How Separate Interests Can Keep Marriage Alive

couple sitting separately on couch

You don't have to do everything together to have a happy marriage.

I just finished reading Susan Johnston’s post about dating compatibility and taste in books (she was contemplating whether you need to like the same kinds of books to be compatible with someone). It got me thinking about whether you really need to have the same interests to make a marriage work.

My husband and I don't do everything together . In fact, I would say that many of our interests are quite different. I like to cook, decorate, read, do crosswords, shop, walk, write and watch certain kinds of TV. None of those interests would appear on his list (aside from his own variety of TV shows, which are different from mine). There are also things we enjoy doing together, like traveling, boating, kayaking, eating and spending time with our dogs and kids.

Although for the most part our interests are very different, there is one important thing about them that strikes me: They are compatible. The things we like to do don't compete with or interfere with the other person's interests. And we each see the value in the things the other enjoys. I think that has made all the difference. Finding Common Ground

Sometimes I wish he was deeply interested in the details of paint color selection, chick lit or The Bachelor (ok, yes, so I watch it). But he’s happy to listen to me talk about whatever it is I'm excited about or interested in at the moment. And I'm usually interested in hearing about the most recent This American Life he listened to. I just have no desire to listen to it myself.

So at the end of the day, we come to the dinner table with lots to talk about and lots to share.

When you have two parents with vastly different interests, you end up with kids who are an interesting mix, and who are independent in choosing their own unique passions. They've spent years hearing us talk about our individual pursuits and have learned (I hope) that you needn't be identical twins to have a happy marriage. Give Advice: Does Intellectual Compatibility Matter?

Do you and your partner do everything together? What type of marriage are you modeling for your children?