Find one thing you both enjoy and do it! That’s the next key tip in 9 Habits for Healthy and Happy Marriages.
You’ve probably heard that “opposites attract.” It’s true that we usually marry people who are different from us. We look for mates who complement us because they have something we don’t, and vice versa. Therefore, couples usually have different interests. Finding and nurturing one you can share will do wonders to boost your connection.
My husband loves fly fishing. I love being outdoors, but spending nine hours cramped on a small fishing boat covered with bugs is not my idea of a good day. I love water sports. When he’s not in a boat, my husband is a land lover. Over the years, we have learned to lean in to each other’s interests. I’ll go fly fishing for half a day. My husband will snorkel with me when we take trips to tropical spots.
My husband loves watching me catch a fish on a fly rod. To him, it’s sexy. Go figure.
We are reminded in Philippians 2:4, “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” Leaning in to your mate’s interests is a gift to them and to yourself. It stretches you and it allows your spouse to enjoy your presence while they pursue their interests.
This is not to say you can’t enjoy certain activities that are not shared by your partner. You just need to share some activities together. And the activities you don’t share should be limited so they don’t drain off marital synergy.
There are many things you can enjoy together. Going to movies, dining out, playing games. Perhaps you can take a dance, exercise, or art class together. Find good hikes in your area, take a Sunday drive, or volunteer together. Whatever your differing interests, you can always nourish a shared one. Here’s a few tips to get you started:
- Sit down together and each write down ten activities you enjoy. Rate them from one to ten based on your level of enjoyment, ten being highest.
- Share your lists. If there are any interests you both enjoy, highlight those. If any items on your mate’s list are not on yours, and you would be willing to try them, put an X next to them.
- Make a plan together to invest time in the highlighted activities and consider how you might also prioritize the items marked with an X.
- Do it! Choose one that you’ve highlighted and go for it!
This habit will enhance your experience of companionship and friendship and serve as a constant reminder of why you said “I do!”
For more on nurturing shared interests check out Gary Smalley’s article on “Finding Common Interests and Hobbies.”