Making a Marriage Work when our Interests are Completely Different (part 1)

It is not uncommon to be in a relationship with someone who seems like an alien to you. Opposites often attract, it’s true, but they don’t always stay together. Perhaps you wonder how your partner could possibly think the way he or she does, and it seems you two are completely contrary with one another. Is a break up inevitable? Of course not. It is possible for opposites to stay together if your causes are greater than your consequences.

Think about the reasons you want to stay together with this person. Do you love him or her? Are you staying together for the children? Do religious commitments keep you connected? Is it guilt, obligation, or family that hold you together? Does your financial situation keep you together? Is it fear of the unknown?

After you identify your reason, weigh it against the negatives to determine if it’s important enough to want to stay. As long as your reason makes you want to stay with your spouse, it doesn’t matter what it is. If you stay without a good reason, you will be terribly unhappy, or worse, apathetic. Having a good reason will shift your focus from what is wrong in your relationship to the benefits the relationship provides.

This may sound simple, and in theory, it is! However, putting this into practice can be challenging and may require some professional assistance with either a counselor or a good relationship coach.

Our brains are hardwired to notice the things that aren’t right in our world. Whenever you feel too hot or too cold, you notice, but if the temperature is just right, you never think of it. The same is true of our relationships. When things are going well, we tend to take that for granted because our reality is aligned with how we want things to be. When something is wrong, even if it’s only slightly unpleasant, that situation takes most of our concentration.

You must create a different mindset if you want to start appreciating the good parts of your relationship. Giving the already existing hardwiring for dissonance, this can be challenging. Take for example the question I received about how to stay together when you have completely different interests. Having different interests can be a relatively minor thing in a relationship. It only becomes a larger issue if you expect your partner to share your interests or if you expect your spouse to meet all your needs. Having different interests can actually enhance relationships; it opens opportunities to connect with other people and have different experiences, giving you more to speak with your spouse about during your alone time together.

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