Too often, communication between long term couples can be reduced to "shop talk"- the boring, logistical pieces of your lives. Did you take out the trash? What time is the dinner on Sunday? Are examples of shop talk- and loving relationships need much more than that to keep up the connection. Deeper communications may require an internal shift and some action around "small talk", and what I consider the lifeblood of any healthy relationship. Here are some ways to get the conversation started. Thank you for... Everyone likes to be acknowledged and appreciated for what they do. Thank your partner for more than what you just asked them to do. Thank your partner for being a great parent, or always making time for you.
How do you feel about...Ask, and then really listen to what your partner is saying. Try to withhold judgement, and see what their response is.
I forgive you...Accepting your partner's apology for their mistakes is a way to let go of resentment, and that frees you both. In fact, admitting your own mistakes may make you feel vulnerable, but your honesty is likely to inspire your partner to do the same.
I agree with you because...On any given day, we have people in our lives that seem to love to disagree with us. Validating your partner's point of view and perspective helps them feel heard, and strengthens the bond between the two of you.
What are you reading?...What do you think about?...Open up non "shop" talk communication on an intellectual level and you may feel the warmth of common views- or the sparks of difference- that drew you together in the past. Another version is Where do you want to be in five years? ... Listen to what your partner's vision is, and then share your own. The answers might inspire a new, shared plan or uncover hidden needs.
Find your own variations of the questions above, or use these. Either way, you'll be sure to close some distance between yourself and your partner- and who knows where that will lead.