When my husband and I first got together, I loved rock music and hated country. His taste for rock was limited to a handful of songs, and he couldn’t get enough of country.
But we did have one music love in common: Wayne Watson.
The same was true of other aspects of our lives. We had different interests and tastes. We enjoyed different activities. But we could always find something that we had in common.
Beyond the Common Bond
It might surprise you, though, to hear me say that those common things are not what have grown our marriage. No, the growth came when we decided to stretch beyond what we had in common.
He started to enjoy some rock with me, and I discovered that I actually liked some country.
We started expanding into each other’s interests in movies, activities, and even ways of thinking. As each of us learned to branch out beyond our own interests, we also became bold and began exploring interests that were new to both of us.
Recently we contemplated some of our current tastes and realized we never would have even given some of those things a second thought ten years ago. But we like them now because we were willing to try something new. To branch out a bit.
Leaving and cleaving involves creating a new being. Two becoming one. And that one becoming much more than the two ever could have been individually. But that doesn’t happen if we cling stubbornly to what we know and love, refusing to branch out.
Now, don’t get me wrong. What you love does not have to go away. But, it does need to grow. When Doug and I got married we had wide ranges of personal interests that merged into a relatively narrow joint in the middle. Now, that middle joint is huge, and the personal interests on each end are much smaller. I don’t need my “Ann” fixes like I did early in our marriage because there is so much in the joint department that fills the need. And to be honest, I would much rather do something enjoyable with Doug than without him. I want to share with him! I want to be with him! When I’m not, it is odd. Something is not quite right.
Take a look at the bar of interests between you and your spouse. How big are the personal interest ranges at each end? How do they compare to the joint in the middle? If the joint is small, I encourage you to expand a bit. Dive in to something your spouse loves. Learn about it. See what makes it so fascinating. Maybe it won’t “grab” you, but it could. I guarantee, though, it will open your mind to new interests. Before you know it, you just might find something new to enjoy together.
That cannot help but make you stronger together.