A Couple Therapy Questionnaire For The Individual
By Toni Hoy
Updated November 18, 2019
Reviewer Aaron Horn
The first step towards resolving the problems in any relationship, however minor or serious they may be, is for one or the other partner to realize that things can be better between them. This is by no means a sign that the relationship is about to end; rather, it's just an admission that no individual or couple has ever been perfect, but that we retain the ability to improve both together and separately. The second step is to verbalize what may be bothering either of the people involved, for which a couple of therapy questionnaire is a very useful tool.
The Function of An Individual Couple Therapy Questionnaire
Many relationship therapists ask those who visit them to prepare by filling out a questionnaire together at home before their first appointment. Almost all counselors will spend a great deal of time getting to know you and your relationship before offering any kind of opinion on it, the time in between being occupied with a variety of guided conversations and cooperative exercises.
It's far less common for a relationship counselor to ask to always see the spouses separately. After all, a couple that is unwilling to discuss their problems in front of each other is probably not going to be a model of domestic bliss. Both have to be willing to work together towards their mutual happiness. On the other hand, this does require each to "know their own mind" as far as their expectations and feelings go, and each partner thinking about their answers to certain key questions can be part of this process.
What Initially Attracted You to Your Partner?
More importantly, does that still form the basis for your affection?
Different couples find each other for any of a multitude of different reasons, including physical appeal. As time goes on and a relationship strengthens and deepens, though, we often begin to see unexpected sides and qualities to our romantic partners. Plenty of happy marriages are based on only one or two dimensions of attraction, but not being able to think of at least a few admirable traits in each other may be an indication that you should get to know each other better.
How Much Time Do You Devote per Day Or Week To Making Your Partner Happy?
This could mean cooking their favorite meal, going grocery shopping on the weekend because you know they hate it, or simply phoning them to hear how they're doing. Every minute you spend on their well-being counts, with the proviso that these should be things they do like you to be doing and not because you should.
Every human tie involves some amount of give and take. These interactions can't exactly be tabulated on a balance sheet, but if there's a serious imbalance, the relationship is probably far from healthy.
When Were You Most Disappointed In Your Partner?
In the honeymoon phase, while they're still getting to know each other, many lovers tend to put their partner on a pedestal and refuse to believe anything bad about them. As time goes on, though, the rosy tint we saw them through begins to wear off, and we realize that they aren't angels, but humans after all.
In some cases, this may be unimportant, such as when they become less finicky about their grooming once they're comfortable in your relationship, in others, more serious. In either case, these perceived flaws would have to be accepted and worked around for the relationship to remain strong.
There are numerous other questions that can be asked: how are you similar and how different? What strengths and weaknesses do you each possess, and how do you complement each other? It is only by answering these kinds of questions honestly and thinking about their implications that you can build a relationship that will go the distance.
Let's take a deeper look.
What Qualities Do You Most Admire In Your Partner?
If you think back to that moment when you first laid eyes on your partner, there was an initial attraction. It may not have been love at first sight, but there was something there that grabbed your attention. In the early days of the relationship, you spent a lot of time together and went places together. These activities created treasured memories, and maybe a few laughs too. Try to think about some of the times that you went out of your way to show your partner appreciation. Maybe you brought flowers, wrote a nice note on a card, or held the door open. It may have been easier to at that time to recognize the qualities in your partner that you value. Take a few minutes and answer these questions:
Name the top three qualities that caused you to be attracted to your partner.
List three of your all-time favorite memories from times you spent together early in the relationship.
How do you show appreciation to your partner? How have you shown it in the past?
What are the characteristics that you most value in your partner? Can you name three of them?
Increasing The Level Of Intimacy In Couple Relationships
Couples sometimes complain that the spark's been lost. Where they once had a loving, intimate relationship, the hustle and bustle of everyday life start to get in the way. It's easy to step on the other person's toes and not even realize that it's happened. If they do, there's no time to deal with it anyway, so it just gets swept under the carpet.
It's easy enough to blame the lack of intimacy on not having time for each other. In reality, there's nearly always time if you make it a priority. The best way to do this is to get rid of the daily noise. Turn off your cell phone. If the call is important, they'll leave a message. Close your laptop. Whatever you're working on will still be there tomorrow. Turn off the television. Record your favorite show and watch it later. In taking those three steps, you probably created 30-60 minutes in your day, which you can devote to working on your relationship with your partner.
Now that you've carved out some couple time focus on how you can create the desire in your partner to enhance your level of intimacy. Following are some questions to help:
Is there anything that I can do that would make you feel more loved?
Are there any ways that I can help you to feel supported that I'm not already doing?
Is there anything that I've done recently that may have unintentionally hurt you?
What is the first thing that I can say or do when I come home from work that would make you know that I missed you and make you feel loved?
Is there a type of physical touch (non-sexual) that I can use to make you feel loved?
Have I been giving you enough alone time?
Have we had any arguments lately that you feel are still unresolved?
What are your primary stressors right now? Is there anything I can do to alleviate that some?
Rediscovering Your Partner On A Deeper Level
When couples have been together for a while, they can sometimes finish each other's thoughts and sentences. That's more a reflection of the fact that you think alike than it knows each other on a deep, intimate level. Have you ever been chatting with other people and your partner came out with something about him or herself that took you by surprise? We all have many parts to our personalities, and we don't necessarily reveal everything about us, even when someone has asked.
Following are some suggestions for questions to help you get to know your partner on a more meaningful level:
What was your favorite television show as a child? Why?
If money wasn't an obstacle, where would you plan our next vacation?
What book (or movie) has most impacted your life?
When did you realize you were interested in me?
What is your favorite thing we do together as a couple?
What are five things on your bucket list?
What is the most challenging thing you do at work?
Describe a typical day at work from the time you get in until you clock out.
Do you think you feel happy most of the time?
Describe a time in your life that scared you the most.
How do you best relax after a stressful day?
Outside of our relationship, who are you closest to?
Gratitude Plays A Role in Building And Healing Relationships
If you take time to think about it, you probably have many things that you're grateful for. Many of them probably have to do with your partner. When was the last time you communicated gratitude to your partner in any form? A simple expression of gratitude goes a long way towards making your partner feel appreciated and valued. Expressing gratitude helps us not to take our cherished relationships for granted.
Following are some questions to get you thinking about how to express thankfulness:
Do you use active listening skills when you're listening to your partner? Do you make eye contact and respond periodically?
When was the last time that you complimented your partner?
What is something you could do to surprise your partner to show your gratitude? Think about things like planning a date, leaving a small gift for them to find, or writing a sweet note.
How does your partner relax? Could you draw a bubble bath with candles around the tub? Offer a back rub or foot massage? Maybe let your partner take a nap in the middle of the day for no reason at all.
Sometimes it seems that there just isn't anything to say. The reality is that in thinking more specifically about creating time for the relationship, enhancing intimacy, and expressing gratitude, there are lots of things to say and do to bring you closer together.