10 Questions (for a Husband Who Doesn’t Like Questions)

10 Questions for a Husband Who Doesn’t Like Questions

Paul at The Generous Husband recently wrote a post of questions a couple can ask each other—and he challenged other marriage bloggers to come with their own list of questions.

I love the idea of asking Big Guy questions that could develop into interesting conversations.

Here are some questions that would work for my marriage.

  1. What is one of your favorite memories from when our marriage was young?
  2. What is the most fun thing we’ve ever done together?
  3. When we’re old and in the nursing home together, what can we do to be sexy together and make the staff refer to us as “that” couple?
  4. What can I do to help you grow closer to God?
  5. What is something you’d like us to do together during the next year?
  6. What is an area in your life you are struggling to give over to God (because I can pray about that for you)?
  7. What is the thing we do during sex that makes you feel most loved?
  8. What is the thing we do during sex that feels the most awesome physically?
  9. What is something I do that makes you feel disrespected, so I can work on it?
  10. What do you most enjoy doing with my [fill in the blank with a favorite body part]?

These questions would work great for our marriage, except for one thing:

While I love the idea of a list of questions, Big Guy doesn’t.

He says that questions feel a bit contrived to him. He would rather talk about things that come up organically in conversation.

When I really want to go through a list of questions, Big Guy humors me. After all, he loves me. He knows that I like going through lists of questions, and he wants me to be happy.

I don’t like to do that to him, though, since I know how much he dislikes these kinds of things.

So what can you do if you want to find out a bit more about a husband who doesn’t like lists of questions? What can you do if you want to give him a chance to learn more about you?

Let me share what has worked for us.

I start with the questions I want to ask—but I don’t ask them out loud. I ask them of myself–and then start the conversation with my response. Rather than give Big Guy the question itself and put him on the spot, I use my own response to the question as a starting point for a conversation.

Instead of “Honey, here’s a question: What is your favorite memory as a couple? Okay, go,” I say, “Honey, I was thinking today about some memories of us as a couple. I started thinking about that time when . . . “ All of a sudden, we’re having a conversation.

We learn a lot about each other. He’s happy because he doesn’t feel like he is being quizzed or put on the spot, and I’m happy because I get to learn how he would answer the questions.

If your husband, like mine, doesn’t like lists of questions, try using your own responses to the questions in your conversation. Your husband may have more to say than either of you realizes!

Be sure to take a look at questions from other marriage bloggers, too.

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2 Comments on “10 Questions (for a Husband Who Doesn’t Like Questions)”

  1. What a great idea. My husband doesn’t like questions, either. I’ve bought question games and printed out lists – it never works. I start answering them for ME and he doesn’t even seem all that interested. But maybe if I faked him out and hid the paper questions, just started talking … based on questions I’ve read beforehand… ?

    It did occur to me on a long road trip this week-end, that saying “What do you want to talk about?” never works either. Ha – Go figure. So I experimented with just sitting – not playing on my phone, not even the simple game I usually feel I can multi-task (talk/listen) with. We put on a favorite radio station (“Love” on Sirius radio has great songs from our youth!) and just sat there. Looked out the window. I sang or hummed along and beat him handily at “Name That Tune/Artist”. It felt … nice. I was hoping the quiet would bring some conversation to the surface – it didn’t, this time, and I was pretty much ok with that. Very difficult for me! I think he just wants as much of my attention as I can give, in that situation, he doesn’t want to talk, he just wants to be fully together. VERY hard of my multi-tasking brain.

    And to be fair to myself – I do think we (just I?) need deeper conversation in our marriage. Any tips for this, with a reserved husband?

    1. I like lists of questions because they remind me of areas where I’d like to know my husband a bit better. The goal isn’t to get information as much as it is to know and to be known. With that goal in mind, it’s easier for me to let go of my “agenda” and honestly let the conversation evolve. Reminiscing together is a great way to start conversations.

      Your husband sounds a little like mine in that he feels connected when we are simply together. Conversation isn’t necessary. A while ago, my husband and I spent most of a weekend sitting in the same room, watching tv and playing on our computers. We were major slugs. Late Sunday I told him that I’d felt disconnected from him and that I’d hoped we would be able to fit in some good connecting time soon. He was dumbfounded. He felt connected–just because we had been sitting together, doing the same things side by side.

      Regarding your need for deeper conversation, I have a few thoughts:

      1. It is fair to ask your husband to engage in deeper conversation with you from time to time, as an expression of his love for you. Be clear with him about what you mean by that, though. Many men aren’t comfortable talking about emotions and feelings–partly because they are barely aware of them. If you want to be able to dream with your husband, tell him that’s what you’d like to do.

      2. Ask him how he’d like to handle your need for meaningful conversations. Tell him that you could use lists of questions and maybe do one a week, giving him the week’s question a few days before you’ll actually talk about it. (This would give him a chance to think so he doesn’t have to feel put on the spot.) Or perhaps he would prefer that you just tell him, “Honey, I need to have a good conversation now; sitting together isn’t enough.” Ask him for thoughts about how he can meet your need.

      3. Reflect on your own desire for deeper conversation. I had to shift my thinking in a couple ways. First, I had been measuring my marriage by a conversational stick. Conversation was what helped me feel connected, and I perceived my husband’s disinterest in meaningful conversation as a withholding of himself and as a personal rejection. In fact, every time he asked me to watch a TV show with him, I would feel insulted because he couldn’t even stand to be in the room with me without having to drown me out with a TV. This had a negative impact on my feelings about my husband. Second, I’d been viewing my way of connecting as superior to other ways. As a result, I was missing out on the many ways my husband was attempting to experience connection with me. He wanted me to watch TV with him because it was how he felt connected–and when I would leave the room in a huff (because I was feeling insulted and rejected), he felt insulted and rejected by my leaving.

      It is absolutely okay to desire connection in a certain way, and it is good to be clear with your husband about the fact that it helps you feel emotionally connected. The problem comes when you measure his love for you by this, or when you reject other ways of connecting.

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