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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Respecting Your Mate's Joy - The Fifth Pillar

Originally I was going to call this "Avocational Respect", but it sounded like adenoids.

Avocations are what we choose to do; the hobbies, the causes, the passions that, in many ways, define who we are.

They're often what led us to our spouses in the first place, meeting at a Habitat for Humanity build, or a concert, or at the gym.

In a surprisingly large number of marriages, though, spouses pressure one another to give up exactly those things that brought them together.

Why? Insecurity.

After the wedding, what's seen as an excessive involvement in optional activities is seen as taking away from the attention one is supposed to be getting from one's husband or wife. "Hey! Pay attention to ME!"

And it doesn't take a lot to trip the 'insecurity alert'. How many couples talked for hours about what they read during courtship...but now, "she's always got her nose in a book".

And how many spouses receive passive-aggressive opposition to their endeavours..."I'm delighted that you're writing, dear, but have you remembered that the bathroom needs painting?"

Sure, the bathroom needs a new coat of paint, but when the comment is delivered while one is in the midst of writing, it delivers another message..."why are you wasting time on that stuff?"

It's unfortunate, because the things that motivate us actually make us better spouses. The happy husband or wife brings that happiness to the living room, and to the bedroom...and invites mutuality.

People who are passionate about something want to share.

The best thing you can do, to develop respect for your spouse's avocation, and to communicate that respect, is to listen and learn.

Listen so you can take part in the sharing, and learn so that you can add value to the conversation by asking informed questions.

Nest, make time and space for your husband or wife to pursue their passion. Don't keep pulling them back with reminders of household duties or pointed glances at the clock.

Take care of yourself. Don't be waiting at the door for your wife to come home from her art class, tapping your foot all the while; do something yourself. Going your separate ways in hobbies does not mean your marriage is weak.

It can mean exactly the opposite, that both of you can stand alone, but choose to stand together.

Finally, brag up your mate's accomplishments in their avocation. If your wife's a writer, read her work, and talk about it. Look for the good, and praise it.

We all need that kind of support.

We need someone to help celebrate our joy.

(Please don't forget to visit my other blog, www.dailygracequote.wordpress.com, for a quotation and a short commentary of grace in marriage.)

This post is linked to Wedded Wednesday, a compendium of really cool posts on marriage. If you click on the logo below, you'll be taken to www.messymarriage.com, which is the springboard to a wealth of information. It's run by Beth Steffaniak, who has a heart for marriage and a soul for God!


  1. And it's even more fun when you and your spouse find the same "avocation" fun and interesting to do together. Of course, I'm not saying that all of your hobbies have to be the same or shared with a spouse, but there's something that invigorates a marriage when you can share a special hobby. My husband and I love to take photos together. And then you have the fun of looking over them afterwards too ... even years later and it brings back a flood of memories. Great words, Andrew. I'm so grateful that you shine a light on these important nuances in marriage!

    1. it is wonderful when a n avocation can be shared - I don't think it's very common, but it's certainly a blessing.

      Photography is a great area to share, and has that added plu of preserving memories.

      Great addition, Beth! Thanks!

  2. Excellent advice. My daughter became a deer hunter because it's her husband's passion. I don't know if I'd go THAT far, but I'm glad she did. :)

    1. Yeah, I'm not sure if I'd go that far either, but I bet her husband hears the eternal question...

      "Does she have any sisters?"

  3. "...the things that motivate us actually make us better spouses." As a 50 something couple now married 32 years, we have found some "in common" avocations, like fitness and cooking together, as well as some that we do not share that we enjoy with our friends. This keeps our life engaging. Great post and discussion here, Andrew. Nice to "meet" you!