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Love is a many splendored thing… but it can also be complicated.
It takes work to cultivate a meaningful romantic relationship (especially long-distance ones) – and even more work to keep it going strong.
After all, just because you think you’ve met “the one” doesn’t mean that you know everything there is to know about them.
And while surprises can be good, it’s important to know who and what circumstances made your partner the person they are today. By doing so, you will foster a deeper sense of understanding and respect for one another… especially when it comes to decisions you’ll make together in the future.
Starting conversations and asking questions about your partner’s past, their dreams, their fears… is crucial in a relationship.
Even if the relationship is going well, asking questions of your partner will show that you’ve taken a real interest in them.
If the relationship has hit a rough patch, asking personal questions can help you get to the root of the problem… figure out where to go next.
In this article, I’m going to provide a list of 43 questions for couples that are guaranteed to spark a deep conversation.
I will break them down into categories, so you can jump ahead to the topic that most relates to your current situation.
(Side note: Want to ask better questions? Then watch this short, 20-minute course to learn how to have a great conversation with virtually anyone!)
What You Will Learn
Go Fish: The Getting to Know You Game
1. What do you like most about yourself?
This is a great question for gauging how vain your partner is.
2. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
This speaks to how humble they are and may touch upon any insecurities.
3. What characteristics do you find least attractive in another person?
If their answer has to do with personality over physicality, you’ve likely got a keeper.
4. What is your greatest regret or missed opportunity so far?
This is a good question for detecting possible red flags, especially if it is something they may still want to pursue that could potentially affect your relationship (i.e., moving to Africa for one year)
5. What is one thing you’d like to try that scares you?
This is a fun question designed to get to know how daring your partner is.
6. If you could change careers tomorrow, what would you do?
This question may clue you in to a new side of your partner you never knew existed.
7. What is a secret you’ve never told anybody?
A question designed to see how much they trust you. But be forewarned, this could be something that potentially changes your opinion of them (i.e., cheating on an ex with their sibling or recreational drug use).
8. Do you consider yourself a forgiving person?
This is key to knowing whether or not your relationship has a fighting chance, as we are all destined to make mistakes in our life. The last thing you want is a partner who holds things over your head or leaves at the first sign of trouble. Real love is work. Real love requires patience and forgiveness.
9. What person has had the greatest impact on your life so far?
Is your partner a mama’s boy or daddy’s girl? Or maybe it was a coach, teacher or priest that had a profound influence on them. A friend? Celebrity? Regardless of their answer, it’s good to know whose opinions they valued and why.
10. Do you believe in an afterlife?
What happens when we die? Whether you believe in a higher power or not, Heaven or reincarnation, or absolutely nothing at all… this is a good time to make your feelings on the topic known as well. After all, this question ultimately leads to others, including how big a part religion will play in the relationship.
Growing Up: Q’s about their Childhood and Family Life
11. What was your relationship with your parents like when growing up?
Whether your partner lived with two loving parents, a single parent, foster parents, grandparents… it is important to ask this question to see the level of respect they have for the people or person who raised them. It also may clue you into any signs of turbulence or abuse.
12. Did you know your grandparents and were you close?
This question can provide a glimpse into whether or not your partner values the elderly, as well as the importance of extended family.
13. What were holidays like in your house?
Was his or her family the house that entertained 30 people every Thanksgiving? Or did they sit in front of the t.v., watching football and eating snacks in their pajamas all day? How and where you spend the holidays as a couple will definitely come up… and past traditions will likely play a role in planning new ones together.
14. Did you have any emotional or behavioral issues as a kid?
If someone suffered from anxiety as a child, they are likely to still suffer with it to some extent into adulthood… unless they got help. Same goes for things like abandonment issues, jealousy, insomnia, etc…. The answer to this question may give you a clearer picture as to why your partner behaves the way they do now.
