Photo: Dave Robbins Photography
By the time you get married, you should know everything about your significant other, right? Wrong. "When a couple is falling in love, every second and every bit of information about each other is fascinating," says Alisa Ruby Bash, licensed marriage counselor. "Often, though, when a couple gets married, they see each other as a safe space to retreat to at the end of a stressful day at work. However, when two people are healthy individuals, they will continue to grow and develop new facets of their personalities and new interests. There is always more to learn, as we are always changing."
To keep learning about your spouse, use these six expert tips.
Have regular happiness checkups.
"You should have conversations every six months or so about how you are feeling in all areas of your lives, and if there is anything that would make you happier," says Bash. "Focusing on the positive and your dreams is a great way to stay close and grow together."
Try new things together.
"Whether its a new restaurant, new hobby, new vacation destination, or even new grocery store, break the monotony of the familiar by leaving your comfort zone as a couple," suggests Bash. "Being a little uncomfortable or in different surroundings is a great way to get to know each other better and see new sides that may come out."
Take regular walks together.
Not only is it great exercise, but walks are a bonding experience. "Having discussions about whatever is important that day allows both of you to keep in sync with each other's daily lives," Bash says. "Sometimes, it can trigger old memories, or at least let you both know what is relevant in the moment to each other, away from the distraction of TV, computers, phones, household chores, or kids that need attention."
Hang out with each other's oldest friends.
"Friends that have known us through different phases of our lives always bring out a different side of us," says Bash. "And often you will see your spouse acting a little different with their old friends. It can be very exciting to see the young, carefree side of your spouse that this friend triggers." Just let your friends know if there are any off-the-table topics, such as intimate stories about exes.
Take classes together.
"Even if you are very busy, you can usually find time to do a one-day workshop about something that intrigues you both," suggests Bash. "This will surely evoke new conversations and help you grow together."
Ask each other's families for stories.
"Getting together and hearing stories from childhood will always give you new insights into your partner, and usually be entertaining," Bash says. "We also all have unmet needs from childhood, whether it was the puppy we never got or the praise or attention we never received, and you can try now to give that to your partner. It can be very healing and help you know and understand your partner even more."