Spoiler alert: my then boyfriend is now my husband. And although we don't give all the credit for our 100% perfect relationship (this is sarcastic) to the book/G.P., we often talk about what a huge impact it had on our relationship.
The book goes over a lot of really deep emotional sharing stuff, which was intense and helpful, but I'm not going to explore on this blog because: see first paragraph parentheses. What I want to talk about is what the whole no questions goal for January was all about. This is basically it: you try your best to not ask each other questions.
Why? I am not going to quote the book because my Kindle is dead and I don't want to charge it. Also, this because it was actually a really small part of the book. But for some reason it clicked for me when I was reading it, and Tim liked the idea, too. I think it was because in the midst of a lot of advice to unearth and reveal your deepest darkest secrets and wounds, it was something clear and easy. Seemingly easy, actually.
Once we started, we realized all the questions we ask each other, and very few of them were to get information. They were normally to put the onus on the other person (I'm very excited to have a chance to use onus in a sentence). Take something as simple as finding a place to eat. It might go something like this:
"Where do you want to eat?" person A asks.
"Hmmm, I don't know. What are you in the mood for?" person B asks.
"I'm not sure."
"Do you feel more like Mexican or Italian?"
"Well, we ate Mediterranean last night and...."
"Let's do Mexican then."
"That doesn't sound good, actually."
"Ugh. We really should have just planned meals for the week."
And at this point everyone is hungry and wants someone to make the (right) decision and any non-hungry outsider can see that they should just order pizza already, damn it. But in the moment, when you've worked all day and not eaten much all day and you have a whiney child (or not, as we did not when we read read the book) and eating dinner is supposed to be freaking fun(!!!!), this conversation can drive both people up the wall.
In the beginning of a relationship, these conversations can be fun and meandering and cute. But marriage is about the long haul and when all that stuff in the last paragraph goes on regularly, these conversations can just suck the life out of....life. Part of a good relationship is about making room for more good stuff when the bad stuff can so insidiously and relentlessly creep in. And that's where no questions comes in. It requires you to think about what you want, then ask the other person. At very least, it requires you to come out and say: "I am hungry and cranky and don't know what I want!" That is a better place to start then pretending to ask an innocent question then getting upset when no one can make a decision.
At this point I am asking myself, naturally, if I am just a total asshole who blows the whole where to eat thing out of proportion. But, no. I don't believe I am. I have witnessed this conversation between spouses, family members, lovers, friends. I know I am not alone in this struggle (I chant this sometimes).
This no question thing basically makes you figure out what shit you're bringing into a conversation before you start it. It works for deeper stuff, too. Like, instead of asking if your partner if they are okay when they obviously are not okay, you can tell them you observe that they're feeling off and that you are worried about/annoyed by this/hoping they'll talk to you about it. Then go from there. That sort of thing. I can't speak for you, but I know it's better for us than the whole: "you okay, yeah, you sure, yeah" conversation. Those are the worst.
I would recommend it to anyone who is in or will be in any relationship ever. You don't have to admit that you've read it; you can leave that to oversharers with blogs.