Let me start by saying I’m no love doctor: I’m the furthest thing from it. Allow me to explain.
You know the seven wonders of the world? The Taj Mahal, the Pyramids — sights so surreal & mind boggling they make you question your place in the universe? When it comes to love, I was the eighth wonder of the world: an oblivious, pervasively single, WTF train-wreck, disastrous masterpiece wonder, so surreal & mind boggling, that yes, it totally made me question my place in the universe.
Face planting & butt fracturing aside, I will tell you, I’m grateful for every bit of the journey: what its taught me & where its brought me.
Since my Love-Mojo was on the track for crash & burn, I realized a user manual was in order. In my quest, I came across some eye opening reading. Coupled with much soul searching, time & adventures, it ultimately led me to something beautiful.
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I want to share with you one such profound article I found in my search for Love Mojo. Dr. Arthur Aron performed an experiment to see if you could make two people fall in love. The results were incredibly intriguing: folks from all over the world attested these 36 questions led them to fall in love; some couples even went on to get married months later. Here is the full article, featured in the New York Times Modern Love Column by Mandy Catron.
Here’s how it works: you & your partner take turns, asking each other 36 questions in 1 session, it takes about 50 minutes. The personal level of the questions increase with each set, there are 3. The idea is you can accelerate intimacy, by creating mutual vulnerability, which takes weeks/months to build in a relationship.
When you’re done with the questions, (and stay with me on this next part), you stare into each other’s eyes for 4 minutes…that’s right, 4 minutes! I know it sounds cheesy and a bit creepy even? That’s what I thought too! But I will say, staring into a stranger’s eyes for 4 minutes is something I tried in a meditation class once, and it’s incredibly powerful. I started out feeling silly at first, then awkward, then terrified, and once I surrendered to all that, I was shocked at how profoundly vulnerable and moved it left me feeling. It connects you with another person deeply, past any judgement, and I found it to be very affirming. After this exercise, even though I haven’t seen buddies from that class in years, I feel immense affection & closeness for them. Try it, and you’d be surprised where it takes you. Just don’t turn into this guy & practice this kind of eye contact in random places okay?
Here are Dr. Aron’s 36 questions, good luck!
1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
6. 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?
7. Do you have a secret hunch on how you will die?
8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.
9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
11. Take 4 minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.
12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?
13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
16. What do you value most in a friendship?
17. What is your most treasured memory?
18. What is your most terrible memory?
19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
20. What does friendship mean to you?
21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?
22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.
23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?
24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?
25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling … “
26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share..”
27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.
28. 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.
29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.
30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.
32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
33. 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?
34. 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?
35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?
36. 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.
Happy Love-Mojo, people!