Learn what you can do to overcome this common problem in marriage.
You know how they say opposites attract? It’s true.
I only realized how different my husband and I were from each other when we got married. His idea of quality time is chilling at home eating takeout together and having a deep conversation about life. He wakes up at 3am to take prayer walks and work on his business. Every day he has a schedule that he sticks to no matter what. And he doesn’t watch movies. He rather read a self-help book any day of the week. He’s a geek about basketball though. Mercy, that man will read articles, listen to Colin Cowherd’s radio show, and listen to Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless argue ALL MORNING LONG.
I like to sleep until I feel like I’m done resting. My idea of quality time is getting dressed up and going salsa dancing (still trying to convince him to do that though). I like having a schedule too, but mine is a lot more flexible, depending on how I feel that day. I LOVE movies. I read articles about movies. I watch analysis videos on YouTube about my favorite shows and movies. You can call me somewhat of a TV nerd. Oh, and novels. I will stay up until 3am to finish reading a novel because I simply cannot sleep if I don’t know how the book ends.
Earlier this year I felt like we had gotten to the point where we were in a romantic rut. Our schedules were so busy that our relationship felt more like a business partnership than a marriage. It just seemed like we were in constant survival mode, and whatever energy was left, we would use it to have conversations about stuff that wasn’t related to the kids or our bills.
I didn’t like where we were headed.
So I came up with this fancy idea of having a jar where we each drop in things we like to do, or places we’d like to go, or things we’d like to have. Then we could just pick out a slip of paper the other put in and figure out something nice to do for them based on the idea they put in.
Yeah…so that hasn’t happened yet. We’re still building up to that. BUT. We were talking one day about the Avengers movies and realized that we both thought they were AMAZING and fun to watch. So we decided to make it our thing to go see Marvel movies whenever they come out.
When “Spiderman: Homecoming” came out, we were like two teenagers in the movie theater, giggling at the funny parts, whispering “Oh Shoot!” at the edge-of-your seat parts, and shaking our heads as Peter Parker made one dumb decision after another. Afterwards we sat in the car and talked about the deep life lessons we had gotten from the movie. Did I mention we’d also gone to dinner and I got a dozen freshly-baked, pecan-chocolate chip cookies?
It was a perfect day.
Fast forward a few months later when “Thor: Ragnarok” came out; we went out to dinner, then to see the movie. I was spellbound. It was the perfect mix of action, comedy, and heart. When it came to the scene where Thor almost knocked himself unconscious trying to escape from his prison, I glanced over at Jono to see if he was enjoying it as much as I was.
He had fallen asleep. His head was cocked at an angle that let me know he fell asleep without meaning to. His mouth had fallen open and I could hear soft snores.
For a split-second I thought about waking him up. He was missing the movie and this was supposed to be our date night.
I stopped myself just as I was about to shake him awake. Not only did he look adorable, but he was trying. He knew how much I look forward to our date nights and how much I love movies. He was trying. So I cut him some slack and turned back to the movie.
He woke up a few minutes later and apologized for falling asleep. “It’s okay,” I whispered. “It’s the thought that counts.”
The lesson I learned from that situation is that my husband and I don’t have to share all our interests. We don’t have to like all the same things. Some things you like, your spouse may not have faintest interest in. And that’s okay. The most important thing is to find that one thing that you guys both enjoy and do it together. That will bring you closer to each other than trying to force one another to like the same things and drag each other to events you won’t enjoy.
At the same time though, it is important to try different things together. I never cared about sports until I met my husband. Once he took his time to explain things related to basketball to me, I found myself actually watching games with him. I took it as personally as he did when LBJ lost to Dallas that first championship round. I even started watching First Take on ESPN with him and we would have whole conversations about the topics they were discussing on the show. It surprised me that something that I had zero interest in before was becoming a shared interest between us.
So COMPROMISE is the take-away word here. Meet each other halfway. Try something the other other likes; you may be surprised that you start to like it too. But if you don’t that’s okay. Try something else until you guys find something that works for you.
And honestly, when you’ve been married for a while, your interests may shift. Each of you will grow and change as time goes on. The important thing to do is to make sure you have a common thread that keep you close to each other. It will vary from couple to couple, and don’t feel bad if your idea of a good time is radically different from other couples you know.
Preserving your unity is the top priority. Till next time,
P.S. Check out this date night recipe book! I love cooking and it's nice to have the house to ourselves and whip something up together ;-)