I stumbled on Mandy Catron’s article titled, To Fall In Love With Anyone, Do This in which she shared a theory that had worked for her, a theory by a psychologist called Arthur Aron. I like formulas (formulae?) and so I thought, “Yay. Must do with Kingsley.” (One under-appreciated advantage of marriage is having a lab rat to try out experiments on.)
So here we are, sitting cross-legged on our sofa, sharing a bottle of Smirnoff. The idea is to answer 36 questions (one person reads the question out loud and they both take turns answering the question) and then stare soulfully into each other’s eyes for 4 minutes. The theory says that if you do this with anyone at all, you’ll fall in love. Haha. Let’s do this.
1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.
9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.
12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
16. What do you value most in a friendship?
17. What is your most treasured memory?
18. What is your most terrible memory?
19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
20. What does friendship mean to you?
21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?
22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.
23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?
24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?
25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling … “
26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share … “
27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.
28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.
29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.
30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.
32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?
34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?
35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?
36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.
NOW STARE INTO EACH OTHER’S EYES FOR 4 MINUTES, IN SILENCE.
It was a lot of fun, considering we’re already married and we don’t have much choice than to be in love now, do we? But I learnt a lot about him that I didn’t already know, (he would like to invite Putin to dinner!) and surprisingly, I learnt a lot about myself that I didn’t know. For instance, my most treasured memory came from a holiday in my childhood. Something silly. How I (with my siblings and cousin) used to smash M&K candy between Peanut Butter Cookies and eat them as burgers in a small house off Allen Avenue. The part that should have been the most awkward (if we were strangers) was actually pretty easy. We stared into each other’s eyes and then we cuddled. Lol. So there.
I can see how this exercise could be a first step to falling in love. It’s definitely a 2nd or 3rd date activity, not a 1st date. The things you could easily love the other person for are quickly revealed. And it forces you to be vulnerable all at once. It’s all so very deliberate. So maybe it’s worth a shot.
I WOULD LOVE TO TRY THIS OUT!
Hold on a sec. Your partner has to be fully aware and consent to the exercise or it will not work. So no, you can’t blindside your new date with all these questions and expect him or her to fall at your feet. This is a very deliberate attempt to get some sparks flying. It is not for teenagers in high school, or eternal flirts.
I THINK THIS IS CRAP!
Before you toss it, try it maybe. It’s an experiment, what will it hurt? Just get a willing partner and see where it goes.
For married couples and people in serious relationships, just in case it does work, don’t do it with anyone else apart from your present partner. Don’t look for trouble. Ehen. Everyone else, have fun! (Kingsley recommends tequila or vodka, and turning it into some sort of drinking game. Lol. At your own peril.)