Thursday, May 1, 2014

Digging Deeper

I have loved Reader's Digest since I was 11 years old. People have always made fun of me for my fascination with what most consider to be an "old person's periodical." I guess I've just always been an old soul.  I came upon an article entitled, "Questions That Will Save Your Relationships." I found this article fascinating.

Derek and I always ask each other - every morning - "so, how did you sleep?" Not digging very deep there, are we? Then when my girls get in the car after school, I ask them how their day was. I try to dig deeper and ask what my Father always asked me, "What did you learn today?" That doesn't seem to go very far either.

Over dinner, we always tell  our favorite thing about our day. I love hearing stories from my girls and Derek's day - it is one of my highlights. The article gave me some great tools on digging deeper with the people who I care about the most. Here is an excerpt from the article.

"After going to therapy we learned to ask each other better questions. If we really want to know our people, we need to ask questions that convey "I'm not just checking the box here. I really care what you have to say and how you feel." If we don't want throwaway answers, we can't ask throwaway questions. A caring question is a key that will unlock a room inside the person you love. So we don't ask each other "How was your day" anymore.

After a few years of practicing intimate question asking, we now find ourselves asking each other questions like these:

  • When did you feel loved today?
  • When did you feel lonely?
  • What did I do today that made you feel appreciated?
  • What did I say that made you feel unnoticed?
  • What can I do to help you right now?
I know. Weird at first. But not after a while. Not any weirder than asking the same empty questions that elicit the same empty answers. Now when our kids get home from school, we don't say, "How was your day?" Because they don't know. Their day was lots of things.

Instead we ask:
  • How did you feel during your spelling test in English class?
  • What did you say to the new girl when you all went out to recess?
  • Did you feel lonely at all today?
  • Were there any times you felt proud of yourself today?
And I never ask my friends, "How are you?" Because they don't know either. Instead I ask:
  • How is your mom's chemo going?
  • How'd that conference with Ben's teacher turn out?
  • What's going really well with work right now?
Questions are like gifts. It's the thought behind them that the receiver feels. Love is specific. The more attention and time you give to your questions, the more beautiful the answers become."

Y'all isn't this a great idea? Let's dig a little deeper with the ones we love. Let's be a little more intentional with those we most care about. It may seem awkward at first but it's worth it!

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