By request from some of my favorite people in the world, I've been asked to write more on Marriage Maintenance...
I was given this question:
What are challenges in marriage you didn't see when dating?
It took me a second to think about it... and there are a ton of challenges that I can write about!!
But one challenge in marriage that I didn't see when we were dating or engaged was finding things in common.
When we spent all of our time together...we always seemed to have a common interest. Even when I didn't understand everything he was talking about when it came to guitar gear, I was still interested in it. I wanted to hear about it. He didn't know about the fiction novel I was reading, but he still listened to me talk about the characters and the story.
We would easily be able to talk about anything that interested us or things we did together or on our own.
But, as we grow and live life...our interests change. And it takes work to make sure that we have something in common.
I mean, my world revolves around Disney movies and changing diapers...and his world is different than mine.
So, we have made it a huge effort to have a few things in common at all times:
1. We watch Top Chef together. This is huge for us. It is one of the highlights of our week. We love watching TV together, but when it comes to this show, we talk about the chefs like they are buddies of ours and how much we would like the food they are cooking. And now that we live closer to Aspen, we are dreaming of when we will get to meet some of these chefs at the Food and Wine event someday. It is something that we can dream about together.
2. We read a book together. I'm thankful for our Kindles. We download the same book, read it and talk about it. That's one of the reasons we moved to Colorado...we read A Million Miles in a Thousand Years (by Donald Miller) together. It gives us something to talk about besides kids, bills, or what needs to be fixed in the house... It has strengthened our relationship!!! We are closer because we read the same thing...We don't necessarily worry about being on the same chapter at the same time...he actually read Blue Like Jazz and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years first, but he has a phenomenal memory and asked me questions or talked about where I was at in the book. It also made me want to read so we could talk about it.
3. We've started to try to get up before our kids to have coffee together and talk to each other. I didn't think we would have to work so hard to make time for each other, but with Lee's part-time work schedule and getting things ready for the church plus kids...it takes a lot for us to have time to ourselves and time for each other. I am not a morning person at all...but I seem to start yawning at 6:30 pm, and I'm worn out by 9 o'clock at night. I don't have much left to offer...but if it's quiet in the morning, even if we had a rough night with a restless baby (or babies), we can have a few moments together with a cup of coffee and enjoy each other's company. He's worth it to me.
4. We ask about each others interests. I want to know about his music world, his work world, what the guys in his life are talking about to him...He asks about my blog...what book I'm reading...what the girls in my life are talking to me about. The key is asking and listening...paying attention to each other.
I know that these things may not seem like a big deal to some...but I do not want our relationship to grow further apart. It's not just about having a common interest...it's talking and listening to each other...communicating about our common interests...not just talking about what bill is due or what the kids destroyed...
I'd rather work on maintaining my marriage than having to go into repair mode in the future because I didn't take care of it enough. It is important to be proactive than reactive.
My marriage is worth it.
What are some challenges you see in marriage?
What do you do to make sure you have interests in common with your spouse? I'd love to hear your responses!!