Doing Life Together

ID-100239527When I was dating my husband, I realized he was a huge soccer fan. Me, not so much! I grew up in the north where hockey ruled game day. But because I was falling for him, I decided I better learn soccer and at least try to love the game.

Conventional wisdom says that the more couples like to do things together, the better the relationship. But a study in the Journal of Marriage and Family says it might be more complicated!

When it comes to hobbies and interest, doing things together as a couple may not make marital satisfaction grow! Here’s why.

The study followed a number of married couples over a decade and found a few twists in our conventional thinking. The relationship between companionship and satisfaction depends on how often spouses pursue activities that reflect their own and their partner’s leisure preferences.  Over time, leisure liked by the husband, but disliked by the wife, causes or is the result of, the wife’s dissatisfaction! In other words, if the wife doesn’t like the leisure activity she is doing with her husband, she doesn’t feel better about the marriage. So you are probably not doing yourself or the marriage any favors but trying to like a leisure activity you don’t like. Better to be honest and find something mutually satisfying.

And husbands who pursue activities, with or without their wives, that the wife does not like, end up feeling less satisfied with their marriage as well. So the strategy of forcing leisure time together when it isn’t something the wife likes, doesn’t work for either spouse.

Fortunately for me, I grew to like soccer.  However, if I hated it, continued to force myself to games and watch it on TV, the study indicates that both myself and my husband might  become dissatisfied.

When both partners like the same leisure activities, things go much better. When it comes to leisure, find something you both like or go it alone and find other ways to connect.





Source: Crawford, D, Houts, R, Huston, T. and George, L. (2004). Compatibility, leisure, and satisfaction in martial relationships.  Journal of Marriage and Family , Vol 64 Issue 2

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