“I’ll have the root canal, please.”
Said no one ever. Still, that’s how many people act when subjected to the thought of spending time doing certain things their beloved enjoys. It’s not the easiest thing to embrace your spouse’s interests when they are nothing like yours.
Maybe you’ve been there? An evening at the opera just isn’t your thing. Or you would rather eat glass than go on a camping trip.
Sure, it was different when you were first together. Back then, you didn’t even care what you did, as long as you could be together. Everything that fantastic person did intrigued you. Everything. Even the quirky habits that sent you running from others were adorable.
Back then, you were in the process of building an exceptional love that would eventually drive you to the front of a church to exchange your vows. You’d happily spend a day driving through the country to look at foliage, though it may sound like the lamest way to spend the day now.
We often repeat the saying, “If you want what you had, you have to do what you did.” Simply put, rekindling that spark means you need to dive in and embrace at least some of your spouse’s interests. Exceptional love requires exceptional effort. So banish those feelings of dread that arise when it’s time to watch another western.
You’ll find that your love for your spouse will push away the selfish little devil that sits on your shoulder and follow the angel into a world that interests the other. You begin to like what they like because they like it, and you want to be with them.
When you step outside of what you want to enjoy your what your spouse loves, it is not a wasted effort. In fact, it will set two key foundation stones in place that will undergird and strengthen your marriage.
Two Benefits of Sharing in Your Spouse’s Interests:
1. You will learn some new things about your spouse.
The process of discovery can do amazing things for us as humans. Learning feeds us. Among other fuel it provides, learning new things about your spouse will extend your capacity for empathy and broadens your horizons.
Entering into your spouse’s element, you’ll find they’re relaxed and open. There may be a twinkle in their eye that comes from sharing what they love with you. In the process, they’ll likely find the words to express thoughts and feeling you may never have seen before. It’s as if the activity they love is a vessel through which the substance of their heart can flow.
Because of the investment you make in them, they’re willing to provide a return of openness and vulnerability. Transparency happens when you feel loved and safe – when you feel at home.
2. You may learn some things about yourself.
Don’t be fooled into thinking your spouse is the only one who’s getting anything out of creating macrame socks. Often we trick ourselves into thinking we don’t like our spouse’s interests. Either we’re not familiar with it, are afraid we won’t be any good at it, or had a bad experience with it earlier in life.
Basketball is an entirely different game when you know the rules. Ask your spouse to explain them to you. If you’re embarrassed about your shot, just be the rebounder or work on it with your significant other. Remember, your spouse isn’t (or shouldn’t be) a room full of seventh graders who feel better about themselves by making fun of others. If that happens, there are other issues to work out.
You may find that you love sitting by the river with time to think and fresh fish for supper. It may be that you discover creating authentic German cuisine relaxes you, and brings you great joy.
Whatever it is, chances are this: it’s better than a root canal. Way better.
Find other great tips by downloading our Seven Foolproof Ways to Build an Exceptional Love pdf. It’s completely free, and may just take your marriage to a different place. Find other great resources, courses, and workshops at www.marriagedynamics.com.