Surprising your partner with flowers means you care, our columnist says.

What is it about surprises that make some people quake in fear and anticipation, while others shiver with excitement and enthusiasm?

To surprise is to take unawares or to affect with wonder. That’s one of the dictionary definitions, and among the most common uses. Whatever has, or is about to happen, is totally and completely unexpected.

I love surprises.

I think the unknown is exciting. It’s a change in the routine, a curve in the otherwise straight road of life.

I’ve certainly had my fair share of unhappy events occurring out of nowhere, which can also be described as surprises, but that’s not the way I interpret the word.

From my perspective, a surprise is a fun, happy, positive entity. A woman I know, we’ll call her Heather, loves surprises. She and her husband often tease each other, saying “I know something you don’t know ...” But neither of them ever really want to know, and so they always keep the secret to themselves until the time is right.

One of life’s great surprises? Which gender an unborn baby is inside a pregnant belly. So many people opt to find out the sex, which can be done through ultrasound approximately halfway through a pregnancy. But it’s not 100 per cent accurate. And because there are so few surprises in life, my husband and I chose to keep that one for ourselves.

But the biggest surprise of all is the one most of us don’t ever really want to know anyway. And that is the limits of our mortality or that of people we care about.

And then there are other people who simply don’t like surprises at all. It makes them nervous and agitated to think something is about to happen and they have no idea what it is.

These people prefer to be more in control of what’s happening around them.

Yet, in the world of relationships, even small surprises can make a big impression. Any day you bring home some flowers for your loved one, or unexpectedly reach out to a friend you haven’t communicated with in awhile, or go the distance in planning a surprise party for somebody’s big event, like an important birthday or engagement, “surprise!” really means “I care.”

I went to a great party last week, with a series of events that were totally planned by the host, yet unexpected and unpredictable to all the guests. And what characterized this surprise as extraordinary was how thoroughly thoughtful the host was in every way. He told his best friend he was arranging an engagement party for her and her fiancé, and together, they came up with the guest list and venue.

After that, every detail was a surprise and an expression of their long friendship.

Hats off to him for knowing the element of surprise can provide another way of bonding.

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