As anyone who’s been in a relationship for more than a few months can tell you, human tendency pushes us all towards routine, especially when it comes to relationships with our significant other.
Like any couple, Matt and I have a weekly routine—wake up at 5:40 AM, stagger bathroom time, I drop off Matt at work before driving myself over to my school, and then time back at home is spent making dinner together, playing a movie in the background while we study (Matt) or blog (me), and then it’s off to bed around 8:30 PM for a good hour of reading and snuggling before lights out. Friday nights are date nights, in which we typically go to the tried-and-true local restaurants (like Angie’s) and come home to watch a movie after. Sunday nights we usually do games with friends, and whenever we happen to go back home to Bountiful, we usually stop by his parents’ house before going over to my folks’ place to sleep.
We create routines for a reason—they are predictable, easy, and — in a word — SAFE. Few surprises come up while going about the process of daily living, and it’s easy to start seeing each other in that same, safe, routine way.
There’s this scene in the movie Runaway Bride (one of my top 5 chick flicks of all time), in which one of the main characters (played by Richard Gere) goes to his ex-wife and asks her, “What went wrong? With us? With the two of us, I mean. It’s been . . . a long time. Do you remember?”
“Yeah…Do I remember? Of course I do.”
“Is that what…Did I do the same…Is that what happened? Did I just not SEE you?”
“No. No, you didn’t.”
Not that I’m a marriage expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve had enough experience with relationships to know that it can be all too easy to see our significant other the way they were when we first met (or got married) and then have a difficult time seeing them with new eyes as time goes on. We see our spouse daily doing the same routine things, and it becomes easy to think that that’s all they are—that we really KNOW them because we know their routines so completely.
And THAT is precisely one of the main reasons why trying out new things with your spouse is so crucial to your relationship—trying out new activities together forces you both to be in a novel situation, which helps you to open your eyes anew to those characteristics of your partner that you’d overlooked or never seen or forgotten about.
While in Yellowstone this past week, Matt and I took the plunge and decided to go snowmobiling into the west entrance of the park with a tour group. I’d never even touched a snowmobile before, much less ridden on one, and Matt had been on one only once, and it was a long time ago.
It was the perfect opportunity to see each other afresh, complete with funny outfits (saggy bums and all) and the realization that we’d have to be putting our trust in each other into practice, as we were sharing a machine and taking turns driving.
Besides the thrill of a new adventure, the day was special for another reason—
It reminded me that I’ve married a man who is talented and strong and a bit of a daredevil and that he is all these things in addition to being my husband. Sometimes I am guilty of pegging him into that box of “husband” and forgetting that he is a unique individual independent of that title of spouse.
We left the park that day with our eyes full of new sights and our minds filled with spectacular memories.
But most of all, we left the park with a renewed sense of why we work and why we fell in love with each other in the first place.
How have you trained yourself to see your significant other with new eyes? Do you think it’s important to try out new things together often?