In a 1997 SUNY Stony Brook study, psychologist Arthur Aron explored whether intimacy between two perfect strangers could be accelerated by having them ask each other the 36 personal questions below.
Since Dr. Aron created the quiz, he’s even seen it rekindle the romance in long-term relationships. “When you’re first in a romantic relationship, there’s an intense excitement, but then you grow used to each other,” Dr. Aron told Berkeley News. “If you do something new and challenging, that reminds you of how exciting it can be with your partner, it makes your relationship better.”
These 36 questions that lead to love take about 45 minutes to complete, with each becoming increasingly personal and intense. Dr. Aron and his wife Elaine, a psychologist who also studies love and relationships, have also used the quiz to bond with couple friends (platonically) over dinner dates.
Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
Would you like to be famous? In what way?
Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
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 want?
Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.
For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.
If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be? Of all the 36 questions that lead to love, this one is one of our favourites to think about!
If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
What do you value most in a friendship?
What is your most treasured memory?
What is your most terrible memory?
If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
What does friendship mean to you?
What roles do love and affection play in your life?
Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.
How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?
How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?
Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling …”
Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share …” Here’s some more happy marriage advice every couple should know.
If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.
Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.
Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.
When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
Tell your partner something that you like about them already.
What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
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?
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? Listen to this marriage advice from divorced people.
Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?