For my birthday last year my wife made up a beautifully framed
picture of my name, and then underneath it she listed 32
positive qualities I possess. Needless to say, it was one of the
finest gifts I have ever received. Some of the qualities even
taught me about me. After that wonderful gift, my wife, son and
daughter (kids are 6 and 4 years old) put together a similar
"Greatest Daddy" list for Father's Day last year that warms my
heart to this day. It lists both behaviors and personal traits
of me as a father.

Today's topic is around this very thing… how well do you know
your partner and how well are you known by your partner?
Usually there's a passionate fire early in the relationship,
which brings a desire to know everything about your new partner
that there is to know. This is wonderful and a great way in
which to become acquainted with one another. All good beginnings
usually have many question and answer sessions. As you come to
know each other at deeper and deeper levels, you become close
friends.

There's a dangerous myth (maybe more than one!) floating around
about couples. It's once you know all there is about him or
her, that's all there is to know. The truth is that you grow,
adapt and change all the time. We all do. Unfortunately,
unless you and your partner take time to know one another as you
grow over time, you lose touch with who your partner is. This
leads to a sense of disconnection, and the distance which
follows, can cost you your friendship. A couple's friendship is
vital to the long-term survival and quality of the relationship.

Today is a primer for becoming re-acquainted with each other.
It's not for scuffing, only for fun. Take time to answer each
of the questions below and set a date… yeah, that's right - A
DATE, and plan to share your answers with each other over a nice
evening out somewhere.

1. If my partner suddenly inherited a decent fortune what
would they want to do?

2. What does my partner value most in life?

3. What are my partner's religious beliefs?

4. What does my partner worry about the most?

5. What are my partner's 3 most favorite movies and rock
groups?

6. Can my partner list the relatives I like the least?

7. Does my partner know who my best friends are?

8. Could your partner tell you in detail what his/her
first reaction was to you when you met?

9. Can your partner tell you what you stress over the most?

10. Is your partner your best friend?

The fall from friendship to disillusionment usually begins
2-3 years after marriage. Folks often are bewildered, saying,
"What happened?" My wife and I can tell you from experience,
both personal and professional, that a big part of what happens
is what doesn't happen after that first year or two together.
Once you feel you know all there is to know about your partner,
conversations slow down and become more challenging. You stop
asking questions, or you stop giving meaningful answers. This
is when the "work" of marriage begins. It takes effort and
interest to continue to ask, even when you think you already
know the answer!

The great part is that you are not static, unchanging
individuals. Your interests change as well as friendships; some
friendships fade away and other new ones begin and flourish.
New hobbies are discovered. Children may be added to make a
family. Now the center of the relationship revolves around the
babies. Babies teach you things you could have never learned
had they not come along. You experience a new level of
sacrifice, sleep for one! And you discover how you thought about
parenting may really be different than how you are actually
doing it.

See, you are always in a state of growth. The same questions
asked today may bring fresh responses as you each grow.
Continue to build your relationship into one of the best
friendships you have. I may call it "work" but it's the best
work you can do for the happiness of the relationship.

Author's Bio: 

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Dave Turo-Shields, ACSW, LCSW is an author, university
faculty member, success coach and veteran psychotherapist
whose passion is guiding others to their own success in
life. For weekly doses of the webs HOTTEST success tips,
sign up for Dave’s powerful “Feeling Great!” ezine at
http://www.Overcoming-Depression.com
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