The Love Experiment
More than 20 years ago there was a psychologist by the name of Arthur Aron. His claim: He could make two strangers fall in love. This modern day “Cupid” claimed he only needed a few things: 1 male, 1 female, a laboratory, a list of 36 questions, and eye contact.
Let me explain a little further. In this study, a heterosexual man and woman entered a lab through separate doors. They proceeded to sit face to face and answer 36 questions of a personal nature. Finally, they stared into each other’s eyes for four minutes. The result: Cupid’s arrow was right on target. They were married six months later. Hmmm…skeptical? Too good to be true?
Do I think this recipe will make you and a complete stranger fall in love?
No, probably not. Here’s the thing…sharing personal thoughts, memories, and feelings does not equal love. There is more to loving someone. One major piece is that you have to like the person. You can stare into each other’s eyes, but that feeling of closeness will not completely rule all other thoughts and feelings.
So was it just luck that those strangers fell in love? I don’t know. I have no idea if they are still together. (I looked but could not find anything). The questions they use, do get you to share parts of yourself and encourage you to talk about real, personal things. These questions would tell you pretty quickly if you would be able to put up with the person sitting across from you.
What I like best about these questions is the idea of using them in a relationship that is already full of love. In that kind of setting, they would encourage more intimacy and connection, than they would with a stranger. These questions can help pull a distant couple back together and strengthen their friendship. I know when I went through them with my husband I learned things I had never knew…and we have been together forever over 13 years.
So whether you use these questions with a stranger or with one you already love, HAVE FUN. But remember, they are not cupid’s arrow. Love is never a guarantee.
Oh remember…answer them in order and don’t skip the starring part!
- 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 phone call, do you ever rehearse what you’re 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 choose?
- 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 you partner your life story in as much detail as possible.
- If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?
- 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 dreamt 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…”
- 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 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?
- Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?
- 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.
Now stare into each other’s eyes for 4 minutes.