Most people’s lives are busy, to say the least. Finding time for hobbies, creative pursuits, and the like can be a huge challenge. Between work and kids, house maintenance and making time for one another, it’s tough to even have the energy to pursue your other interests!
While maintaining your responsibilities are important, and as we’ve said before, making an effort to spend time alone with your spouse is of the utmost important to your marriage, fostering personal growth is also quite necessary for long-term happiness. Whether it’s volunteering with the less fortunate, crafting, making music, painting, getting behind a social cause, or growing a garden, passions are important to every individual. Unfortunately, they don’t always get the support they deserve from our spouses.
There are plenty of reasons that this happens, and many of them are perfectly valid. New pursuits can easily infringe on our other responsibilities, and this is a real concern. Passions often cost money, too, which can be another source of disagreement. Most of the time though, neglected responsibilities are not what causes tension for couples in this situation. Instead, it’s feelings of jealousy (he’d rather spend time with his guitar than me), exclusion (she totally ignores me when she’s out working in the garden), and even depression (why don’t I have something important to do?) that cause spouses to be less than supportive of their partners’ interests.
Instead of seeing yourself as an outside observer to your spouse’s interests, though, what about seeing yourself as an active participant? As a married couple, your lives are absolutely linked together. You can be a great source of support and inspiration for your spouse. You may even fall in love with the same things!
Of course, we all need to choose our passions for ourselves, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t take an active interest in our spouses’ favorite things. Knowing some of the terminology, key individuals, or understanding a process can go a long way in bonding with your spouse over their hobbies, passions, and personal goals.
You don’t just have to go along with your spouse’s passions either – use their enthusiasm as inspiration to find your own!
When couples can support each other’s interests, it helps foster a sense of being loved “for who you are,” as well as an environment where new discoveries and newly formed abilities add excitement and happiness to daily life. Personal accomplishments mean more confidence and increased self-worth, both qualities that make us more attractive to our spouses.
While being supportive, we can also act as a voice of reason for our husband or wife, who may delve a little too deeply into a project or want to purchase some equipment that’s outside of the budget. It’s easy to get wrapped up in something your truly enjoy, and sometimes an outside perspective is a welcome reality check. This only works, however, if the general attitude is one of support; if you’ve already been negative about a particular project or hobby, the “reality check” will only be perceived as more negativity.
The bottom line is that we should support our spouses in their endeavors – if it makes them happy and seems constructive, we should do everything we can to help them pursue their goals. We have to be able to grow individually to be able to successfully grow as a couple.
For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!
Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com