As a marriage matures it goes through changes. Changing roles, changing intimacy, changing dreams, and so on. Empty nests then suddenly place a stress on some marriages. In my 40 years of marriage we made it through all of these.
One thing I have been thinking about recently is the issue of divergent interests. When young people get married they are idealists. They will make any sacrifice for the sake of the marriage. But sometimes as we age and as we mature and as we grow in life we can find that our interests do not match our spouses. We find ourselves drawn to things that our spouse shows no interest in.
When we were young my dear wife followed me anywhere I felt we needed to go. Later in life I was able to support Kathy’s interests even though they were of no interest to me. I gave up a lot of personal hobbies or activities because Kathy could not or would not share them with me. And no doubt she did the same for me.
I remember as a young boy that my mother was a traveler. She loved planning family vacations that involved traveling great distances. I remember my father going with us on a few of these trips. But I also remember him staying home because he had to work. After my parents divorce my mother remarried and her second husband shared her love of travel and my father’s new wife shared his desire to stay home.
So when I see a couple who seem to be growing apart over these kinds of things I worry a little. I hate to see a marriage break up over something as minor as family vacations. Or business trips. Or hobbies. Or a lack of mutual friends. Kathy and I were married very young, so we grew up together. But I know I made deliberate and conscious decisions to adjust my ambitions and interests to align with Kathy’s dreams and wishes. That is how we survived to stay together for 40 years.
So if you are married and you feel there is a shadow of distance creeping over your marriage, maybe it’s time to take inventory of what you love and what you do and make adjustments to better match your common interests.