My Favorite Yankee and I (his Favorite Southern Belle) recently participated in an exercise based on a New York Times article about an essay by Mandy Len Cantron called, “To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This.” She references a study by Arthur Aron, a psychologist, that asks whether intimacy between two strangers can be accelerated by answering a series of 36 questions. The idea is that being vulnerable makes you closer.
The Yankee and I have never done anything like this. Before we married 17 years ago, we had pre-marital counseling mandated by the Episcopal church but that is the closest we have come. So we sat down on a Saturday afternoon and enjoyed our dialogue based on the 36 questions. Based on our experience, I highly recommend this to any couple.
The questions start simply with such examples as, “If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, who would it be?” The Yankee said Joe Biden, and I indicated Barack Obama. No surprises there. “Do you want to be famous? If so for what?” The Yankee would desire fame for music (He was a saxophonist in the Air Force Band, played in a dance band in New York, and once played back-up for Frank Sinatra). I would like to be famous for my writing. The questions then progress to a deeper level dealing with such things as problems you need help solving, regrets you’ve had in life, or whose death in your family would disturb you the most.
When we completed the exercise, I asked my Yankee if he learned anything new about me. He said no and I am not surprised as I am very open with him. I told him that I learned a couple of things about him I did not know and I think it was helpful for him to voice them,
A relationship is a journey and I really feel this experience enriched our journey. I challenge my readers to try it.