Thursday, January 10, 2019

How I fell in love with my wife - again!

I've been in sales for nearly 10 years now and I've learned some very important concepts in human relationships.  Most of these concepts are counter intuitive to what we typically think of when the word "salesman or saleswoman" come to mind.

A good salesperson has two qualities or skills that can make him or her successful.  First, they have the ability to ask good questions.  These aren't run of the mill questions with simple "yes" or "no" answers.  Rather, these questions cause the one being questioned to pause and really think before answering.  Second, a good salesperson has incredible listening skills.  He or she truly hears the answers to the questions they have asked.  They are truly interested in what the client is saying,  A good salesperson listens to learn not simply to respond.

So, what does this have to do with falling in love with my wife again?  These same skills are what makes for a deep, personal, intimate relationship.  Is it easy?  No way!  In fact, it's often extremely difficult.  After years of marriage we may find ourselves not asking questions for fear of the answers!  We may discover that we can't wait for our spouses lips to stop moving so we can vomit our opinion and ideas at them.  We may even, after years of living together, think we know everything there is to know about our spouse.  We don't and that can be a very good thing.

Recently Nicole and I traveled to Cincinnati for my company's Christmas party.  We left 8 kids at home to fend for themselves and each other.  In Cincy we stayed at a nice hotel, ate incredible food, and enjoyed drinks and great laughs with my co-workers.  Back at the hotel we crawled in bed, sans kids, and watched the New Orleans Saints beat the Carolina Panthers.  It was icing on the cake for a great evening!

All of this helped us bond as a couple.  We need those times away.  We need to be with other adults.  Yet with all of the great food and drink, laughs and conversation, a nice hotel and a Saints win, there was one thing on our mind; getting back in the car and driving home.

The drive from our home to the hotel was about 2.5 hours.  That's a lot of windshield time and if there's not much being said it can often feel like double that amount of time.  So, before we left I suggested we try something different.  I had read about the 36 Questions years ago but had never really looked into it.  These 36 Questions are supposed to be able to bring two people who just met really close through a series of increasingly personal questions, they may even fall in love.

Nicole and I can safely say that we are in love and haven't recently met but I thought it couldn't hurt to give it a try.  So for 2.5 hours we went through nearly half the questions.  We shared laughs, dreams, and ideas.  I learned a lot about my wife that I never knew before and it was fantastic.  She learned things about me that I had never told her before.  We grew closer as the miles went by.

When it was time to hurry home, before the CR-V changed from a carriage back to a 4-cylinder grocery-soccer-gymnastics-scouts-wagon, we couldn't wait to for the long drive back home.  We finished the questions and grew ever closer.  We even discussed going through the questions again only this time recording our answers on video for our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to watch years after we're gone.  I'd give anything to have something like that from my parents and grandparents.

No matter the state of your relationship today, I highly recommend giving the 36 Questions a try.  Maybe just go through one each day after the kids are in bed or make a weekend getaway and just focus on the questions and answers.  You don' t have to be a salesperson to ask great questions or listen intently.  I wasn't trying to sell Nicole on anything.  Okay, maybe I was trying to re-sell her on the decision she made 19 years ago when she said yes.  After the 36 Questions and our short time away together I think she's going to renew the contract for another 19 years!

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