In 1992, a psychologist named Arthur Aron performed an experiment. He wanted to create love in a laboratory. Taking two strangers, he had them ask each other 36 progressively personal questions, then had them stare into each other’s eyes. Six months later, they invited the entire lab crew to the wedding ceremony.
So if Dr. Aron can create love in a lab, possibly we can use the same science to sort of… boost us up a little bit.
While it would be ideal for us men to simply sit still and be completely attentive for the two hours we need to do the whole thing, 10 minutes is a good experiment. So we will set two timers. We’ll set one timer for six minutes, and the second for 10 minutes, both to run simultaneously.
Until the first timer goes off, take turns asking questions off of the list included. I think realistically, you may get two a piece in. Hint of advice: pick questions on opposite halves of the list. Remember, these questions get progressively personal as the list goes on. So should you. However, I’ll leave it up to you. We decided to use a random number generator.
As soon as the first timer goes off, the questions cease. You will spend the next four minutes silently looking into each other’s eyes. No talking allowed. No looking away permitted. No touching.
The more you try this experiment, and both parties willing, draw the time allowed out. Twenty minutes, an hour. All 36 questions. Then stare intently into each other’s eyes.
Here are the 36 questions, in order:
1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
3. Before making a phone call, do you ever rehearse what you’re going to say? Why?
4. What would constitute a perfect day for you?
5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you choose?
7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.
9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
11. Take four minutes and tell you partner your life story in as much detail as possible.
12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?
13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
14. Is there something that you’ve dreamt of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
16. What do you value most in a friendship?
17. What is your most treasured memory?
18. What is your most terrible memory?
19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
20. What does friendship mean to you?
21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?
22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.
23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?
24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?
25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “we are both in this room feeling…”
26. Complete this sentence “I wish I had someone with whom I could share…”
27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.
28. Tell your partner what you like about them: be honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.
29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.
30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.
32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?
34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?
35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?
36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.
We’re excited to see how making time for this will affect how we feel about each other, especially if we don’t seem to be clicking together that week.
Give it a try, and let us know how you feel about it!
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