Interview questions for grandparents about how they met and decided to get married are an excellent way to start recording your family history.
With Valentine’s Day approaching, it’s a fun topic and a timely opportunity to sit down and get those stories. I have some starter questions for you below to get you going. But always be bold and let the conversation flow naturally. I often reserve the last 15 minutes for a “lightning round” of all the questions I want to ask.
Lessons about Love Stories
During the past couple of months, it has been my absolute pleasure to interview a few gentlemen born and raised in southern India. They don’t know one another. But some of their children know each other, and that’s how I entered the equation — to create their life legacy books.
Anyway, I learned a vital lesson during these interviews. Just because you’ve been married 50, 60, or more years, there may not be a Hollywood love story behind that relationship. Both of these men found their wives through arranged marriages.
And while they love and enjoy their life with their spouses, they quickly shut down questions about the details and dating stories other couples enjoy sharing. And that’s perfectly fine and understandable.
As a recently divorced woman, I’ve thought about this topic of “love stories” a lot. Many of us fell in and out of love, or the ultimate love story didn’t have a perfect ending. This is to say that some couples will happily and excitedly share details about their “how we met” story, and others might prefer to talk about something else in their lives.
Questions for Interviewing Grandparents
- How did you first meet?
- What was your initial impression of each other?
- Can you share a memorable moment from your courtship?
- Tell me about some of your dates and what you did on them.
- What challenges did you face as a couple, and how did you overcome them?
- How did you decide to get married, and was there a memorable proposal?
- What were some of your favorite activities or hobbies to do together?
- Can you recall a particularly challenging time in your relationship and how you navigated it?
- Were any traditions or rituals significant to your relationship?
- How did you support each other’s dreams and aspirations?
- Can you share a funny or heartwarming story about your relationship?
- What advice do you give future generations about maintaining a solid relationship?
If One Grandparent Has Passed Away
Approaching the subject of love stories when one of your grandparents has passed away requires sensitivity. Consider speaking with other family members who may have heard the stories firsthand or have access to letters, diaries, or mementos that offer insights into their relationship journey.
You should approach the conversation with empathy, acknowledge the emotional nature of the topic, and express your genuine interest in preserving their legacy stories.
When I interviewed my Grandpa Pud about his life, I avoided the topic of his and Grandma Maxine’s relationship. She’d passed away two years before, and mentioning her name always made him sad and emotional.
But my grandparents had a fantastic wedding story! They eloped on Christmas Eve. My grandmother was a young school teacher, and Grandpa was a Navy man just home after serving in World War II. I have so many questions about why they eloped and chose Christmas Eve.
At the time, I didn’t want to make Grandpa feel sad. So, I didn’t ask him… And I have regretted it ever since. Sometimes, it’s easier for an outsider who doesn’t know your family’s history to ask these questions. My point is, don’t wait. Just ask. The worst that happens is they say they don’t want to answer.
What to Do With the Recorded Stories
Once you’ve interviewed your grandparents or talked to family members to hear their memories, turn that information into something your entire family can enjoy.
One of my great-grandmothers (that’s her to the right) wrote down her memories about life and marriage just after her husband passed away. I think it was a chance for her to relive the good times and help get through life without him. About 30 years later, I turned those stories into a book so all the great-grandkids of my generation and our children would know Angie Dickey Wirt and what her life was like. You can learn more about my great-grandma in this blog post.
- Love Story Scrapbook: Create a scrapbook filled with interview responses and photos of their life together.
- Family Podcast: Turn the stories into a fun and lively podcast, and share it with your grandparents’ family and friends.
- Custom Love Notes: Pick out sweet quotes or memorable interview lines and create custom love notes. Write them on the back of photos of your grandparents, or frame the quotes. Share them with your grandparents and the rest of the family!
- Grandkids as Interviewer: Have younger generations of the family interview your grandparents and see what questions they ask. Videotape the interviews and share them with other family members.
- Custom Legacy Book: A great way to preserve family stories and memories is by turning them into a customized legacy book.
Connect with us, and let’s transform your grandparents’ stories into a keepsake as unique as theirs.