15. What is the first family vacation you remember taking?
This is a nice question to ask, especially if it marks the start of a tradition in your partner's family, such as the beach house they rented every summer. You’ll get a first hand glimpse of the childlike wonder in their eyes as they tell you the story… good, bad, or otherwise.
16. What characteristics did you inherit from your parents?
Is your partner extremely stubborn? Are they quirky? Perhaps they have a short fuse? Or aren’t easily rattled? The way your loved one behaves in everyday situations is directly related to how they were raised and the environment they were exposed to.
17. What scared you as a kid?
Having your partner admit to what frightened him or her as a child will help you better understand their capacity to overcome those fears. Whether they have or haven’t… you’ll get a good idea of their inner strength. You’ll also be better equipped to handle those same fears in your children… should you travel down that road together.
18. What was your favorite toy growing up?
This is just a little cheat sheet type question that may come in handy when you’re looking for that perfect, thoughtful gift down the line.
19. What habits did you have as a kid that you still have today?
Is your lover a fingernail biter? Do they twirl their hair around their index finger when they get nervous? Do they hum a tune while going to the bathroom? Hey, there are stranger things! Chances are, if they have a distinct habit, it’s been there for much of their life.
20. What would your child self think of your adult self if they were to meet?
This question is deep… and the answer may really surprise you both! It’s very interesting to see how you perceive your child self in respect to whom you’ve grown into. Did your partner think she was a science nerd, but is now making tons of money working in a lab? Or did he think he wasn’t any good at sports, but simply hadn’t found the one that spoke to him until he ran his first 5K? Who you are as a child won’t define you, but it will surely impact your future.
Rate Us: Questions Specific to your Romantic Relationship
21. What did you like best, or remember most, about our first date?
This is a good way of measuring what is really important to your partner. For instance, my husband says my ordering a hot dog won me a second date… not only was it one of the least expensive things on the menu, but I wasn’t afraid to eat with my hands in front of him. He liked that.
If you're planning future dates, try one or two from this list of romantic date night ideas for married couples and these would you rather questions for couples. You can also check out our list of romantic home date ideas.
22. What is my most attractive quality?
If he or she goes with a body part here… tread lightly. Not that we don’t all want to be considered attractive, but a love that can withstand the test of time should never be based on looks alone.
23. What is the one thing about me that annoys you?
This is a great question for taking some of the pressure off of him/her and embracing your own vulnerabilities. It tells your partner that you care about what they think and feel… and are open to improving upon what you can.
24. How much time alone or with friends do you feel you need in our relationship?
All too often, once two people become a couple, they have a tendency to spend the majority of their time together. They start blowing off friends, spending less time at their favorite dive bars and more at trending brew pubs, or simply becoming home bodies. And while there is nothing wrong with this, and you should absolutely take comfort in having each other… spending too much time together can eventually lead to resentment, boredom or even feelings of entrapment.
The relationship can become stale if you don’t mix things up or get out on your own once in awhile. In fact, it’s the perfect opportunity to remind yourself why you chose to become a couple in the first place. Asking this question sooner than later is a good way to avoid unpleasant surprises or off-putting and awkward conversations later.
25. If we could try something new as a couple, what would you want that to be?
Brace yourself. The response to this may be sexual, kinky even. But… it may also be a perfectly pleasant surprise, such as taking a cooking class together or signing up for surf lessons.
26. Do you believe in “traditional” male/female roles in a relationship?
Let me clarify… “traditional” roles meaning a woman cooks, cleans and takes care of the kids while the man goes to work, the gym and plays golf on his days off. Kidding. Sort of. But the 1950s image of husband and wife has not entirely left this generation’s mindset… so asking your partner where they stand on this is a good idea. And the earlier, the better.
27. If you could take me someplace you’ve visited before, where would it be and why?
This is an important step in the relationship… in that it can prove how well your partner really knows you. Is a romantic island in the Carribean your ideal trip? Or perhaps an adventurous zip lining trip through the rainforest is more your speed? If art is your passion, Florence may be the way to go. This isn’t just about what they would enjoy, but about them making the connection between your relationship and a special place.
