bout a year ago Jess and I went through our first escape room together with a group of friends and family. For those of you that don’t know what an escape room is, it’s a themed room with a sequence of mental puzzles and disguised or hidden solutions. The idea is that you’re trapped in a room and you have to figure out how to escape. One solution often leads to another puzzle. Sometimes there are hidden keys, ciphered combinations, and other tricky things to be solved. Some items are hidden very well, others are in plain sight. Eventually, once you solve the entire sequence of puzzles, you’re able to “escape” the room. (I was happy to note that the door isn’t actually locked–you can leave at any time, but the goal is to EARN your freedom by solving the puzzles!)
Hidden in the escape room Jess and I found some great marriage lessons.
Here’s what we learned and what it means in YOUR marriage:
- You’re in it together
- We have different skill sets, and that’s GOOD!
- Know your strengths (and weaknesses!)
- Keep open communication lines
- Encourage each other
- Have a common goal
One of the rules of the escape room was that you only can have an “official” time if everyone stays in the room until you figure out how to “escape”. If anyone leaves, it doesn’t count. The same is true in marriage. You’re in it for life, so it’s best to figure out how to work together!
Jess is a star at finding things, communicating, and looking at the overall problem, whereas I excel at the detailed thinking, connecting pieces of the big picture, the mental puzzles, and the logic problems. Working through the escape room amplified these skills in each of us, but they’re very much skills that are present in everyday life.
I remember going through a drawer of things twice in the room, looking for a key. I was trying so hard to be really thorough, but I didn’t find anything. However, when Jess looked in that same drawer, she almost immediately found a key that I had missed, and it allowed us to move to the next puzzle. I probably wouldn’t have found it even if I looked again. She’s a great finder when it comes to those types of things and I’m not. From that moment on, she was the designated “finder”. And she did her job very well.
It’s so easy to apply that type of logic and skill-based job assignment to an escape room, but somehow much harder to do that in your marriage. If your spouse is best at budgeting, managing a calendar, or connecting with people, let them shine! When we’re married, it’s much less important who does the tasks than it is that all the tasks get done well.
As we worked to escape the room, I kept burying myself in puzzles trying to figure them out on my own. But, more than once as I was working on my puzzle, someone else had uncovered information I needed to find my solution somewhere else. Thankfully, Jess (in addition to finding things) was bouncing around the room talking to everyone and keeping tabs on everyone’s progress. She was able to see the different parts of the solutions and help coordinate the parts so everyone kept moving smoothly.
To have a successful marriage, we need to keep open communication lines between husband and wife. One of us will often see something the other doesn’t. Like the key in the escape room drawer. Or a different perspective. Whatever it is, by sharing what we see, we’re able to play to our strengths as a team instead of just our individual strengths.
As we solved different parts of puzzles, we were praising and encouraging each other. It’s great to feel like you’ve done something well, and it’s great to recognize when others have hit their goals. In marriage, we want to celebrate our accomplishments together, both individual accomplishments and those we complete together.
In the escape room, our common goal was to solve the puzzles and get out of the room. The same is true in any marriage. By setting and working toward common goals, we’re able to get much further than if we just float along without purpose.
Escape rooms are a ton of fun, but the skills you need to succeed are actually pretty significant. And you need them to succeed in marriage as well. You’ll need to play to your strengths, talk through what you’re seeing, support each other, and work toward a common goal. And by doing so, you’ll go much farther and be much closer doing so.
Which areas do you do well in your marriage? Which ones are a struggle? Share your thoughts in the comments–we’d love to hear from you!