"101 Conversation Starters for Couples"

"101 Conversation Starters for Couples" is a pocket-size book written, or rather "developed", by Gary Chapman, a bestselling author {"The 5 Love Languages"} and marriage counselor, and Ramon Presson, a clinically certified marriage and family therapist.

It isn't any secret that communication is vital in marriage, especially for really learning about and loving your spouse and, ultimately, deepening the romance and relationship. And continuing to get to know and pursue each other is the purpose of "101 Conversation Starters for Couples". Even the picturesque front cover depicting two adirondack chairs side-by-side overlooking the ocean {or, in my "perfect" moment, Lake Michigan} alludes to intimacy and closeness, while the back cover states, in part:

Your spouse is a fascinating person, a treasure trove of meaningful, humorous, and profound experiences, thoughts, feelings, ideas, memories, hopes, dreams, beliefs and convictions. These 101 questions [...] are to be used as conversation starters for you and your mate. [This book] offers a process to enjoy over dinner, on a date night, or any time you'd like to dig a little deeper.

At first glance, I liked everything about "101 Conversation Starters for Couples": the design, the smaller size, the give-as-a-gift potential, and even the quick thoughts in the opening pages that read, "These questions celebrate the depth and wonderful mystery of your mate. Questions invite disclosure, and disclosure launches discovery. Discovery enriches a marriage and builds intimacy." It sounded great, and, hey, it looked pretty nice, too.

My husband and I read and talked through the questions, ranging from childhood memories and likes/dislikes to future dreams and hypothetical situations, and while there was some conversation, the bulk of the questions, for us, garnered answers little longer than a few sentences {someone joked that the faint background images of tropical beaches and sand dunes on each page were more of a conversation starter than the actual questions}. Admittedly, the questions are all creative and for the most part unique, yet, while both of us did our best to consider each question, and our answers, seriously, we found many of the questions were either too shallow for real conversation starters, even for ourselves who have been married just over a year, or somewhat irrelevant or inapplicable {Can you recall a first date during which you immediately knew there would not be a second date?}.

Though I admire the overall concept and purpose of "101 Conversation Starters for Couples" and had hoped it would meet my expectations, I was disappointed to find that the content comes up short. And while I would not outright discount its potential for helping some other married couple engage in conversation and continue to learn about each other, personally I would not recommend "101 Conversation Starters for Couples" as a resource to "build intimacy". There are plenty of free resources out there if a couple is looking for conversation starters, or perhaps, simply think back to before you were married, on one of those much-anticipated dates, when all you had to talk about was each other, your goals, your fears, your thoughts and ideas, and your love. Because deepening relationship and romance is about time, not questions, and intimacy results from intentionality, not interrogation.

Disclaimer: This book was received for free from Moody Publishers in exchange for my review.

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