The longer you live with someone, the more that each day can start to feel, well… routine. You get up, go to work, go home, make dinner, watch TV, and go to sleep—only to do the exact same thing the next day. That’s certainly how life was for married couple Erik and Brittany Mallasch of Anchorage, Alaska.

Brittany was recently getting ready for work when Erik approached her to tell her to stop getting ready—she wasn’t going into work that day. She couldn’t help but laugh. Was he kidding? Was she fired? That was when he handed her a small bag with a note in it… and she was in utter disbelief.

When you’ve been in a relationship for a long time, it’s easy to fall into a routine. This is something that Erik Mallasch and his wife, Brittany, from Anchorage, Alaska, certainly understood all too well. And it inspired something brilliant…

Married since 2006 and the parents of three young children, Erik and Brittany spent the majority of the past decade focusing on their family’s basic needs. Unfortunately, this sometimes resulted in them putting their work before themselves.

Erik was a carpenter who managed his own YouTube channel, where he operated under the moniker The Naked Carpenter. He’d spend most mornings filming himself and the progress he made on an array of different crafts for his friends, family, and clients.

Erik gained quite a YouTube following over the years, with many viewers tuning in to see his innovative creations each week. None of his viewers were prepared, however, for his greatest work yet…

As a creative and caring husband and father, Erik recognized that the past few years were spent mostly focusing on the needs of his family rather than having fun. So he had an awesome idea: he wanted to surprise Brittany with something special.

While he could have used his carpentry skills to craft something special for her, he decided to focus on a different idea instead. He asked himself what Brittany would have really wanted in life…

Once he figured out how he’d surprise her, he set his plan in motion. Each step of the way he could barely contain his excitement—he just wanted to tell her already! Finally, the morning came for the big reveal.

Erik gathered a few random important items from around their home and made his way to the bathroom, where Brittany was getting ready for work. But what had he cooked up to surprise the most important person in his life?

When Erik approached her, Brittany couldn’t help but laugh. For starters, he told her she didn’t have to go to work, which was definitely odd. Then he began to hand her each of his various clues…

Brittany was totally stumped when Erik first handed her a tiny brown bag. Obviously, he’d done a good job to keep his surprise under wraps. With a little encouragement, she reached into the bag to find…

It was a tiny, pink note! Ever so carefully, Brittany unfolded the the paper to discover that her day was about to get much, much richer. That was all because of what Erik had written on it…

He was promising her $500 in “spending cash!” While Brittany appreciated the money, she still couldn’t understand what was happening. With the pressure mounting, she had to find out what her husband was up to.

Another gift she pulled out was a… bright green neck pillow. At this point, she began to think her husband of 12 years might just be playing a cruel joke on her. Fortunately, there was more…

Finally, Erik handed her one of the most important clues: her passport! At last, she was starting to get an idea of what was happening. Still, there was still one more important detail to reveal…

By the time Brittany reached the last item inside her gift bag, she was in utter disbelief. Her husband had already gone above and beyond to surprise herThen Erik told her exactly why “you’re not going to work today!”

Finally, it was time for the big reveal. “I just took 10 days off, and we’re sending you to Germany,” he excitedly said. Brittany was shocked. Not only that, but she wouldn’t be going there all by herself…

She was going with her best friend! Brittany was in utter disbelief, and it was clear she could really use the time away from work. Finally, Erik had one last surprise for her—she was actually leaving soon. Like, really soon…

Her flight left in less than 24 hours! Luckily, Erik had planned for her to spend the rest of the day with their family before he’d bring her to the airport so she could embark on her magical, surprise journey.

Erik explained what he planned to do while she was away. “So you fly to Germany tomorrow morning at 3 a.m.,” he exclaimed before adding, “and I’m gonna watch the kids.” She could feel tears beginning to well up in her eyes.

It was very clear that Erik’s surprise was a hit. Knowing that his hard-working wife could certainly use some time off, he decided to make her dreams come true and send her to Germany. What a great surprise!

While life can feel pretty routine at times, it’s important to remember what special surprises like Erik’s can do for people. What would you do to surprise your significant other?

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