Photo by note thanun on Unsplash
Photo by note thanun on Unsplash

Different Interests

Question

My wife and I have nothing in common. We’ve been married nine years, and I find myself wondering what it would be like if I were married to a woman who likes the same things I do. It irritates me that we can’t do anything together. What should I do?

Answer

Come on, are you serious? You have absolutely nothing in common? You can’t do anything together? It sounds like you’ve fallen into the all-or-nothing trap that’s easy for us to slip into when we’re focused just on ourselves, our needs, and our wants.

First of all, stop wasting your time in the imaginary fantasyland of being married to the perfect woman. When you got married, you obviously thought you had a lot in common, so what makes you think you’ll do a better job if you try someone else? Research says you won’t. The divorce rate is always higher for second marriages than for first marriages.

Odds are that your wife has similar feelings. Talk about it. Listen to her needs and concerns and then share some of your own. As she’s speaking, take note about what brings her joy, what makes her laugh, and what she finds refreshing and interesting. Then share your thoughts.

Make a list of things you both enjoy doing. Then make a list of things you’d like to have your spouse do with you. At the top of each list mark the thing you’d both most enjoy sharing with your mate. Make sure it’s not something you know your mate would despise, but something she could at least endure and perhaps even enjoy. At this point you can step up and offer to do what she’s put at the top of her list.

Here’s the deal. Men and women are different physically, mentally, and in many other ways. You married her because she was different. Every couple has areas of incompatibility. Smart couples learn how to celebrate the similarities and leverage the differences in ways that say “I love you” and allow for discovery and new growth.

Gary J. Oliver, ThM, PhD
Executive Director at Center for Healthy Relationships | + posts

Dr. Oliver is the Executive Director of The Center for Healthy Relationships, and professor of Psychology and Practical Theology at John Brown University.  He has authored over 20 books and more than 350 professional and popular articles.  Dr. Oliver has over 40 years’ experience as a Clinical Psychologist, Marriage  & Family Therapist and Spiritual Director.  He leads seminars & workshops both nationally and internationally on a variety of counseling-related issues, healthy relationships as well as Emotional & Relational Intelligence (ERI).

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