Most couples who have been married for quite some time, begin to feel that they know everything that there is to know about their spouses. But really, how much do you know about the person you wake up next to, every morning? Details about family, work, personality and dreams of the future may remain unknown to even the most loving of spouses. Having a limited knowledge of your partner’s past may not foretell a crisis in your marriage, but an awareness of likes and dislikes, ambitions and anxieties, may enable you to understand him or her better. Here are a few pointers, which may help you to gauge how well you know your spouse.
TIP: Here're 2000 questions you can ask your spouse to know them inside out!
Start with the basics
Consider what you know about your spouse’s family. While you may be able to reel off the names of your spouse’s siblings, aunts and uncles, ask yourself if you are aware of where your spouse’s forefathers came from. What are the festivals fervently celebrated in their home and what are the occasions when the whole family gets together? Do you know the relatives your spouse likes least and the one he or she respects most? While members of your spouse’s extended family may have little bearing on your marriage, remember that to know a person, you have to be aware of the influences and values which moulded your spouse in the formative years of childhood.
Know your partner’s inner world
One of the most important features of a successful marital relationship, is the quality of friendship that the couple shares. Consider if you are aware of your partner’s deepest aspirations and his life dreams. Do you know what makes her most anxious or raises his hackles? Ask yourself if you both agree on the basic values and goals in life. While you may or may not agree with your spouse’s religious and political convictions, do you know what they are? It helps to be aware of your partner’s guiding philosophy in life, as well as the wider spectrum of values and ideals, in order to better know him or her as a person.
Examine your spouse’s social circle
After marriage, it is inevitable that the social circle of each spouse will intersect. You will get to know your partner’s friends from work, club, college or even high school. While you may remember most names and faces, there may be some people who have a relatively greater amount of significance in your partner’s life. Similarly, while you may be aware of your spouse’s best friends, do you know the names of those who have been trying to get at your spouse lately? Friends, neighbours and acquaintances constitute a person’s social circle and are important signifiers of your quality of life together.
Get to know your spouse’s professional life
Most couples have only a cursory knowledge about each other’s professional life, unless of course they work in the same office or firm. Consider what you know about your partner’s professional ambitions, and the obstacles he or she may be facing in order to achieve them. Do you know where your spouse wants to be professionally, in another ten years? You are sure to have met your spouse’s boss and co-workers at office parties, but what about the dynamics of these relationships? Has your partner told you which colleagues have a way of making trouble and why the boss seems to be overlooking his recent achievements? In many cases, people prefer not to let office politics infect their home atmosphere and to a certain extent, they are justified in doing so. However, knowing the pulls and pressures your spouse faces at work may enable you to better understand fluctuations in his or her moods, besides raising the level of your respect for your partner as a professional.
How close are you as lovers?
In the initial days of marriage, a husband and wife are generally inseparable and share a deep physical bond. They look into each other’s eyes while talking, they smile when they look at each other and they hug and kiss at the slightest pretext. This is the time when two people in love discover each other sexually and take pleasure in fulfilling a partner’s desires. However, with the passage of time, couples get too caught in domestic responsibilities and work schedules, to plan time for intimacy. Sex is generally a hurried affair, to be finished before one crashes for the night. So, if you want to know your spouse as a lover, ask him what he or she would like to do tonight. Get to know what turns your spouse on - a sensuous massage, romantic music or racy lingerie. Share your sexual fantasies, or take a shower together. Relationship consultants will tell you, that while sex is not everything or even the most important part of marriage, it is a strong indicator of the health of the marriage.
Consider the mundane matters of existence
According to behavioural analysts, it is not so much what a person tells about himself but the little habits and gestures that are the biggest clues to a personality. Focus on your spouse’s ways and habits around the house – does he squeeze the toothpaste up from the bottom, or does she prefer cats to dogs as house pets? Is it important to your partner that the two of you eat dinner together, or is he freaked out at finding you have “arranged” his wardrobe? While these little quirks may seem mundane, they can often be significant pointers to the kind of person your spouse is.
So no matter how long you have been married together, there are always some things you have yet to know about your spouse. These may have to do with his or her background, profession, personality or social life. While there is no guarantee that a couple who understand each other perfectly, will never go through a marital crisis, knowing your partner’s dreams, values and expectations, will definitely prepare you better for the journey that is marriage.