Many times, I have sat with couples who have told me that they’ve lost their romantic spark. They say that attraction that drew them together is gone. When I ask them to describe their marriage as it currently is, I often find that one of them—or both—lacks personal friends and hobbies.
Having a life outside of your marriage is vital to the health and attractiveness of your marriage. Don’t believe me? Think about this, when you were first dating your spouse, they had a life without you. They had fun, made friends, and spent their time and money without consulting you, yet despite all of that, you still were attracted to them.
How often did you love to hear them talking about one of their cherished memories? Or cheering with them as you watched their favorite sports team together? Remember when they took you to their favorite—and quite personal—spot?
It’s interesting how those same couples who found the other’s strength and independence SO attractive have lost the fire in their relationship. Now the individuals see themselves married to a partner with whom they have shared almost all the same experiences together. They live in the same house, they go to the same shows and restaurants, they attend the same church and hang out with the same people, and then they wonder why the other person seems so dull: familiarity breeds contempt!
Breathing by yourself is okay! Having a life outside your marriage allows you to grow as a person. Spending time with yourself is good for your health. You then take that healthy individual back and share it with your spouse. Then, you get to share new memories and experiences with them that they don’t know about—that makes you attractive. They get to see your skill-sets grow in hobbies from an amateur level to an expert. They get to share your highs and lows; this too makes you more interesting.
Here’s the million-dollar question: what if your spouse doesn’t like your hobby? This can be tricky, but it’s essential to learn to communicate with each other about your interests and the things you don’t like.
What if he doesn’t like to dance?
What if she doesn’t like to play video games?
What if he doesn’t like to drink?
What if she doesn’t like to go to sports games?
It may be beneficial to seek a counselor’s assistance to help with communicating with each other.
When it comes to recreation, it is the person who is left out—or at home by choice—that can develop resentment or a poor attitude about “the hobby.” However, this can often be rectified with improved communication.
Ask yourself, “why is it an issue that your spouse has a friend/ or a hobby that you can’t participate in?” The answer may involve jealousy—” I don’t get ‘me’ time, why should you?”—or it might involve fear/worry–“You aren’t spending enough time with the kids or me.” These are valid concerns that are not problems but are opportunities to grow the marriage even stronger.