Because he had to patiently wait for me to decide to go out with him (2 years before our first date), he decided that this first date couldn’t be your typical supper and a movie. At the time, I was in college in Arkansas. He planned a canoe trip down the Buffalo River with a dear friend and his wife, complete with a picnic on a little island. It was peaceful, intimate, and beautifully memorable – despite the fact that he knocked me out cold (a story for another time).
In my opinion, there are two main facets of romance. There is the day to day serving, and then there are the planned moments of surprise.
“They totally get me.”
“It is so easy to communicate with them.”
“I can be myself completely myself in their presence.”
“I want to spend the rest of my life with them.”
“They are so beautiful.”
“I want to have their babies.”
“They give awesome foot massages.” (No kidding…we really heard this one. And the person was serious.)
However, in our opinion, the only correct answer for this question is:
“Because I want to spend the rest of my life serving them.”
After 20 years of marriage, we know how hard life, relationships, and circumstances can be. What if, for some reason, they quit “getting” you. What if they quit communicating? What if they don’t age well? What if they can’t have children? What if they quit giving foot massages?
If you determine that your role in this marriage is to serve the other person, then it doesn’t matter whether or not they live up to your expectations. You serve no matter what.
There is a big difference between choosing to serve, and being a servant. Christ calls us to be servants.
In a relationship, being a servant is the meat and potatoes. The art of surprising, however, is the dessert!
While we often think of serving as limited to meeting our loved one’s needs and wants, surprising them goes one step further. Surprising is intentional, requires planning. Surprising is outside of the ordinary. Surprising is based on anticipating a desire. Surprising requires really knowing the other person and plotting an event around the goal of thrilling their hearts.
The basic necessity in surprising your loved one is to know them. What is your spouse’s clothing size? Where do they like to shop? How can you surprise them in the areas of: food, sports, intellectual interests, vacations, hobbies? Do you know what they’re reading? What their present interests are? What their favorite music is? What their hopes, dreams, fears are? What is tempting them right now? If they were to have a day completely free of responsibilities, what would they do? Where would they spend their time? With whom would they spend it?
At least once a month, plan a surprise that took some work. (I recommend doing it on the day of the month on which your spouse was born. If their birthday is March 14th, then the 14th of every month, plan a surprise).
A few ideas:
A thoughtful gift.
A night in a hotel.
Arrange supper for them with their friends.
Spouse Appreciation Day where everything is their favorite.
Write a poem/song.
Have a picnic inside.
Create an appreciation treasure hunt.
Create a day around their hobby.
A small gift.
A candlelit meal.
Flowers/letter to their office.
Make their favorite dessert.