Aren't you fascinated with how you ended up with your spouse? Why, out of all of the fishes in the sea, you two guppies got together? Was it his smile? His laugh? His cute little dimples?
I'm always eager to read about the latest ideas on why we are attracted to our significant others. David Brooks, the political commentator, author, and columnist for The New York Times, has written a new book called The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement. He covers a lot of stuff, but one thing he mentions is all of the subconscious reasons why we end up with who we end up with and, yup, he gives us some dating advice.
One of his hints: in order to get to know the person you are dating a little bit better, startle him.
Sounds crazy, right? It's really not that far off. As he explains:
When you startle someone, if they react with anger then you can tell something about their underlying temperament. If they laugh, you can tell something else.
That makes total sense to me, but as you know, I'm a big advocate for laughing, especially in marriage. So I decided to test this out. On my husband. We had our first date over 15 years ago and have been married for almost 10 (I'm feeling old just typing that), so I sure as hootie-hoo hope we know each other's underlying temperament.
As my husband was trying to unpack a new camera tripod for a film shoot this morning, I snuck beside him. And I screamed. He leapt across the room, holding the tripod in front of him as a weapon. My husband stared at me with nothing short of shock and disbelief, as if I had gone completely bonkers, as if I had gone totally Charlie Sheen on him, and then yelled, "Have you f#@!&(% lost your mind?!?!?!"
Okay, so, um, yeah, my startle technique was a wee-bit off. As I look back at it (and due to the fact that his ear is still ringing), it was definitely more of a crazypants "my wife needs to be committed to the loony bin" scream than anything close to a startle. He wasn't angry, per se, and we did end up laughing about it, but in hindsight, I wouldn't do it again. At least not that way.
But I think what David Brooks has to say about our subconscious and how it dictates decisions that we make is spot on. And if I were still in the dating scene, I'd take his advice ... I'd work on my startling technique, but I'd definitely take his advice.
Would you startle who you were dating to see his reaction?
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