Whether you’re rocking a Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy relationship, or an Al & Marcy Bundy relationship, adding an element of surprise is guaranteed to take any relationship to the next level. Using the listening techniques I spoke about in a previous post, you have access to an on-demand “spark” for your relationship. When and how you want to use it is your choice.
The ordinary progression of a relationship goes as follows:
Infatuation -> Contentment -> Safe -> Predictable
But you don’t want to be ordinary; otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this. There is absolutely no reason to settle for mediocrity, when you can achieve so much more.
Finding the Surprise
The key to a successful surprise is finding a pattern. During the course of normal conversation, listen for clues from your significant other. I recently took Jessica to London for a weekend. We found a quaint little bookshop which she absolutely adored. It was definitely one of her favorite stops of the entire trip. She wanted to devour every book in their catalog, but she fain left with three books in her possession.
When we got home from our trip, we looked through the our photos. We inevitably came across photos of the bookstore, and Jessica’s eyes lit up again, instantly. Her excitement was irrefragably obvious. I found my pattern. That’s right, you only need as little as two occurrences to classify your pattern. The quicker you classify the pattern, the quicker you can execute the surprise.
It’s been almost two months since we went to London, and just yesterday I gave Jessica a gift. The gift was one of the books she fancied – but didn’t get – while we were in London. She was elated, not only to get a gift she genuinely wanted, but also that I listened and remembered the small things.
I’m not saying you need to go to London as a surprise for your significant other (although, from personal experience, it works pretty well), but you can do little things to emulate bigger things, until you’ve properly prepared for the big things.
The main key to an effective surprise is time. When you find the pattern, whether you’ll be taking your significant other somewhere, creating something, or buying a gift, you have to add time to the equation. There isn’t a rule written in stone, but here are a few ballpark numbers to get you started.
- Restaurant Date -> three weeks
- Gift Item -> one-two months
- Destination Trip -> two-three months
- Creative Creation -> one-three weeks
These estimate “wait times” can be left completely to your own discretion. I only suggest them because I have used them with repeated success. Discretion can be used to your advantage, but the key is to listen to your heart. If you feel like the time is now, go for it. If you feel like it’s not yet time, wait for it. You’ll never go wrong when you’re listening to yourself.
Keeping the Edge
Once you’ve successfully executed a surprise – from inception to action – start planning the next one! One of the crucial human needs is uncertainty. We need uncertainty just as much as we need certainty. When things become too predictable, they become boring. Don’t let things become boring. The power is in your hands. It’s completely up to you. Develop your own successful pattern of surprise to get the edge in your relationship.
Remember that this is not a one-way road. When you give love, you receive love. When you give surprise, you will receive surprise. This should never be your motivation – in fact, you won’t be successful if it is – but it’s a bonus reward for your efforts. However, once you’ve implemented your surprise strategy, you won’t need any bonus rewards. The feeling of contentment you receive from giving surprise is more than enough reward.
When you get a win, don’t let it get away from you. Once you get the edge, keep it.