A few months ago, my husband and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary. For our anniversary last year, we were thousands of miles apart. My husband was in France and I was home in Atlanta, and although we did have an early anniversary celebration before he left, not being physically together on our actual anniversary took a toll on both of us. This year, we wanted to go all out. We wanted to ensure that we spent the day together and did something that we wouldn’t soon forget to mark the occasion.
When our anniversary rolled around, we knew we would be going out to a nice dinner that evening, but we were both at a loss for what to do during the day. We planned to go bike riding in the park and have a lunchtime picnic, but life happened, and our parade was literally rained on. After searching the internet and calling a boutique that offers candle making classes, a chocolate factory where you can make your own chocolate, and a restaurant that specializes in wine tasting to find that none of those places had availability, we had both accepted that we would spend the day doing our favorite lazy day activity – binge watching something on Netflix. Luckily for us, we refused to be outdone and pulled out a bucket list we created at the beginning of the summer for inspiration. We skimmed through the list to find things that were rainy day friendly and came across the idea of doing an escape room.
Escape rooms have quickly risen in popularity throughout the United States and I often see people post on social media about their experience. In short, an escape room is a physical game in which you and your team must solve a series of themed puzzles in under an hour using a variety of clues and hints in order to escape the room. In an escape room, no item is a coincidence and a lot of things aren’t what they appear to be at first glance. Literally everything can be a clue of some sort and escaping requires you to think outside of the box.
My husband and I checked out a few local escape rooms and came across one that had availability on the afternoon of our anniversary. We immediately made a reservation, got dressed, and put on our thinking caps. In the car, we talked a lot about how we could work together to solve the riddles in under an hour, but, honestly, as this was both of our first time doing something like this, we had no idea what to expect and were excited to get out of our comfort zones. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by the instructor, told the rules and guidelines, and placed in a time machine themed room called “Lost in Time” with an hour on the clock. Our task was to retrieve an item from the future that had been accidentally left in the past, return it to the future, and get back to the present before time ran out. Doing so required us to practice a type of teamwork that we don’t usually have to in order to solve riddles, unlock doors, and crack codes to avoid being lost in time. Participating in the escape room experience with my husband as my partner was such a valuable experience, and I think it’s something that every couple should do for a variety of reasons:
As soon as we stepped into the room, we began communicating with one another about our game plan. My husband suggested that we split up and each explore one half of the room in order to determine where clues existed and make the most out of our time. As we would both found clues, we would share them with one another. As the escape room experience continued, we determined that we literally had no choice but to hear each other out. There were things that I saw that he didn’t and vice versa and it was important that both of our ideas and thoughts be heard out since a lot of solving certain puzzles required trial and error. One thing that I loved about the escape room is that it required my husband and I to practice good communication skills, especially when it came to listening.
One thing that I love about marriage is that we don’t both have to be good at everything. What I lack in many areas, my husband makes up for 110%, and this definitely showed during our escape room experience. Escaping required us to work as a team and we quickly saw that we’re both good at different things and could use our different skillsets and ways of thinking to our advantage. There were times when my husband literally had to run around the room and read things off of the walls while I entered them onto dials or combination locks. There were other times when I had to hold buttons while my husband looked at things with special glasses or used mirrors to point lasers in certain directions. We had to work as a team and I loved that we were able to balance out our skills and use them to our advantage.
It’s no secret that any kind of partnership requires patience, but especially marriage. In the escape room, there were so many times when my husband had to be patient with me. There were things that I didn’t understand that he did that he had to take the time to explain to me so that we could work together to move forward. Contrarily, I had to be patient with my husband when he insisted on trying things without reading the directions first (as men often do). Overall, we realized that, although we were racing the clock, rushing was not going to get us anywhere and it was more important that we take our time to make sure things were done correctly. It taught us both an important lesson in not only being patient with one another, but also not being hard on another when we make mistakes.
In our escape room experience, my husband and I were the only two people who were “lost in time.” Because we were in it together, we had to trust one another’s judgment and be willing to try each other’s suggestions (even when they sounded silly).. We also had to believe that we were each giving our all and doing our absolute best. The escape room required us to be willing to let our guards down with one another and throw out ideas, even if they didn’t end up working out, and we had to trust that it was a no judgement zone. It was literally us against the room and it required us to rely on one another completely.
In so many ways, the escape room experience was similar to marriage overall. On a lot of days, I do feel like it’s just my husband and I against the world trying to solve the puzzle that is life. Doing the escape room gave us an opportunity to work on a lot of skills that are required for a true partnership, and, as a result, I left with an increased sense of confidence in our relationship and ability to work as a team. Although my husband and I didn’t escape the room (we literally needed like 2 more minutes, which I will admit was a little frustrating), we were both really proud of ourselves, and agreed that if we had to be “lost in time,” there’s no one else we’d rather be with.