This post is written by contributing writer, Brenda from Triple Braided.
When you’re a single woman you get a lot of advice about being married. Unfortunately some of it is of the male-bashing kind. That kind you need to stay away from. But, on the other hand, some of it is really helpful and you find yourself referring back to it over and over again.
I was single for a long time. Not as long as some, but long enough to grow a pretty large file in my mind of all that I should and shouldn’t do in marriage.
One day my friend, Stephanie, and I were talking in the church sanctuary. She was older than me and had been married for a while with school-aged children. I was so grateful for women like Stephanie who invested time in me when all I wanted was to be married like her.
Stephanie told me that she was going motorcycle riding with her husband. Then she said that she hated motorcycle riding.
“Well, why are you going?” I blurted out with a “You’re crazy, I wouldn’t get on a motorcycle for anyone” look on my face.
She said, “Brenda, let me give you some advice for when you are married. It is important that you are interested in what your husband is interested in. Whether it’s sports or fishing or motorcycle riding, whatever it is, learn to do it with him.”
But what if I don’t like any of those hobbies? Should I have to suffer through something just because he wants to do it? And what about my hobbies? Is he going to run with me or shop with me or help me bake?
There was no husband in sight for me at the time but already I pushed back her comment fiercely.
Then I got married.
My husband has two big hobbies – college football and golf. Well, he told me it was just college football. Shortly after the vows I learned that it’s really all football.
Early in our marriage as we watched the fourth football game of the weekend – yes, fourth – I learned that this whole marriage thing was going to be an adjustment. I wanted to put on my pout face, stomp my foot, and start laying out the ultimatums.
And a few times I did.
But with each foot stomp and threat instead of watching less football he wanted to watch more.
Then I remembered Stephanie’s advice.
My husband and I can be in separate parts of the house all weekend or in separate places all together – him doing his hobby and me doing mine – but that is just going to create a relationship of separation and an attitude of resentment.
For the health of our marriage, it was most productive for me to be involved and create an atmosphere of unity.
In order to do this I learned to incorporate my hobbies into his.
For instance, on football Saturdays I’ll make the day into a party even if it’s only for us. I’ll cook some fun snacks and decorate. I try to make comments such as, “I can’t wait for football season to start because I know you love it.” With golf I’ll go to the driving range and read a book while he hits golf balls, or I’ll drive the golf cart while he plays a round of golf.
Now I will admit that I do not hate either of these hobbies. I actually enjoy both of them to a certain degree – just not watching every college and NFL game in a week’s time! It would be much harder for me to get on a motorcycle. I’d be terrified!
I’m also not trying to say that it is appropriate for either spouse to spend an obsessive amount of time on their individual hobbies. We have had numerous conversations about the amount of time he spends on his hobbies and me needing him to also be involved in the hobbies I like to do – like going to fun restaurants and on day trips.
Both of us have had to set some boundaries. Otherwise, eventually someone feels taken advantage of.
But when the conversations are spoken in love, and not pout faces, stomping feet, and ultimatums, and your spouse sees you giving as much as you’re asking, then the results are better for everyone.
So Stephanie’s advice is the best advice I received about being married: Love the things he loves because this shows how much you love him and that he is first in your life.
What is the best advice you ever received about being married?