This lesson may not be something everyone agrees with. I want to preface this post as this is not an endorsement for being lazy and neglectful of your marriage or family. That is never healthy for a marriage.
Anyhow….Now that we have that disclosure out of the way…
When we were married just a few months we were traveling full time across the country. Jon spoke in schools, churches and camps. Every day was a new adventure and we met a LOT of interesting people. There were quite a few newly and some “not-so-newly” married couples that we ran into that wanted to (ahem) “Share” with us what marriage was really like. And what I hoped would have been encouragement and good advice often was complaining and tearing down of their spouses. It was so discouraging.
The number one complaint from the wives… My husband plays video games ALL THE TIME. My husband goes to the gym ALL THE TIME. My husband watches sports ALL THE TIME. And other such complaints of their husbands attention being focused on something other than them. And all this complaining “advice” started to influence me. And I began to feel quite annoyed and bitter any time Jon was watching sports or playing a video game or wanted to go work out. Because those were just stupid things that were just distractions and he just didn’t want to spend time with me!
After our first son was born, I had an epiphany moment. Video games, sports, the gym… they weren’t the problem.
The problem was my attitude.
Jon has hobbies and interests and things he likes to do to relax or wind down. I don’t always “get” the things he is into. Just like he totally doesn’t understand why I like getting pedicures or walking thru Target for a few hours (I mean who doesn’t love pedicures and Target??? Right?)
When I changed my attitude and realized that when he was doing all these things it was actually helping him! He was relaxing while playing video games. He was working his body and staying healthy at the gym. He was engaging his analytical mind while watching sports. And those are all actually good things!
I began to encourage him to do all these things and sat down and began to learn about sports and worked on my computer while he played video games. And the more time I spent being quiet and encouraging with him the less and less he did all those things… or at least that’s how it seemed to me. And the reverse effect happened! He began really encouraging me to do things that I loved and finding hobbies and releases for myself.
The expectations in marriage can sometimes be hard to overcome. We can sometimes come into a relationship with some Fairytale ideas that really aren’t realistic. Like spending ALL of our free time together. Or that we would never need to do anything a part from one another. We may not understand all the things that our spouse enjoys doing, but that shouldn’t stop us from encouraging and supporting them in doing those things. Our hobbies and interests are a part of who we are.
Marriages and relationships thrive when there is obvious support and encouragement in all areas of who we are.
Maybe for your relationship it isn’t video games and gym time or sports. It could be something completely different. Don’t let that part of your spouse make you bitter and mad. Most likely, they aren’t doing those things to exclude you, ignore you, or hurt you. Communicate that you feel neglected. Find a way to support the one that you love. And learn to enjoy new things with them.