Saturday, July 30, 2016

Take an Interest in Their Interests

A couple years ago I had coffee with someone who said this, "I read some author a long time ago who says to take an interest in your spouse's interests. So, that is what I try to do. For example, sometimes I take her to to the bookstore and we have to find books that we've never read before. Then we share with each other about the books, why we chose them, and why they interest us. It helps us to keep remembering that we need to learn about our spouse's interests."
Well, let me tell you something - I recorded that idea in the old data banks and saved it for a later date. When my wife and I first started dating, I took her to a bookstore and that's what I did. I called it a "bookstore activity".   I told her we had 30 minutes to find 3 books that we'd never read before and then we'd meet to share about why we chose them after the 30 minutes.  During our time of sharing, I found out that one of her interests was gardening. Several months later, I bought her some antique style gardening tools for Christmas.  I was able to apply what I had learned about her.
Taking an interest in the other person's interests doesn't mean we try to force ourselves to like what they like, but it does mean that we try to find different ways to endorse their interests.  I'm not planning on gardening this fall as much as my wife plans to do, but I do plan to help her out as I can and to ask her about her plans and what she wants to do with her gardening.
Try to discover your spouse's interests.  Try a bookstore activity or simply ask them about their interests.  Ask them what activities or dreams they've given up on over the years.  Why have they given them up?  Why have they stopped painting, writing poetry, cycling, or training dogs competitively?  Encourage your spouse to try out new things that might generate new interests.
  • Don't try to get your spouse to like what you like.
  • Don't secretly hope your spouse will begin to like what you like.
  • Don't feel guilty for not liking what your spouse likes.
  • Simply take an interest in their interests.  It is much more rewarding and satisfying.
  • Shared interests will come over time.
  • Let them have their own set of individual interests.
If you and your spouse have lots of individual interests and few shared interests, then maybe it's time to do the opposite and figure out some ways to find shared interests.  But, that's a topic for another blog entry.

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash