Lessons from a Great Surprise

A few weekends ago Ordell and I celebrated our 17th Wedding Anniversary. We’ve never had expectations around gifts, and we celebrated our early anniversaries at FCA family camp, so we haven’t always paid attention to the exact date.

I decided that I’d take advantage of a Saturday anniversary and plan an atypical date. Date night as a coach’s wife is often atypical, but rarely a surprise.

We’ve been together close to two decades at this point, and that makes surprises a bit more challenging to execute, but it also makes it that much more fun when it’s successful.

Here’s where a little background will be helpful, my husband grew up in a family that hunted with father who was a police officer. Guns were always a part of his life whereas they were not a part of mine. I’m not comfortable around guns, and all the happenings in the news haven’t changed my mind. So when Ordell mentioned at the end of May that the local shooting range offers a date night package, I knew he wasn’t doing so expecting me to join him eagerly.

This is why suggesting our anniversary dinner begin at the shooting range was a perfect surprise. The great thing about a surprise is that you never know the outcome, and in this case, I was surprised too.

Lessons from a Great Surprise

1- Preparation is Key

I knew there would be a little prep that had to happen before our date, so I made sure to communicate that the offer for shooting range date night was good for today or the near future. My man is wise and knew the chances of me chickening out were strong, so we spent a little time practicing shooting fundamentals before we headed out.

2- Having an Open Mind is Helpful

Beyond the instructions Ordell gave me I had no idea what to expect when we entered the range. I’m so glad I chose not to overthink things. Had I walked into our date with any assumptions I could have set a negative tone or expectations that I couldn’t meet. Instead, I knew I would need to prove I could safely shoot a gun to have a successful date. I took my requirements seriously and passed with flying colors(check out that target above, I hit my mark straight on).

3- There is Always an Opportunity to Impress Your Loved Ones

My husband and sons were all impressed with my results and honestly, so was I. My instructor explained that my attention to detail with applying the fundamentals was what allowed me success. This new experience was one I was on high alert for, and I did not rush through things. Even though I wasn’t sure if it was a one time experience or something I would do again in the future taking things seriously was important.

This choice also showed my husband that I respect his hobby. Had I gone in with an attitude of anything other than respect, I may not have passed the qualification and that would have ruined the whole date.

4- New Experiences Bond a Couple

My willingness to engage with Ordell’s semi-regular hobby created a whole new area of memories that are just ours. It also opened a window to entire areas of conversation we previously couldn’t have. There are some things you just need to experience in person and for me, the shooting range was one of them.

5- Quality Time Doesn’t Mean Always Doing Things One Way

One of my love languages is quality time. In the past I’ve assumed this has meant that we need to do something we both enjoy but it turns out that’s not the case! Choosing to step out of my comfort zone and engage in something my husband enjoys was fun because happiness is contagious when we allow it be so. Spending time together, just us always has the potential to be fun, but it’s a choice to embrace an experience and classify it as quality time.

6- It’s Never too Late to Learn Something New

While I was pretty tired from adrenaline by the end of our outing, but I was also pleased with my shots and feeling more comfortable in my surroundings. I didn’t hate our date, likely because I decided to have an open mind combined with a love for the company. Knowing I can successfully attend a shooting range date night is great, it also means I have a new experience, potential skill and future date nights available.

Planning excursions often falls to us wives during the season. What I loved most about our adventure is that it was completely outside of a typical date expectation and it had nothing to do with football. Our sport takes up a significant amount of our conversation and calendar. It was great to spend date night as a coach’s wife without anyone associating that title with our adventure.

So go ahead and plan a surprise for your favorite coach, you may just surprise yourself too and hit a bullseye on the target at the same time.