How well do you know your partner? Probably pretty well. You know their tendencies and preferences that pop up on a daily basis. You have a good idea of their triggers and what gets them riled up in an argument. So here’s another question for you: When was the last time you learned something new about them?
When you’re first dating, it seems you’re constantly learning new things about each other, and you can’t get enough. You’re still getting to know all the different facets of one another, and you hear new stories and tidbits at every turn.
Flash forward to a point in time when you’ve been together for years. How often are you learning something new about each other now? While you and your spouse probably aren’t changing drastically on the daily, the fact is that you do grow and change as individuals over time. However, it’s often in ways that aren’t going to come up in your usual day-to-day conversations. So how do you keep up with these changes in each other? How do you keep learning new things about your spouse when you’ve been together for years? What if we challenged you to do just that? Sounds simple enough, right? Here are some tips to get you started:
Dig deeper. There is a lot you already know about your partner. But do you know the deeper reasoning behind those things? The history? The why? Let your curiosity get the best of you and ask questions to find out. Maybe the next time it’s your turn to cook dinner, you ask your spouse if chicken pot pie is still their favorite meal. You might find out they’ve actually been loving something else even more lately, or they might confirm that yep, that’s still their fave. If it’s the latter, ask them what they love about it. The answer could be simple (“Because it’s delicious and comforting, of course!”), or you might be surprised to learn something new (“It reminds me of when we’d visit my grandparents’ farm.”)
Do a quiz. They might have a reputation for being kind of corny, but those “How well do you know each other” quizzes can actually be a fun way to spark conversation and learn something new about each other. Plus, you can find a countless to choose from with a simple internet search. Pull one up on your next date night. Make it fun and focus on learning about each other, not worrying about your score. Make it a tradition by doing one on every anniversary, or add a twist by seeing if you can stump each other (ultimately learning something new in the process).
Set yourself up for good conversations. The TV is blaring, the kids are running wild, and your spouse is trying to respond to an urgent email before you sit down for dinner. Needless to say, this is probably not the most ideal time for a good conversation. Instead, take advantage of or try to create moments when you have limited physical distractions, a fully present mindset, and nothing to make you feel hurried or rushed. This gives you a chance to get past the usual surface level banter about how your day was and the home maintenance chores you need to get done, and get into the good stuff. Maybe it’s about your relationship, personal struggles you’re having, or even an in-depth analysis of the latest episode of your favorite show. When you can share your deepest thoughts, feelings, and opinions with each other, you also set the stage for learning new things about each other.
Let them surprise you. There’s a sense of comfort in knowing each other well. It can be a way that you show love and feel loved in return, like when your partner knows exactly how you like your coffee or your ideal way to spend a Friday night. Of course, the negative side of this is when you begin to make assumptions and predictions about one another, inadvertently boxing each other into “the usual.” Giving your spouse the space to stretch outside of their usual tendencies allows you to see new sides of them.
It feels good to know your spouse well. It would actually be a bit strange if you didn’t, right? But as human beings, we’re dynamic; we grow, change, and evolve over time. This means that In order to fully know each other over the course of your marriage, you have to put effort into continuously learning about each other. So lean into that curiosity and accept this challenge to learn something new about your spouse today.