My wife and I used to think that we should do just about everything together. I’m sure that many of you seasoned marriage veterans read that and laughed…good! That means part 2 of this series actually works, because part 2 is all about learning to pursue your own interests. We’ve had to learn the hard way that we are not the same person, and that we don’t have identical passions. Some of you are shaking your head and saying, “Duh.”
Let me give you an example. My wife loves to watch Friends, her favorite show of all time. I love the show too, but I’ve always been a reader and some nights I just want to pick up a good book and rest under a blanket. We have argued about this more than once because my wife wanted to watch TV and I wanted to sit down and read (which I can’t do very well with the TV on). We have learned that it’s OK for me to go to the bedroom and read while she watches TV; we used to think this meant we didn’t love each other or something. But apparently it’s OK to be apart while you’re at home together…the universe will not implode.
Let me give you another example: I went snowshoeing today (that was a blast, by the way…but man is it cold at 6,000 feet with the wind blowing) with a group from my church. My wife is not very ‘outdoorsy’ and she probably would have hated the weather conditions; I loved it! But over the past year I realized that I had sacrificed my love of the outdoors because my wife isn’t as “into it” as I am…and I thought that if I loved her I should be with her all the time, so I quit hiking, backpacking, fishing, just about everything. It’s important for you to know that she put no pressure on me whatsoever to quit any of those things. I did that to myself in a misguided attempt to be a ‘good husband’. Don’t be dumb like me. If you like doing something that your spouse or significant other doesn’t enjoy doing, that’s ok. It’s healthy to pursue your own interests, it will make you a happier person…and that will make your significant other happy, too.
While talking this topic over with my snowshoeing group I realized that some of you have the opposite problem: You don’t do anything together as a couple! Apparently some folks get so busy with their pursuits, hobbies, careers, and kids that they almost never see each other or spend time with each other. If that’s you, I want you to know that now my head is shaking at you. Well, not really, but I don’t understand why you have that particular problem. You didn’t marry your job, your hobbies, or your kids. While I can’t give you advice, I would suggest that you re-prioritize your life so that you and your spouse have some ‘together’ time. You’ve probably heard that suggestion before. In fact, you’ve probably heard it so often that you think it’s just another cliché. It might be, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. Spend time with your spouse, alone, and don’t talk about the kids.
Have any of you had to overcome either side of this challenge (too much time together/not enough time together)? What did you do?