Set questions can be a useful strategy for smoother reconnections. They are questions that you and your partner will ask each other every time they come home.
Reconnecting with your partner after they have been away for work is one of the biggest challenges of the expat life and business travel. I have been faced with it in my own life with my husband, as well as it being a recurring topic in interviews.
How can you ease the transition back to life together? What can help the returning partner to fit back in quickly to the family? And what about the needs of the partner who has been holding the fort?
Disappointed expectations of what it would be like to come home and routine disruption are just some elements that can create conflict in those days following your partner’s return home.
I ASK HIM:
1. Do you feel included? When my husband comes home, I ask him if he feels included. This was often a struggle for him, as the boys and I live in a little bubble when he is gone, we have our inside jokes so it can be hard for him to find his place.
2. Is there anything you really want in the diary? As he often comes back to our normal life and busy schedules, it can seem like there is no time for him. I intentionally see what he would like to do, and then create space to make this possible.
HE ASKS ME:
1. Is there anything I can help with? Ahhhh the dream question. Instead of hoping they will ask it, why not just ask them to ask it… Problem solved. Even just him asking the question is enormously appreciated! After a long time of holding the fort and solo parenting, it makes such a difference to have an extra pair of willing hands!
2. Is there anything in the diary I need to be aware of?
CREATE YOUR OWN SET QUESTIONS
The best thing is for you and your partner to take the time to chat and create your own set of questions, with what each one wants to ask or be asked. It is such a helpful aid to communication and getting back on the same page!
Do be aware though that it is important not to use the questions or answers to manipulate each other but to be loving in what is asked of each other.
Lastly, but very importantly, be prepared to listen and then make the effort and space to meet each other’s needs!
Have you tried set questions? What questions do you use? Let me know @amulticulturallife