Nothing in Common with Your Spouse?

So you’ve been married for a while and you realize you have no interests in common. You’re only talking about the kids or work or what needs to be done around the house. While this might seem distressing when you first realize it, it is not uncommon in marriages, including long-term, successful marriages. As a marriage counselor and psychotherapist, I have helped many couples in the New York City area find their way in this new normal and build new experiences together. 

Take inventory

All marriages go through seasons. One or both of you may be shifting a bit in interests, tastes, and abilities, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re drifting apart. The key is to find what brought you two together and work from there. Spend time together remembering your early months and years, what attracted you to each other, and reminisce about happy events in your early days. Doing this will help remind you of your bond of love. 

Be honest

Next, be honest with each other about your limited shared interests – not in an accusatory way, but in a way of discovery. Take the time to inventory your interests, opinions, and preferences. Talk about what you share, including the kids and various marital experiences. You may find that you actually do have things in common, they just need to be emphasized or appreciated more. 

Explore each other’s interests

After inventorying, see what things you can get interested in together. For instance, if one is really interested in cars and the other is interested in cooking, try finding out what makes this topic so interesting. Attend a car show together, or watch a cooking show together and choose a fun recipe to prepare as a couple. 

If you’re interested in fitness but your spouse is sedentary, find out if there’s a reason. Maybe your spouse doesn’t feel like there’s enough time in a busy day to exercise. Could you take a nice walk around the block after dinner instead of watching TV? While walking you can talk, listen to a favorite podcast together, or just silently enjoy the fresh air and scenery. Or maybe a bad back makes your spouse hesitant to exercise. If your spouse is willing, work together to find a fitness regime that strengthens other parts of the body. Working out together, even if it’s just stretches, is fun and releases happy hormones that can not only enhance your mood but strengthen your relationship as well. 

You could find a new hobby you both like or develop more shared experiences. Take trips together; pick up ballroom dancing; find a favorite restaurant and try a different menu item each time you visit. Or find out what your spouse likes about an activity and find another activity that includes that element. For instance, if your spouse likes building engines, maybe you could both build something together you’d both enjoy, like a piece of furniture or a series of birdhouses that attract different birds.  

Let it be

A final option is to just let it be. This is a great time to practice acceptance of the other and even celebrate your differences. Just make sure you turn into each other rather than drift apart. If you’d like someone to help guide you as a couple through this time of discovery, give me a call. I can help you navigate to a new place of shared experiences and mutual appreciation.

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