barriers that create a feeling of stagnancy; and create a heightened sense of empathy and understanding within the context of the relationship.

Couples in IFIO therapy reconnect with their essential needs, change their conversations and learn to make requests that invite rather than threaten in order to get those needs met.In IFIO therapy we work to gain the cooperation of each person’s protectors in order to be effective in treatment. There is a wide range of content issues or behavioral interactions in session that arises with any couple. Contact me to learn more about how you can increase the feelings of intimacy in your monogamous relationship.