In last week’s episode of “The Office,” Jim and Pam realized that, to their dismay, they’re no longer capable of surprising each other. For anyone who has been living under a rock (a rock without TV reception, that is), Jim and Pam are a married couple who have progressed from office best friends to sleepy-eyed parents over the course of The Office’s nine seasons. Having followed their timeline pretty closely with my husband (meeting just a couple years before the show debuted), I have to wonder: Are Mike and I like Jim and Pam?
If I’m being honest with myself, I must admit that, after nearly ten years together, we too have gotten to the point where we know everything there is to know about each other. We’ve told each other our funniest stories, tearfully recounted our deepest lows, and shared our most personal hopes and dreams. On a less profound level, I know Mike’s first concert was Weird Al’ Yankovic and that he can secretly break dance, while he knows that I’ve memorized the lyrics of every song on my iPod and sometimes eat pumpkin butter by the spoonful. We know so much about each other, in fact, that even Jim and Pam might think we’re a little odd.
Here’s the thing, though – I like it this way. Knowing your partner incredibly well means that you have an idea of what you’re getting in life and where you’re headed. No, there may no longer be any out of left field surprises (“You can juggle?!”), but there are also no out of left field surprises (“What?! You want sky-dive and jump tandem with Annie?!”) Instead of being sad that the mystery is gone, I’m proud of it. It took a lot of time, effort, and love on both of our parts to get to this point, and the fact that we know everything about each other and still want to be together is awesome.
Before you think, however, that Mike and I are happy rocking on the porch like a pair of octogenarians, we’re not. The key to making a relationship work, even when you know each other like the back of your hand, is in never becoming complacent with yourselves or each other. Mike and I still make an effort to surprise ourselves by taking new challenges, reading new books, taking care of ourselves, etc. We also keep things fresh by doing new and exciting things together. Last year we went skiing with each other for the first time, and we hope to take our first trip to Europe together in the near future.
My advice to Jim and Pam? Celebrate your closeness. You’ve earned it! And if it’s excitement you want, invite Creed out to dinner. There’s sure to be a few surprises with that guy, I guarantee it.