4 Ways to Support Your Spouse’s Creativity

Creative pursuits add an exciting dimension to our lives. Music, theatre, art, writing, dance–these are just a few of the creative outlets you or your spouse might enjoy. But if you’re not particularly creative, what are some ways to support your spouse’s passions?

1. Show interest in their creative pursuits.

Your spouse’s passion for creativity adds meaning, joy, and purpose to their life–and it can do the same for you. Whether your spouse is painting, sculpting, dancing, writing, singing, playing music, or any number of other creative pursuits, it’s important to show interest in what they’re creating.

Is your spouse a painter, graphic designer, or illustrator? Ask to see pieces of their work. Does your spouse perform on stage? Go see a play or musical they’re in. Is your spouse a musician? Ask them to play for you or ask to hear their latest recording. Does your spouse write? Read something they’ve written.

When your spouse lets you into their creative world, it’s important not to offer unwanted critique of their work. Try to respond to their creations or performances in a positive and supportive way. Your spouse is being vulnerable by allowing you to be a part of their creativity, so treat it gently.

If you find yourself uninterested in your spouse’s passions, it’s important to remind yourself how much this means to him or her. Set a calendar reminder to periodically ask about what your spouse is up to lately, and whether you can see their latest work. Marriage is all about compromise and sacrifice, so give your spouse some much-needed attention in this area of your life that’s so important to them.

2. Give them the time they need to create.

Creativity takes time, which is a commodity for most busy adults (especially for parents of young children). Give your spouse the gift of time by:

  • Volunteering to take care of certain weekly tasks so that he or she has a little extra time
  • Occupying the kids for a little while so he or she can paint, write, practice, etc.
  • Making sure not to interrupt them while they’re working
  • Supporting that designated space and time with thing that make them more comfortable (music, coffee, cozy socks, art supplies, etc.)

It has been said that we can’t help others if we don’t put on our oxygen masks first. For your spouse, that creative outlet is their oxygen mask. So extend the gift of creative time, and you’ll both reap the benefits.

3. Understand this is part of who they are.

Most likely, you realized your spouse had a creative streak when you were dating. Now that you’re married, it’s still the same. During the early years of marriage, it’s common for creative pursuits and outside activities to fall by the wayside while the two of you get to know each other and settle into your new life together (although that isn’t always the case). But at some point, if you spouse has set aside their creative passions for one reason or another, they’re going to want to pick them up again.

You might feel resistant to the idea, especially if it means giving up some of the time you want to spend with your spouse. But remember, this is a part of who they are. It’s not fair to your spouse for you to deny that part of them, any more than it is for them to deny or reject an important part of your own identity. Every day that you honor and love your spouse’s whole self, you’re giving them a tremendous gift.

4. Find joy in their happiness.

Joy is contagious. When your spouse is creating, they are full of joy–so allow that joy to make its way into your heart, too.

Do you have creative interests you’ve never pursued–or haven’t pursued in a long time? Let your spouse’s passion inspire you to step outside your comfort zone and try something new. Then, the two of you can deepen your intimacy by sharing your creative pursuits and making time for one another’s passions.

Is your spouse creative? Are you? How do you support one another’s passions? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

8 Comments

  • kevin muyakwa says:

    hi i don’t give them time they need to create

  • Ese says:

    I found this blog to be particularly helpful especially not offering unsolicited critique as well as not interrupting them when their in their “creative” zone. Thank you!

  • My husband has been amazing in this regard. He has allowed me to fulfill my dream of writing and starting a parenting blog. You are right – this support is incredibly meaningful (even when this venture doesn’t earn an income yet).

  • Clarice Wilson says:

    Thank you for writing this! Unfortunately, when I was married, my spouse became upset when I sewed. As time went on, feelings of anger and guilt became a part of the experience, therefore infecting it. Supporting each other in our creative endeavors adds intrinsic, immeasurable value to the relationship. Thank you again!

  • Nancy says:

    My husband recently took up the piano again after 45+ years. We were inspired to buy a piano and he found his sheet music from college. I was eager to read this post and I think we are handling the changes fairly well. He has said it doesn’t hurt his feelings if I need to put on my noise-cancelling headphones while he practices. So I do, then go upstairs and read a book or listen to a podcast while he conquers Beethoven.

  • Ryan M says:

    Often I think of my wife as the creative one. She’s amazingly crafty, and one you would want on the decor team at church or to create a nifty item from her sowing machine. That said, I also can be creative and would like to time with my guitar. I have NEVER felt any sense of support in my musical pursuits, but after reading this, I feel compelled to tell her to reciprocate.

    • Keith P says:

      You might want to ask her to read the column and use it as a chance to share how you feel in regards to your pursuit versus telling her to reciprocate. I’ve found that if it doesn’t come from the heart, it’s forced and doesn’t last.

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