In any dating relationship (and potential future marriage), a challenge exists every time: dealing with differences. One of the biggest challenges involves how a couple deals with different or discrepant interests and hobbies. Genders, personalities, and backgrounds differ, thus adding to differences with what each person in the relationship likes doing for fun and fulfillment. If this issue is not navigated well, frustration, contention, and resentment may develop, as well as distance and separation that can threaten the relationship. In this brief article, a few ideas and suggestions will be given to work through these differences and come together as well as possible.
Dealing with Difference Interests:
A good way to address different interests with your dating partner is first, figure out what some of the notable differences are or will likely be. As you are getting to know each other, ask about what they do in their free time for fun beyond their work obligations during the day, nights, and weekends. Ask about their hobbies and interests. Perhaps you can also ask about their friends and what they like to do together. And of course, simply notice and pay attention to what the other chooses to spend their time doing and make a note of it. And when you have collected this information and basically know the main things the other likes to do, you can then figure out how to navigate the differences from there.
Next, list and discuss the main different interests you both have together. Then attempt to plan to do each side’s interests separately but at the same time as each other when possible—at least the interests you know you and they will never enjiy together. That way both are doing what they want to do, but with minimizing the time lost together as much as possible. Another good idea is for both sides to try out the other’s interests at least once, at least with those ideas that might possibly be enjoyable to the other side. That way perhaps what started as a discrepant interest may become a new mutual/joint interest. For more information on compromise and dealing with differences, which I would recommend reading: https://www.ldsdimension.com/articles/workable-compromise-16/
Finding Mutual Interests:
In addition to trying the other’s interests that you might be open to, there are some other ways to find or create mutual interests together. First, list and plan to do the things you already know you have in common. Second, both sides can do some research online or by asking friends or family members for some possible new hobbies and interests to try out with your dating partner. Third, create a barter plan where you choose something for the two of you to try out together. Then the other takes a turn and does the same thing in return. Fourth, after doing things together through the ideas shared previously, have a discussion after doing the activities. Share with each other what you did and did not like about the activity, along with honestly stating whether or not you would be interested in doing this activity again. Build and repeat your fun mutual activities. Communication, debriefing, and planning are all critical components of finding and continuing mutually interesting hobbies.
Finally, whenever trying new things and/or doing the things of interest of the other person, please try things out with a good attitude. Sure, be honest afterwards about if you would or wouldn’t like to do that activity again, sure, but at least make the best of things along the way. The idea is that whether an activity becomes a regular thing you do together or not, have the most fun you can with everything along the way. The attitude you approach doing things together matters a lot. So please always go in with the best attitude possible. Many activities become more fun with effort and positivity.
How you navigate each other’s interests and hobbies and how you build them together are important elements of a happy, bonded, close relationship. This requires a balance of openness, honesty, being positive, keeping an open mind, and being adventurous. Get out of your comfort zone and be open to trying new things. And don’t expect the other to accommodate you and try your activities if you are not willing to do the same from your side. The idea is that you are building a life together, creating things to do together is an important part of that. Please do so with a positive, optimistic, playful attitude. Be a person the other wants to be around and use your activities to bond and get closer. And remember that “…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.”—1 Corinthians 11:11.”
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About the author
Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to email@example.com).