Sitting back in my chair after a pleasant dinner, I watched our friend’s 8-month old twins scarf down their dessert – delicious looking, homemade energy bites. After inquiring about the recipe, I was informed that the chocolatey, peanut buttery Pinterest find was partially healthy because quinoa was the main ingredient.
“Have you ever had quinoa?” she asked. No sooner had, “I haven’t, but I’ve always wanted to try it” came out of my mouth did Tim pipe up with an enthusiastic, “I have!”.
For a guy who doesn’t like mushrooms, I was rather shocked. I’m sure the surprise was written all over my expression. As a culinary enthusiast and avid eater, I consider my palette well informed, so I was surprised Tim had tried a food I hadn’t. The surprise didn’t stop there. When I wondered out loud what restaurant he had tried quinoa at, Tim informed our little gathering that he had made it at home once or twice. I was so impressed that, as a bachelor, my husband had cooked quinoa, a fairly obscure grain, for dinner more than once.
That casual conversation around the table led to a fun discovery and an important reminder: [pullquote position=”right”]getting to know your spouse isn’t a one-time accomplishment. Husbands and wives should be life-long learners[/pullquote] – about each other!
Once the basics are out of the way – family, hobbies, goals, personality type – it’s easy to let learning take a back seat. You know you love the person, so much so that you chose to spend the rest of your life with them, but in the long run, that love isn’t a substitute for intimate knowledge.
My dating relationship with Tim started with hours and hours of conversation. Now, more than 18 months into our marriage and endless conversations later, I’m still learning new things about him. Some are fun facts, like his cooking habits; others are serious, like fears and past pain. All are worthwhile new discoveries.
Sometimes I feel bad when I find out I didn’t know something about Tim, but I’m realizing there’s no reason to feel like a bad spouse when you discover new things about the person you married. People change and there will always be more to discover about your bride or groom. That’s part of what makes relationships exciting.
Life-long learning can be passive, a la my quinoa discovery, but the benefits will be richer and more meaningful if the pursuit of knowledge is purposeful. Build time into your schedule to ask questions, try new things, and dig deeper into the person you married. Actively listen and engage when they speak. Study. Notice. Don’t forget to share the fun things you discover. It’s affirming to know someone appreciates your nuances and is excited to learn these new factoids.
All the new things I learn about Tim (the good, the bad, and the ugly) make me love and admire the man I married even more. So, why would I not continue to actively pursue learning about one of my favorite topics?
Life-long learning requires communication and conversation. If, like myself, those things don’t always come easy to you, check out these resources for jumpstarting your path to new discoveries:
- The Joy Project – A long list of good Conversation Kick Starters for Couples
- (affiliate link) Table Topics – Makes get to know you questions seem more like a game than an interrogation. Great for families too. (My family has used them for new significant others and to stimulate good dinner conversation).
What are some fun things you’ve learned about your spouse lately? How are you a life-long learner in your marriage?
P.S. I finally made quinoa for the first time last week! (I used this recipe for Broccoli Quinoa Casserole and it was delicious.)