Your partner loves playing beach ball on the beach, but you love savoring hot noodle soup in the mountains.
On movie nights, your partner loves watching sci-fi thrillers, but you are always on the look for cheesy rom-com movies. Dogs get them excited, but you are hella scared of them. They love trekking on weekends, but you like spending hours in art galleries and museums. They are social butterflies while you go out with the same two friends every time. They enjoy being rough in the bedroom, but you find passionate sex more pleasurable. They love to spice up their food while you have a sweet tooth.
You both have nothing in common. Vacation preferences, movies, pets, hobbies, friends, sex preferences, favorite foods – everything is different. Are you wondering how you can happily live with that person if none of your interests seem to match?
Firstly, let us assure you that you can have your happily ever after married life even when you both are stark opposites. Second, let us tell you how.
1. Do not expect your partner to like what you like
By having expectations, you are making way for unnecessary drama and fights in your relationship. It is wrong to expect your partner to enjoy something just because you do. It will put them under pressure, and even if they engage in it, they will not do it willingly.
Let us take an example. You love cooking and can spend hours in the kitchen making a variety of dishes. Your partner, on the other hand, finds the activity boring. But, you force them to cook with you. Obviously, soon, it will create discord in your relationship.
Ask yourself why you want your partner to engage in that activity? If it is something positive such as you want to spend more time with them or need help on a particular day, ask them politely. Instead of forcing them to help you, you can acknowledge their choices and then politely ask, “Hey honey, I know you do not like cooking, but I am feeling tired today. You think you can help me out?”
2. Do not show disinterest in your partner’s interests.
You may not enjoy history and museums as much as your partner does. History is their favorite subject; they can spend hours strolling in the museum. But, just because you are a science geek and have no interest in learning about Alexander the Great invading India and the Nazi Holocaust during World War II, you do not have to dismiss their choice for being boring.
Your partner has different interests than you. That does not turn them into boring people at all. By showing disinterest, you are being mean and disrespectful. It can affect your partner’s confidence and trust in the relationship. That takes us to the next point.
3. Appreciate your partner’s interests and take an active interest in learning more about it
A successful relationship calls for mutually respecting each other’s interests. Let us say your partner loves gardening. They have immense knowledge about plants and keep enhancing the home garden. They know you are not much of a plant lover.
Since they respect your views, they neither force you to do gardening nor share much about it. But secretly, they wish they could tell you about their newest discovery, the ‘love in a puff’ plant, or show you the ripe red tomatoes in the garden. It will not hurt if you ask them, “Should I water the plants today? Can you show me how to?” Or if you simply complement their work, “Our home garden looks beautiful; your hard work has paid off!” It does not even take that much effort. But it will still make your partner feel assured and happy.
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4. Divide your time and take part in each other’s interests
In marriage, it is unfair if only one partner’s wishes are getting fulfilled. It can make the other partner feel uncared for and neglected. So, it is best to give equal time to each one’s hobbies and interests. If your partner loves watching light-hearted comedy films, but you are a thriller buff, it is still possible to have peaceful movie nights.
One time you choose a thriller film, and the next time, allow your partner to suggest a comedy film. In this way, mutual respect stays intact in the relationship. You not only learn more about your partner but also get to take part in their world. Giving more to the other makes one happier than taking more all the time. In this context, giving your time and attention to your partner will work wonders for your marriage.
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5. Openly communicate with them if you do not enjoy something, but do not stop supporting them.
Many times, your partner may not be aware that you are not enjoying what they like. For example, your partner is a shopaholic. They spend all their free weekends in exhibitions or sales in the malls. You tag along with them for every shopping trip but are not much of a shopper yourself. You would rather spend your weekends watching a movie or reading a book.
As you do not want to hurt your partner, you end up catering to their needs but neglect your own in the process. Not addressing the issue and bottling your emotions can be harmful to your relationship in the long run. Have an honest conversation and tell them, “I like accompanying you for shopping every weekend, but can we also make time to go to the movies as I would enjoy that more?”
If there are some weekends you do not feel like going out, you can say, “I had an exhausting week and was looking forward to just relaxing and reading this new book. Is it okay if I join you another time?” This way, you are not outright saying no, and at the same time, you are respecting your boundaries.
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6. Find common interests
Lastly, find something that you both commonly enjoy doing. It could be cooking together on the weekends or playing video games or sports activities such as walking or running marathons together. It may take some time to figure out a common interest or hobby. But when you do, it can be truly rewarding for your relationship. Spending time together is crucial to discover what both of you like and dislike.
Both people in a marriage cannot always have the same interests, and that is fine. It does not conclude that you cannot begin a happy life together. More than having common interests, respecting each other’s different interests is more important.
Spend quality time together and talk to discuss each other’s hobbies and interests and participate in them in whatever way you can. For a happy marriage, both need to respect each other, adjust when required, and communicate when something is unacceptable.