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7 Questions That Only Secure Couples Can Handle

These questions will break you out of your romantic comfort zone—for the better.

Cristopher Burns / Unsplash
Source: Cristopher Burns / Unsplash

“There’s always room for improvement” is a saying that applies to so many areas of life, but most especially to our romantic relationships. Oftentimes, our unconditional love for our partner makes us overlook habits and behaviors—both ours and theirs—that might not be serving us. However, identifying areas where we could do better can be quite challenging, especially in an already happy relationship where we feel content and satisfied.

This is where stepping out of your relationship comfort zone becomes crucial. The work required to do this might be uncomfortable, but it can reveal potential within your relationship, both good and bad, that you likely haven’t considered before. By taking these steps together, you can learn what it takes to be the best partner that you can possibly be, what it takes to preserve the good things that you have together, as well as the overlooked areas of your relationship that might be in need of repair.

The Importance of Relationship Maintenance

Maintaining a happy relationship involves a lot more than just the obvious gestures you may think of—like saying “I love you,” going on dates, or buying flowers. While these actions are important, research shows that true relationship maintenance also requires “interactive threat mitigation.” This process involves proactively addressing potential threats through conflict management and forgiveness—which isn’t as easy as buying a bouquet.

Although obvious maintenance behaviors—like physical affection, quality time, and gifts—might hold off immediate issues, the authors explain that relationship maintenance also requires deeper introspection and effort to identify and mitigate more significant threats. This process demands crucial skills and a willingness to confront uncomfortable truths about ourselves and our relationships.

This process may feel daunting, as we often avoid discussing potential problems in our relationships—either out of fear of making them real, or in the hope they never happen. Just as with our physical health, eating well and drinking water are comfortable and simple approaches to staying healthy; we may prefer them over exercise, which can be tiring, or doctor’s appointments, which can be awkward. However, despite the discomfort they bring, they’re just as crucial to our health as water and nutrients.

The same applies to relationships: a proactive approach is key to ensuring that our worst relationship fears don’t become reality, just like a health check-up can prevent diseases early on. In this way, proactive conflict resolution and forgiveness play vital roles in relationship maintenance; we must address problems before they fester and forgive ourselves and our partners as we confront and communicate our fears.

7 Uncomfortable Questions to Ask Your Partner

To make proactivity the norm in your relationship, you need to be prepared to step out of your comfort zone. This might feel counterintuitive to the basic instinct of avoiding problems, but approaching them with the right mindset can actually prevent them instead of creating them.

The following questions are designed to tackle the difficult and uncomfortable aspects of romantic relationships—those topics we often overlook or avoid thinking about. Addressing these questions with your partner isn’t about creating or preventing conflict, but instead about promoting your relationship. By proactively seeking out hopes and aspirations for your relationship and addressing areas that need attention, you spur growth—which cannot be achieved by turning a blind eye to potential threats. By having these conversations, you engage in the hard work necessary to become better, more supportive partners for each other:

  1. What’s one habit of mine that you find challenging to deal with but haven’t mentioned yet?
  2. Do you feel like there’s an aspect of your identity you’ve had to suppress for the sake of our relationship?
  3. What part of our relationship do you think you’ve taken for granted recently?
  4. What are the best and worst changes you’ve noticed in me since we got together?
  5. What’s something I do that makes you feel insecure?
  6. Is there a part of your life before our relationship that you miss?
  7. What is one thing you do for our relationship that you think goes unnoticed and wish I would acknowledge more?

Be prepared for answers that may be uncomfortable or unexpected; listen with an open mind and remember that these answers are shared out of love and transparency, not malice, spite, or toxic honesty. Their purpose is to prompt you both to think about what makes you feel loved and appreciated, what you love about each other, what you don’t want to lose, and the things you may have overlooked during your time together.

Forgive yourself for any discomfort, and forgive your partner for not expressing these thoughts sooner. These are hard truths that often linger in the back of our minds—ones we may not even realize exist until we are asked. Express your gratitude for their honesty and celebrate your mutual willingness to do the hard, uncomfortable work necessary to maintain a healthy relationship.

Once everything has been said, redirect the conversation toward what you have learned and what can be done based on these insights. Is there room for change? Are there aspects of your relationship that have faded over time and need to be revitalized? These questions should be easier to answer now that the hard work is done. Remember, even the happiest of relationships need fine-tuning from time to time. As the saying goes, there is always room for improvement.

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