On a recent anniversary date with my husband, I filled him in on upcoming appointments and activities for the kids. He filled me in on when he’d be out of town the following month, and we talked about a couple of work projects we were each doing. Then … silence.

It continued as he paid the tab and we headed to a movie, complete with popcorn and two action-packed hours we didn’t have to fill with small talk.

In our weak defense, our house had just recovered from two weeks of illness, health concerns over parents, back-to-school insanity, and it being nearly two months since we’d enjoyed a meal or cup of coffee together without TV or the chatter of an energetic 9-year-old. Surely this lack of emotional or mental depth to our conversation didn’t speak volumes of the state of our relationship.

Or did it?

Conversation: a relational necessity

Alone time with your partner might not come easy. You’ve got kids that can’t seem to function without your constant direction, a demanding job that pushes past the 9-5, aging parents to care for, church events and Bible studies, or maybe just more volunteer opportunities than hours in the day. (I mean, who can say no to building shelters for the homeless, organizing coat closets, and reversing climate change through hosting a six-course dinner fundraiser? Not you.)

But more often than not, the less time you spend together the harder conversation can be. Sounds counterintuitive, right? Whoever said “absence makes the heart grow fonder” clearly wasn’t happily married. Instead of opening the doors to communication, a lack of time together actually slams them closed and locks ‘em on the way out. Why? Because when you no longer feel connected, you aren’t able to enjoy that level of trust and intimacy to get you past surface-level convos with your spouse.

Or maybe you’re both just so exhausted from life you can’t muster the energy for anything past immediate needs—coffee, food, sleep. We’ve been there, too. Frequently. But connection requires communication. So when the words won’t come, how do we nourish that relational necessity? Try these 25 questions to ask your spouse to go a little deeper. Store ‘em in your phone, nightstand, or that kitchen drawer where you throw literally everything else.

What could your family do with 500 Hours? Take the challenge.

25 questions to ask your spouse

1. What was a high point for you this week? A low point?

2. What’s one dream you have for our family?

3. What do you wish we could do more of together as a couple?

4. How can I pray for you during this season of life?

5. Tell me one way I can better support you in the load you’re carrying right now?

6. Do you have a childhood dream you still hope to accomplish?

7. If you could take a class to learn anything, what would it be?

8. Outside of work, what is the biggest stressor in your life right now?

9. Is there anything I can take off your plate to make life a little easier for you?

10. What is your favorite memory of us?

11. What changes would you like to see in your life five years from now? Ten years?

12. What is your favorite thing to do to relieve stress?

13. If we could plan a weekend away, where would you want us to go?

14. What do I do that makes you feel loved?

15. In what area could I love you better?

16. In this season of life, what sounds like a reasonable amount of alone time for us (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly)?

17. What is your happiest memory from childhood?

18. What is one thing you wish more people knew about you?

19. If you could pick one area of your character to grow in, what would it be?

20. When have you felt closest to God?

21. What is the best piece of advice someone ever gave you?

22. What are two things that make you feel happy?

23. What are three things you would include on your bucket list?

24. If you could give teenage you one piece of advice, what would it be?

25. What is one thing you’re grateful for in this season of life?

Diving deeper

We’ve used dinner-table conversation starters with our kids for years, so I was surprised to feel a little weird using these questions to ask your spouse. But we actually only needed one or two before conversation took off on its own. I was able to hear some important things on his heart, and we both were able to talk about what we needed/wanted in a judgment-free zone. It definitely beat our previous date-night talk of overbooked schedules and work projects.

Don’t get me wrong. Those things matter. But if you really want to make the most of that precious one-on-one time with your love, dive a little deeper. Under the surface, you might just realize all over again what a treasure our spouse is.

Copyright © 2022 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.

Lisa Lakey is the managing editor of digital content for FamilyLife. Before joining the ministry in 2017, she was a freelance writer covering parenting and Southern culture. She and her husband, Josh, have been married since 2004. Lisa and Josh live in Benton, Arkansas, with their two children, Ella and Max.