28. If I were to give you a “hall pass” for one night, would you take it?
No person on the planet is likely to say “yes” to this question, but body language can reveal a lot. Conversely, if you’re secretly the “open relationship” type, this is a good way of feeling out each other’s boundaries.
29. Do you ever get bored with our life?
If your partner answers “yes” to this, it’s imperative that you get to the root of things and figure out what you can do to mix things up ASAP. Believe me… once a relationship goes limp for too long, it can be very hard to get feeling back.
30. What is something I could do that would surprise you?
This does not have to be sexual. This can merely be something out of your comfort level or typical behavior pattern. Like singing karaoke, volunteering at a soup kitchen, training for a decathlon… or simply wearing the color red (because you always wear earth tones).
If you're looking for more, check out this post for other romantic questions for couples and also this list of romantic questions for your boyfriend.
Bringing Sexy Back: Intimate Questions
31. How high do you rank sex in a relationship on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the most important thing?
Look, most people will rank sex as very important in a relationship. Men especially. Hey, it’s stereotypical… but true. That being said, sex should be important in a relationship. Afterall, it is a culmination of feelings and all that attracts you to one another… a way of solidifying your relationship and quieting the world’s noise for just a little while.
However, if sex is the most important thing to your partner, you may be headed for trouble. Things will happen… things like stress and physical setbacks or ailments affect people’s sex drive all the time. And if sex were to be taken out of the equation, even temporarily, your partner needs to be ok with that.
32. What do I do that really turns you on?
This is a fun question that shows your partner you care about what they enjoy… but also makes you feel good, knowing you have a strong physical effect on them.
33. How many times each week would you like to have sex?
Life gets busy and may not always be condusive to sex six times in week. In fact, most married people with younger kids have told me they are lucky to have sex two or three times in a week.
Look, it’s not for lack of trying… but it’s just not always possible. So knowing what floats your partner’s boat may shed some light on other behaviors.
For instance, maybe you’ve caught them turning to self pleasure? If you have, and it bothers you, this is an opportunity to discuss it. Maybe even get involved.
Perhaps you watch something together. Or, you can offer oral gratification or send sexts to your partner when time isn’t conducive to love making.
Whatever you decide, it’s crucial to let them know that the amount of times you have sex in a week is in no way connected to how attracted you are to them. It’s simply a matter of life getting in the way.
34. What secret fantasy haven’t you shared with me?
Sharing fantasies and acting them out with each other can bring a couple closer, not to mention spice things up. It can also have the opposite effect at times, when you look at your partner with confusion and disgust and think “I had no idea you liked being choked”. Hey, it could happen. But if you love and respect each other, you’ll find a happy medium and work to fulfill those fantasies.
35. Have you ever prefered porn to actual sex?
If the answer is yes, keep an open mind and thank them for their honesty. Just also be cautious that it isn’t a sign of your partner’s unrealistic expectations when it comes to sex. If you ever feel that your partner is opting to watch a flick rather than be with you, it’s a sign of danger. Weaning off may be necessary in that case.
36. When am I sexiest to you?
Is it when you’re dressed in a see-through negligee? Or that pretty little sundress you own? Is it when he’s wearing boxer briefs or a suit and tie? Or is it the way you laugh? The way you sing to your kids? The ideal answer to this question would involve a personality trait coupled with a physical one. This way, you feel like the total sexy package!
Baby Makes Three: Questions about Having Kids and How to Raise Them:
37. Do you see us having kids? If so, how many?
One of the top three reasons serious couples make the painful decision to part ways is the answer to this question. If you’ve been dating someone for years and are talking about marriage, this question must be asked. If you are already married, and thinking you can get your spouse to change their stance on parenting, it’s unlikely. So now divorce may be your only option. That or buried resentment, which only drags out the inevitable demise of a relationship.
