Restaurant.com partnered with New York Times best-selling author Keith Ferrazzi to conduct a research project on fostering relationships of all varieties through dining.
The result was five conversation guides for various dining occasions, including family, friends, significant others, colleagues, and clients. Each week, we will be sharing one of those dining guides on The Dish, along with a real-world example of what the guides can do to improve relationships.
This week’s guide is for significant others. If you try the guide with your own significant other, let us know how it went in the comments section below.
Rekindling a Once-Blazing Relationship
After nearly 25 years of marriage, Margaret and Fred were at a crossroads. With their youngest child just off to college, their lives were taking on a new rhythm. Fred thought they needed to figure out what it would mean for their relationship. He was a little worried. They needed to talk, really talk, which they didn’t do much anymore.
When Fred stumbled on a Facebook post about building stronger relationships with a spouse via conversation while dining out, it was quite by chance. He wouldn’t have been able to take Restaurant.com and Ferrazzi Greenlight up on the offer in his younger years, with jobs and kids filling every moment. But he and Margaret sure loved a good meal. Fred signed up and downloaded The Greenlight Guide for Dining with Significant Others, which suggested topics and questions for increasing intimacy through conversation. It was just the nudge Fred needed to act on his worries. So he announced to the pleasantly perplexed Margaret that they would be going out for their 24th–and-a-half anniversary.
Returning to what had been their favorite intimate little restaurant as a young couple helped Fred open up, and he let the Guide steer him through a conversation with his beloved. He asked Margaret to think of her favorite memory from their life together and she recalled something that they hadn’t thought of in years—their honeymoon in Costa Rica. They had stayed in a secluded cabin and Fred had serenaded his young bride every night with some of her favorite songs.
He then moved into more vulnerable territory and asked: What is your biggest unrealized dream? Margaret answered at length and then returned the question. It wasn’t long before they realized that they were ready to take the time to rediscover each other, maybe even ready for a major change. By the end of the meal, they had decided to retire at the end of next year and do some traveling overseas.
It was the first time in a while, Fred reported, that they had really focused on the us of their relationship—and they were surprised by how truly excited it made them.
Years can fly for busy people. Without actually making an effort to communicate and reflect, the chance may never come. The solution is simple: A quiet meal and the courage to ask a few well chosen questions are often enough to get even tense relationships back on track.
The Greenlight Dining Guides—which cover clients, colleagues, family, friends, and spouses—are a collaboration between Restaurant.com and Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone and chairman of myGreenlight Academy. To make the guides as useful as possible for Restaurant.com’s users, Ferrazzi’s expertise in relationship-building meal-time conversation is bolstered by other specialists in the field of psychology, relationships, and communication, including Veronica Berenstein, PhD; John Gottman, PhD; Mark Goulston, MD; Dave Joseph, LICSW; Ramdas Menon, CHt; and Ziggy Yoediano, MD, MBA. For more advice and guidance on developing fulfilling interpersonal relationships, check out Keith Ferrazzi’s blog.