"How are you?"
It's the question that people get asked most often. Usually, it serves more as a greeting than an actual question requiring an honest answer, as it's asked in contexts that don't allow for more than a one word response before the one inquiring has moved on to another task.
For acquaintances, this can be an acceptable level of communication. But we often fall into these patterns with people we see the most - including our spouse. Even when we do ask, "How are you?" in a sincere manner, after hearing the same question repeated daily, it may not evoke a deeper response.
It's important to remind your spouse that you are a safe person to share their feelings, thoughts, desires, and concerns with. One way you can do this is by asking thoughtful, intentional questions. Instead of "How are you?", why not consider one of the following questions:
- How have you felt loved and cared for by me today?
- Is there anything you felt like you missed out on today because you didn't have enough time (or energy)?
- Do you feel well-rested?
- What brought you the most joy today?
- What has God been speaking to you lately? Teaching you in His Word?
- What's something I can be praying about for you?
- Did anything happen today that you were disappointed by?
- What are you looking forward to in the coming week? What are you dreading?
These questions are really just a springboard for deeper conversations. This list certainly isn't exhaustive. Once you get into a rhythm of asking each other questions that lead to meaningful conversation, coming up with questions that speak to your spouse's heart won't be difficult.
At first, asking these questions may seem "awkward"; but over time, it will become more natural as you grow in intentionality with each other. One of the keys to making this successful is identifying the right context to have these conversations in. Asking one of the questions above as soon as your spouse walks in the door from a full day of work probably isn't the best timing. Plan these intentional times to talk and listen just like you would plan any other activity!