What Does It Take to Maintain a Healthy Marriage?

Love & Sex 13

tvAs I beg my husband to watch Downton Abbey with me Sunday night, I realize that more and more, we have very little in common. And with four kids, our busy work schedules, and his graduate program, we don't often have time alone together.

So when we do, I feel as though we need something that we both enjoy doing together, even if it is watching a television show every week. And I have to wonder -- can you actually have a healthy relationship if you don't do anything together but parent your kids?

When my husband and I were dating, we used to play music together, both in our home as well as out at bars. I loved performing with him, but after we had our oldest daughter, the late nights were a bit too much to handle, especially with a breastfeeding baby who hated sleep.

Even though he's kept it up on his own -- at least when it comes to playing guitar in our basement music room and performing at a few of our neighborhood events -- I've totally lost interest. I really don't have a desire to play anymore. Unfortunately, it was really the only thing we did together.

We do both enjoy running, although he runs short distances super fast while I tend to take on longer distances at a much slower pace, so you can imagine how going out for a run together goes. These days, he's planning ski trips or watching Border Wars, and I'm writing and obsessing over Downton Abbey. There's not really much we like to do together, aside from the basic eating and drinking that happens once the kids get to bed.

And quite honestly, we're both too tired and busy to take up any sort of new hobby together. But from what I hear, if we wait until the kids are older, it will be too late. So I'm hoping that you can help with my little dilemma and tell me what sort of hobbies or activities, other than sex (heh), you and your partner/spouse engage in and, more importantly, how you make the time for it.

As much as I enjoy a date night of dinner and drinks, I feel as though we need a little more to help make our relationship a bit closer.

What activities and hobbies you and your spouse engage in?


Photo via dennis/Flickr

marriage, divorce


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Freela Freela

Honestly, my dh and I have been married for 14 years with very few common interests. Like you, we don't watch any of the same tv shows. We don't like the same music, or the same movies. He's a gamer and I'm a reader. I've often thought it would be nice if we liked some of the same things, but honestly I don't think it's a threat to the marriage. We still communicate, make each other laugh, have a good sex life, etc. I don't get how I ended up with the guy who won't sit down and watch The Walking Dead with me... but I could have done much worse!

bella... bellacazzate

I think my significant other and I are lucky in that we share very similar interests--not hobbies, per se. We both enjoy reading and politics and traveling so we have lots to talk about. But that's it really... the talking. We've played in a social soccer league for awhile (he loves soccer) and we'll go skiing (I had to teach him), but we've not got many shared hobbies outside of those--and even those were a bit of a compromise. As long as that communication is there, I wouldn't worry.

I think every so often a really couple-y couple comes along that makes you doubt your relationship a little. They both love biking together or they both cook with abandon or they're really into some other shared activity or share beliefs and ideals with twin-ish conviction. That's really not our style, nor would it work for us. Enjoying talking together is much more valuable than watching a tv show in silence. 

MamaL... MamaLioness2012

My fiancé is a gamer and while I enjoy gaming too there are sone games I can't play with him and with caring for our one year old I don't have a whole lot of time to game. So while he plays his single player games I sit next to him and read. Every once in a while we will sit down and play something together or watch a movie. I really don't mind what we do just so long as I'm near him.

handy... handy0318

My hubby and I have widely differing tastes when it comes to music and movies. However, one thing we do...and this sounds really old fogey of us, but we play cards with each other.  Usually rummy, and the thing I like about it, is that we can talk with each other whilst playing, catching up on what's going on with each other. Another thing is going for walks with each other, again, it allows time for conversation.

About being too tired and busy, hey, if you're married with kids, yes, you're going to be too tired and busy... You have to make the time.  

nonmember avatar Brittany

My husband and I are high-school sweethearts, so you can imagine that we've changed over the years. We're not at all the same people that we were back when we fell in love. Our interests have changed, what we do with each other changed after having babies, and even what we ate changed. But the one thing that's stayed the same is our open communication. Even when we have the TV on, a lot of times what we're doing is simply...talking. About important things, about unimportant things, even really just nothing. I was asked once in college what we do, cause our friends never really saw us go out much. I didn't really know how to answer- we don't do much. We'll just sit on the bed, or in the living room and talk. Haha I guess that sounds pretty boring, but it's anything but. It's enjoyable, and it's relaxing- we don't have to go out or spend money to do it, and it's not some kind of activity that we have to get energy to do. But it keeps us close to one another.

tbruc... tbrucemom

I'm confused. The writer states that she and her husband are too tired and busy to start a new hobby together but she's asking for comments on what hobbies other couples do? Based on what she said they have interests that are similiar that could be tweeked. Why doesn't she like to play music anymore? He stills does and she used to so what's the reason? Is it she's too busy with the kids and work? Because if that's the reason another hobby isn't going to help. If they both like to run and it sounds like they still do only with different styles why not compromise? I used to watch sci fi with my ex and eventually got into it because that's what he liked to watch. Maybe they can find a common show or learn to like each other's? It needs to be reciprocated though. Is it even feasible for them to do something together with four kids at home that's not preplanned like a dinner out? My ex-husband and I didn't have common interests and it was compounded by either having to take the kids with us or one going and the other staying home with them. My fiance and I have lots of common interests and my children are grown so it does make it easier. It's hard keeping a marriage strong and having kids. Comproisie is key, but don't be the only one compromising or you'll become resentful.

nonmember avatar Rae

My husband and I have been married for 11 years and are still enjoying learning and growing together. W hen we decide to get involved in activities outside the home, we make sure it silk not effect our time with our kids

nonmember avatar Rae

My husband and I have been married for 11 years and are still learning and growing together. If we decide to participate in activities outside the home, we make sure it doesn't affect our time with the kids or each other. We are involved in two things, one at church and one activity for our son, and both we do together. We just make the commitment to not live the married- singles lifestyle and we make it a point to sit down each night, unplug, and talk to one another. I don't think it matters what you do, just as long as you're doing it together.

Cryst... Crystal151

I think doing things together as a couple helps in bonding, it has to be deliberate. I started by making sure we pray together when we wake up and from there other things take shape.Everyday as a woman, I try to find some interesting littles things we could do together and it does help to understand each other more.

nonmember avatar MaternallyDamnd

My husband and I have the same problem. We used to shoot photos together before we were married, but he can stand for half an hour and take pictures of a bug while I want to move and capture people. We used to go for walks at night, but he wants to explore, and I like to stay on the path. It's tough and we're working on it. For us, I think it's realizing that it doesn't have to be exciting for it to be quality time. We both like "Pawn Stars" and "How It's Made". That's been enough lately.

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