Listen, the choice to have kids is a personal one… but choosing a partner who wants the same thing as you is necessary if the relationship has any chance at lasting.
38. How do you think our lives will change once we have kids?
Men typically think life won’t change much… that their wife will handle the majority of parenting duties without any complaints and a big smile on her face all of the time. Women will typically think that their husband will gladly pitch in with diaper duty and feedings and cleaning… and that he will look at her as the mother of his children, sexier than ever.
It’s nice to dream.
The reality is, your lives will become all about the children.
Sure, children will make you laugh and smile… but they will cause arguments and sleepless nights. They will bring you so much joy in life, but they will also stress you out.
And any free or “me” time you thought you had… you don’t. I have lost count of the number of plans we’ve cancelled and hair appointments I had to reschedule because my children needed me. Needed us.
Still, I wouldn’t trade life as a mom for anything.
This question is a good one to spark a conversation about where you see yourselves in the future. You may even have a good laugh over the answer.
39. Once we become parents, would you still make spending time together as a couple a priority?
In keeping in line with the previous question, it is crucial to carve out time for each other… especially after having kids.
You need to make an effort to check in with your partner and find ways to reconnect on a regular basis. Whether that is sharing a glass of wine together on the couch after the kids are in bed… or getting out for dinner and a movie… you need to remind yourselves of why you love each other.
Days can go by in a blur, but your partner needs to make spending time with you a priority. You chose one another for a reason and kids are a beautiful extension of that choice… but parenthood alone should not define you.
40. What is your philosophy on raising children?
Does your partner believe in good cop/bad cop parenting? Strict rules? Spanking? Time outs?
Or do they want to be their kid’s “friend” and engage in a low-key parenting style. You know, let the kid learn from their mistakes. Worst yet, spoil them?
Your partner’s answer to this question will tell you a lot about them… and maybe even something about how they were raised. And regardless of what their answer is, it’s better to come to a parenting style agreement before the kids are in the picture. This will seriously help to eliminate fights in the future.
41. Would you want our children to be religious?
If you want to baptize your son and your partner doesn’t… this could be a problem. Especially if family members have a say.
Or maybe you plan to raise the child one religion and your partner another.
Some couples even opt to have their children decide their own spiritual path as they get older… giving them access to all beliefs.
Being comfortable with each other’s answers on this can help diffuse any bombs from conflicting outside opinion later, thus eliminating tension in your relationship.
42. If we have children, would you want one of us to stay or work at home?
Someone has to go to work full-time. Sometimes both parents opt to.
Whether it be financial or personal reasons, it’s important to talk about this and make sure you’re comfortable with each other’s expectations.
43. What do you think is the worst mistake parents can make when raising a child?
This answer will speak a great deal to who your partner is… and how their childhood impacted who they grew up to be.
Maybe they were victims of a heavy-handed parent? Or verbal abuse? Perhaps their mother fashioned herself a hippie and left your partner with all sorts of people while she explored her passions.
Whatever the case may be, nobody’s childhood was perfect 100% of the time. If you were lucky, it came close.
So the best answer here should have to do with accepting and loving your child unconditionally. If you are willing to do that… everything will work out.
Hopefully these questions can help you and your partner understand each other better. (Here are more questions you can ask a potential spouse.) If you're looking for less serious questions, check out our list of this or that questions, our compilation of funny yes or no questions and this list of good questions to ask a girl you like.
If you're looking for more meaningful activities, check out these relationship worksheets.
Finally, if you want to ask better questions, then watch this short, 20-minute course to learn how to have a great conversation with virtually anyone.
Nicole Krause has been writing both personally and professionally for over 20 years. She holds a dual B.A. in English and Film Studies. Her work has appeared in some of the country’s top publications, major news outlets, online publications and blogs. As a happily married (and extremely busy) mother of four… her articles primarily focus on parenting, marriage, family, finance, organization and product reviews.