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How do you determine what’s important in your marriage? How do you navigate marriage when you have different interests and hobbies than your spouse?
In today’s episode, we explore the art of learning alongside each other to grow in the things we love, sharing in the experience together, and nurturing our marriage relationship by choosing to like what the other loves.
We were recently asked: “What is important to your spouse and not to you – how do you navigate that?”
We as individuals were created uniquely and have different backgrounds, so it makes total sense that we would like different things and have different interests…some of which may overlap! Some of these things even become the connection and easy bond that helps couples to feel close. Then there are other instances where these interests may feel more one-sided; something that the other person does not enjoy so much. What do we do then?
Our friends Jeremy and Audrey Roloff wrote in their book A Love Letter Life, that they try to find something to like about what the other likes, out of love. In other words, trying to find what it is they love about it. Additionally, in A Severe Mercy, by Sheldon Vanauken, on the principle of sharing in marriage: “If one of us likes anything, there must be something to like in it, and the other one must find it.” This beautiful sentiment reminds us as married couples that we are one, and that these common interests only bring us closer together.
Trying things is a good way to sift through and see if it’s something that can be done together. Not everything will be a match, but we can surprise ourselves when we find stuff we enjoy doing with our spouse. Even if we don’t value something in the same way, we can find value in it, simply because it brings our spouse joy.
Here are some practical ways husbands and wives can seek to learn how to love what their spouses love:
- Invite yourself into it. Don’t be afraid to ask to tag along.
- Ask your spouse questions about the interest that will help you learn about it. Simply asking them about it and truly wanting to hear about it allows you to have a good conversation with them and quality time.
- Give time for it for your spouse to do it and for you to do it together.
- Invest in it financially to support an interest.
- Encourage them to keep going.
Being intentional to do these things will kill some of those negative feelings you may have surrounding your spouse’s hobby such as resentment, jealousy, or frustration. Of course, it is always important to have healthy boundaries with our individual interests, and to make sure these hobbies or interests don’t get in the way of our priorities: our families, our church, and our God.
Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
When we talk about this topic spiritually: How do we enjoy or learn to love what God loves? Why would we care to explore and know what God loves? Because we love Him. And when we participate in what he loves it helps us know Him better. But how do we learn what He loves? His word tells us what he loves:
2 Corinthians 9:7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Psalm 37:28 For the LORD loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
1 John 4:20-21 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
We need to learn to love giving cheerfully, and to treat everyone as if they are made in the image of their Creator. God loves justice; he loves it when people are treated rightly, with fairness and equality, and we must learn to love to treat others in this way. We cannot love God and not love the bride of Christ.
There are many things God loves and many things that He hates. Just as we desire to grow in our relationship with our spouse, let us grow in love with God by seeking out those things and asking God to help us grow to love that which He loves.