Welcome to our NEW "Relationship Hurdles Series" featuring some of the greatest obstacles we notice in Relationship Therapy. If there was a chance you could gain insight to what couples are facing, here it is. We know you will enjoy this series and be inspired by it! Here's our first post:
DO YOU AND YOUR PARTNER HAVE DIFFERENT INTERESTS?
“Opposites Attract”! Do you think it's true? No one is completely alike. We are ALL uniquely and wonderfully made. Some relationships are based on mutual enjoyment of hobbies, values and interests. You may be the couple who met whilst playing golf or the pair who kept bumping into each other whilst visiting the theatre. Maybe you met through friends? This mutual enjoyment of something probably triggered conversation and attraction. Others however, can be attracted to each other by a powerful, unknown force. You may be the couple who met across a crowded room, no explanation other than you found each other totally alluring. You chatted, you enjoyed each other’s company and you began a relationship. This relationship can work well even though you seemingly have little in common!
You can both aim for the stars!
Whilst the commonality can be friends or work rather than just interests, there is usually something that binds a couple together - people can be complete opposites despite this. You might love camping holidays sleeping under the stars. Your wife might like a luxury resort and the only stars she’s interested in, are 5 stars. Your husband may prefer a quiet night in with an action movie and a can of beer while you might prefer a glass of bubbles and Karaoke with a crowd. The differences do not matter; in fact they can be extremely positive because they can also encourage each of you in the relationship to try something you may not have thought of before. What matters is wanting to be a part of your other half’s life and being willing to try new things.
Many relationships feature polar opposite personality styles! You may be very quiet, he may be the life and soul. She may be a worrier and you might be so laid back you’re about to slip into a coma. The difference can be a positive influence. If two people are very obstinate they may struggle to find a happy medium – certainly in an argument. If two people are very laid back, it could mean that nothing gets done or resolved. If you are the laid back person and your other half is very driven they may well give you a push when you need it and vice versa.
The Importance of Values & Beliefs
Stephanie Sarkis Ph.D tells us in Psychology Today: “Couples with very different interests can have healthy relationships – what counts is that they share common goals and values.” As long as you both have the same principles, such as how you believe your children should be brought up, giving to charity, the importance of family, work ethics etc. then the interests you don’t share do not matter. Essentially, couples don’t have to do everything together – it’s healthy to have outside interests too and to be able to function without each other. If you love to belt out some tunes on your trusty guitar that’s fantastic and if she would rather a good game of tennis with her friends, that’s equally wonderful!
Mutual Respect & Compromise
The point is it doesn’t matter what your interests are and whether they are different from your partner’s – it is about respecting those differences. Dr Sue Johnson says “Relationships can survive partners being very different…it’s ok. The one thing love can’t survive is constant emotional disconnection.” It’s about being able to talk to each other and have your voices heard, listening to each other’s needs. It is also about balance. If your partner loves watching sport on TV but you would rather watch ‘Survivor’ (which they hate) compromise, half an hour of sport, then switch over to see who gets ‘voted off the island’ – failing that, get two TV’s!
He says Potato – She Says Potahto: How do you strike the balance?
Learn to respect each other, even if you are both complete opposites and you don’t agree, be humble enough to listen to his or her opinion and appreciate that sometimes, views are different. As an example, you could have opposing political views, if you know these lead to an argument take a step back, enjoy that everyone is entitled to their view, listen and if you can’t agree – agree to disagree! (Oh, and don’t plan a romantic dinner on polling night!)
Look our for our top 15 Tips on Relationship Interests Social Media in the coming weeks.
Joanne Wilson is a professional counsellor and psychotherapist with an interest in relationships and pre- marriage therapy. She has produced her own book, Pearls of Wisdom from the Thriving Thirties, and presented a series of relationship seminars on the Sunshine Coast,
For more information, contact Joanne Wilson on
0409 909 933 or
Joanne will be your Confidante, enabling you to speak freely in complete confidence and serenity. An integrated approach tailored to your specific needs will be utilised.