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1.22.2015

The Frontiers of Adulthood: Standing in Love


So, I'm assuming you've read about those 36 questions. The 36 questions (and the 4 minute staring contest) that will magically make even strangers fall in love. If you haven't read about it, this is what I'm talking about.

Of course I was completely fascinated by this whole idea, but wasn't looking to fall in love with a stranger especially since I'm married and happily in love already thankyouverymuch...but something about it made me wonder, "could this make me fall even more in love with my husband?"

To be fair, I actually call it "standing in love" now (a reference from one of my favorite books, The Art of Loving.) I've already fallen in love. Now, I stand in it...and standing in it, I think for a lot of people, is much more challenging.

Naturally, I brought up this magical list of questions to Charles and we decided over the long weekend that we would give it a go and see what happens.

Cut to Sunday night. Freshly coming off of a 4 hour videogaming binge, fed, and lounging on the couch, we figured it was the perfect time to take this on. We paused our game (we wanted background music), poured ourselves a drink and got comfortable. The questions were sitting on the coffee table, printed out...their potential for deep, soulful love just vibrating...waiting to burst forth in a flurry of psychologically-supported rainbows.

We decided to pass the questions back and forth, taking turns reading and answering first and I gotta say that the outcome of this entire exercise was really interesting.

Aside from a few questions that didn't make sense for us like #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) - we basically looked at each other and said "we already answered honestly earlier" and then ended up saying stupid things like "your smile's real nice" and "I like your clothes" - I realized that there were some things we, as busy, neurotic, anxious adults had forgotten to share with each other during our marriage thus far.

Both of us laughed, both of us cried, and I think both of us realized that our other half thought more about us than we had originally suspected.

A few interesting things I learned:
  • My idea of a perfect day is the same as my husband's.
  • My husband's most treasured memory is...our wedding. (Insert gushy feelings here.)
  • My husband thinks I'm talented. (It's just not something you ask your other half...you just hope they think you bring some value to the world. Sure, I'm constantly telling my husband he's a genius, but I'm a chatterbox and he's the strong, silent type.)
There are other things...possibly too personal or too grossly mushy to mention.
Meanwhile, to give you the other side's perspective, here are a few things my husband learned:
  • My childhood was more traumatic than his.
  • We look for the same things in our friends.
  • I'm better at telling my life story than he is.
We decided to skip the looking-into-each-others'-eyes-for-4-minutes part of the prescribed session (probably because one of us would inevitably make a funny face or turn it into a "don't blink" contest...I would've lost a contact from my eyes drying out...the dog would have tried to break up our romantic stare-down.) In short, that part didn't happen for many reasons.

But still, I will say that it took things to another level in our marriage. It made me realize that there's so much more about my husband I want to know and though I could look at our situation as "we have years and years to learn about each other," starting now doesn't hurt.

So, even if you're already in love, dating, engaged, married a year, married 10 years, married 20 years and so on. Even if that's the case, I suggest you go through these 36 questions. It's a lot of fun, but also helps you be present and pay full attention to your other half which, let's be honest, is really difficult to do these days with everything going on around us.

You may find some things out you never knew and you might just fall a little bit more in love. And even if you're not seriously dating anyone, you might as well see if you can fall in love with a stranger. Would love to hear about your experiences!

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