Stepping outside of your comfort zone is not just for the dating arena, where being impressive is the name of the game. It actually becomes even more important in marriage. Sometimes in very big ways like supporting a job transition, and other times in very small ways like…agreeing to play a video game? Yes, like agreeing to play a video game.
I do not like video games. I think video games are silly, distracting, a poor investment of time, isolating, and sedentary. Until I met my husband, who happens to enjoy video games, I had a very rooted stereotype in my mind of what a video gamer was like. So when the latest (and greatest?) Pokémon Go was released, my response was the equivalent of a tsk and an eye roll. Think about it… it is all about wandering around to catch imaginary creatures on a cell phone! It sounds absolutely nuts.
What I do like, however, is going on long walks. I think the fresh air, exercise, and interaction does my heart and mind so much good. It gives me opportunities to decompress and destress and it’s where some of my favorite conversations have happened.
Last week my husband asked if I wanted to bring Leia, our puppy, and walk around downtown Indy to play Pokémon Go together. My first reaction was to tell him how stupid I thought this phone game was. I proceeded with my first reaction. As someone who strongly dislikes playing video games, why in the world would I be interested in playing? He usually doesn’t jump at opportunities to go walking with Leia and I, especially not for two hours, but because of Pokémon Go he is actually suggesting it? At this moment I realized that I had two options. One, I could concede to my rooted dislike of video games and refuse his offer to play the game with him. Or, I could choose to be thankful for the way Louis was reaching out to spend time with me and do something I normally wouldn’t.
Louis and I spent somewhere between three an four hours downtown that afternoon. Leia and I walked with Louis as he guided us through the streets of downtown to the nearest Pokémon and the plethora of Pokéstops located at various monuments downtown throughout the city. Louis and I held hands and threw digital Pokéballs. We talked about life and we talked about who had control over the closest Pokémon gym. I got to work on training Leia among the people and distractions while Louis got to work on training his Pokémon in the game. Leia, too, enjoyed the new sights, smells, and various people who were eager to pet her.
By the end, all three of us were sweaty, tired, and very happy.
After getting married, it has been easy for me to fall back on my personality (whether by nature, nurture, or both) and stop getting out of my comfort zone to please my (now) husband. I figure that since my husband already knows X about me, I am justified in not having to do X. X becomes all sorts of things, from playing video games, to staying out late, to listening to certain radio stations in the car. All of these are small examples, but they do reveal something about my heart and the limitations I’ve put on how I will love my husband.
Don’t draw the line at stepping outside of your comfort zone to impress a date. Be willing to step outside of your comfort zone to love your husband, too.