Do married couples have to enjoy the same hobbies? What if they don’t?
Maybe you and your spouse find yourselves drawn toward different hobbies and recreational activities. And the longer you’ve been together, the fewer shared activities you enjoy. Your energy levels or interests may be completely out of alignment, and you’re wondering what that means about your marriage.
Let’s say you want to go hiking or trail riding together, but your spouse’s idea of fun is more like spending a quiet afternoon fishing or taking a nap. They appreciate quiet closeness, while you want a companion to go on high-energy adventures with you. Let’s say, over time, that this gap in interests has widened, and you’re wondering how to get back to spending more time together while still honoring each other’s interests.
Want some help navigating a disconnect in interests? Read on.
Honor Each Other’s Individuality
Shared activities are important to the health of a marriage, but your individual interests are important, too. You married your spouse because of who they are. That identity includes their interests, which may not align with yours.
Each of you has your own intense interests. Maybe you’re a sports fanatic, and your spouse is a bookworm. It may feel like there’s no way to bridge that gap, but you knew these things about each other before you married.
Take some time to identify the things you both love to do in your free time. Make sure you’re both creating time for one another to engage in these things. Demanding that your spouse give up personal interests in favor of shared activities could end up causing them to resent that time you’re spending together–so honor who they are, and ask for the same consideration.
Notice Each Other’s Excitement About Your Interests
Whatever your spouse is passionate about, pay attention to how excited they get when they talk about or engage in it. Let their excitement fuel your own. You might not love to go fishing, for example, but you can find joy in listening to them talk about how much they love it.
The more you share in their excitement, the more likely you will be to engage more with that activity. Even if it’s just to humor your spouse from time to time, giving them the opportunity to share something they love with you will bring you closer. And, even better, they’ll be more likely to reciprocate. Who knows; each of you might end up discovering a new interest!
Try Planning Date Nights Outside Your Comfort Zones
When you plan dates and shared activities, take turns making the plans. Rather than planning a date within your comfort zone, try making plans your spouse will love. Center the date around their favorite activity, or just something you know they’ll enjoy.
Also, try planning an activity or experience that is completely new for both of you. Some of the best date experiences can happen when you try something that neither of you think you’ll gravitate toward. Try something outside your normal routine and comfort zone, and see what you think.
Get Back on the Same Page
The thing is, when you were dating, you tackled all sorts of adventures together. It didn’t matter so much whether you were engaging in your own interests, as long as you were together. And that’s really the heart of the matter: now that you’re not always on the same page, you miss each other. You miss your spouse’s presence.
It’s important to get back on the same page. Understand what your spouse values, and help them understand how you feel. And while you don’t absolutely have to enjoy the same hobbies, if you’re missing that time together, it won’t hurt for you to engage in your spouse’s favorite activity once in a while–and vice versa. Get out of your comfort zone to show them how much you love them.
If you’re trying to find time in your busy schedule to enjoy a shared or individual hobby, our book, Your Time-Starved Marriage, is a guide to help you better organize your time. You can pick up your copy here.
How do you and your spouse balance individual vs. shared activities? Let us know in the comments.