Inquiry vs inquisition
Can you remember a time in your relationship when your partner has opposed or disappointed you
or you have felt attacked? Do you notice what comes up for you in those times? Perhaps anger,
rejection, self-righteous indignation?
Research has found that these conflicts arise in all relationships but that people in stable
relationships approach them differently to people in relationships destined for breakdown.
The difference is inquiry versus inquisition, or in other words, whether there is a sense of being on
the same team. In the inquisition there is a presumption of fault or blame, we ask questions only for
the purpose of proving ourselves right and they are generally, harsh, angry questions or statements.
The inquiry on the other hand seeks to understand why our partner has taken the position they
have. It is based in a level of respect for our partner and a desire to hear and understand what is
motivating their position.
Tip: Next time you find yourself in one of these situations, see if you can take off your inquisition had
and try some of the following questions:
It seems like this means a lot to you, could you tell me about why it’s so important for you?
Does this relate to your ethics or beliefs in some way?
Is this something you’ve experienced before? Is there a story related to this for you?
What would be the worst case or disaster scenario for you in this?
What would your ideal scenario be here?