Let’s talk about adventure. Specifically, adventure in dating. Why? Because we all want a relationship that will go the distance, one that will endure. We want someone who will be there for us, year after year. As we wrote in our first post , there are questions you can begin asking now that will help you decide whether this person you’re dating is someone you can go the distance with, someone you can create vibrant, humming, electric space with….
Create space? What do we mean by creating space? In our book The Zimzum of Love, we explain how a relationship is about creating space in your life for this other person to thrive while they’re doing the same for you. What this does is create space between you—energetic space in which love flows freely between you.
Now here’s the truth that a lot of people miss, causing them no end of confusion and heartache: The space between you is always changing because life is always changing.
Sometimes it’s because of seasons of life—one of you gets a new job, you move, you have kids, one of you is injured, one of your parents needs to move in with you for a bit, your kids grow up and leave the house—the list goes on and on, doesn’t it?
Other times it’s because you’ve changed—you’ve had new experiences, you’ve grown, matured, you see things in a new way.
Whatever causes the change, it always affects the space between you. Sometimes a couple wonders why things aren’t going well between them, and the truth is, they’re acting like they used to and things have changed and they haven’t adapted.
Now, here’s where adventure comes in. You have to see it all as adventure … life, marriage, being in a relationship, adjusting and adapting to new seasons—it’s all an adventure you get to go on with this person you love. (So many people see marriage as a weight, a burden, an obstacle to overcome as they try to get through it together … sound familiar?)
You can see things in an entirely different way. You can see it all as an adventure that you go on together. You’re figuring it out together, trying new things, talking about what worked and what didn’t, telling each other what you each need to make it in whatever season or phase you’re in.
All of which leads us to the question you have to ask yourself about this person you’re dating: Are they up for the adventure?
Watch them closely. Look for patterns. Tell stories about your pasts and the challenges you’ve each faced. Pay attention to how they deal with change.
Are they flexible? Adaptable? Willing to change course?
Do they view life as an ordeal you do your best to get through or an adventure you get to go on with someone?
When they face challenges, do they endlessly talk about how they wish things were how they used to be, or do they throw their energies into figuring how they’re going to navigate this next season?
Do they remain set in their ways, even when those ways aren’t working anymore?
Obviously this isn’t an interrogation! But it is really, really important you are honest about the person they’ve been and the person they are with you, because if the two of you journey together you can’t even begin to imagine all of the opportunities and challenges and joys and dangers that are going to come your way. And what you want is someone who sees it all as a grand, epic adventure, an adventure they want to be on … with you.
Rob and Kristen Bell are the authors of THE ZIMZUM OF LOVE: A New Way of Understanding Marriage (HarperOne, October 28, 2014).
Order the book here: