"What do you think makes you difficult to deal with? What behaviors do I exhibit that shut down your desire for intimacy?"

These are just a few of many hard-hitting questions included in the new relationship based card game, The Talk: Couple Edition.

Joy Fitzgerald, the game's creator, is also an author, motivational speaker, mother and wife. She shared that though she had always wanted to write a book, the process sometimes felt overwhelming and daunting. In 2018, with support from her husband and two adult children, Fitzgerald published The Journey to Joy: 5 Generations Share Stories Every Woman Needs To Hear and The Journal to Joy. Not long after her books were released, Fitzgerald began working on developing the card game.

The Talk aims to spark deep conversations between partners. Couples draw a card and read it aloud. After one person answers, it’s the other's turn to respond to the same question. There are five simple rules:

  1. Be present.
  2. Listen.
  3. Reserve all judgment.
  4. Remember the goal is not to necessarily agree.
  5. Be vulnerable.

There is no winner in The Talk, only a better understanding of both participants and hopefully, a deeper connection.

Photo credit: Joy Fitzgerald with husband.

Blavity sat down with Fitzgerald to learn more about her newly released relationship-focused card game.

Blavity: What made you want to create the game, [The Talk: Couple Edition]?

Joy Fitzgerald: We love games in the Fitzgerald household. It is one of the ways we connect, spend quality time and have fun. I wanted to create a way in which couples can learn things about each other while keeping the atmosphere lively and enjoyable. Quality time in conversation should be fun and something people look forward to. I want people to get comfortable having The Talk with each other. I feel that many people talk to their friends, relatives, parents, etc. about their partners. I want to redirect those conversations to be with the people in the relationship.

Blavity: What inspired the name The Talk?

Fitzgerald: The name was inspired by my daughter Taylor Fitzgerald. She is one of the most creative people that I know and I consult with her to get ideas. While trying to come up with a name for the card game, she asked, "What do you really want people to do?" That was easy. I want couples to have deep dialogue around topics that don't come up in everyday conversation. Basically, I want couples to have the talk. Hence, the name was determined.

Blavity: Did your husband have any input in the questions?

Fitzgerald: Absolutely! We have been happily married for 25-plus years. Our marriage is the inspiration for the game and the questions. The guided questions in the card deck, chronicle many of the things we have talked about over the years. We have a marriage and a best friend relationship because we invest in communicating often and with deep purpose. My husband is my best supporter and thought partner. 

Blavity: Have your friends and family played the game? What were their thoughts?

Fitzgerald: Yes, [they have]. Over the Christmas holiday, I sat down with several couples and observed them playing the card game. It was a blast. I learned so much. It was awesome to see how one question sparked such a deep discussion for the couples. The couple who had been married the longest was shocked at how much they learned in the first three questions. For the couple that was dating, the young lady commented that she learned more in one hour than she had in one year of knowing him. I was delighted to see how the men enjoyed this as much as the women. At first, they were a little nervous. 

Blavity: What impact are you hoping this game has for folks in a relationship?

Fitzgerald: I want them to feel heard and understood in a safe and fun environment. I hope that couples gain skills in better understanding each other through quality conversation and that they keep having them.

Blavity: Will there be another edition of The Talk?

Fitzgerald: Yes, there will be another edition. I am already working on the next project.

Blavity: Where can the Blavity fam find the game?

Fitzgerald: Blavity family can find the game on my website speakingjoy.org, [and they can] follow my Instagram and Facebook at @speakingjoy.

Blavity: Before wrapping, can you share your top three pieces of advice for a strong relationship

Fitzgerald: Quality time. Never stop dating and chasing love. Be intentional in creating moments that make your partner feel special, heard and valued. Develop True Friendship. Being friends is an enduring love that never ends. It extends beyond intimacy and being “in love.” It’s the love that lasts a lifetime. Love the version of the one you are with. When you celebrate the best in a person, they will be motivated to make their best even better.

While love is in the air, take time to sit down with your partner to check-in. The Talk seems like a fun way to learn new and exciting things. It's important to have these complex conversations that at first may feel uncomfortable, but breaking out of comfort zones is what advances relationships to the next level.