The Importance of Like
It’s a known fact that one should love their spouse in modern western marriages. In fact, marriage vows are predicated around the concept of love.
9 years of dating/living in sin and almost 4 years of marriage, have taught me that it’s just as important to like your spouse.
While, we do have different interests – he loves hunting; I love reading; he loves cooking; and, I love eating. My husband and I much prefer to do things together, that we both enjoy. And as such, many of our interests are similar – we both like hiking; we both like camping; we both enjoy spending time with our dog; we both like to discuss politics; we both like to travel; we both enjoy biking; etc. On our weekends, we like to do things together. The idea of a guy’s weekend or a girl’s weekend is okay, but if we are going to spend the money on a trip or a nice night out, we’d rather share the experience with each other. Simply put, although we do have separate interests, we very much like to spend time together. We like each other.
However, what we’ve learned from our separate time with just the girls or just the guys, is that many of our couple friends seem to prefer their time apart from each other. Many of the guys view their time out with the guys as their weekend away and the only time they are allowed out. They spend a lot of time complaining about their wives and their kids. Complaining that they have to spend time at home with the family. Complaining that they have to go out for date night. Many of the girls on the other hand, seems suspicious of their husbands being out. Trust doesn’t seem to be part of their vocabulary, as they text/phone their husbands constantly to “check-in”. Many of the girls go to the family functions on their own, as the guys “doesn’t do birthday parties for kids”.
Now, I’m not saying we are perfect, we definitely aren’t. We do have our fair share of disagreements, the biggest of which is that my husband loves to fall asleep on the couch, and then come to bed at 3am. I hate this because I get woken up at 3am and then cannot fall back asleep. But, my husband and I have pretty much always agreed on the big items – money, mortgage, house, family planning, etc. We’ve always worked through disagreements and had relatively healthy conversations to get from anger and frustration to acceptance. When we are in really difficult situations, filled with emotion, we rarely lash out at each other – in fact in 14 years I can count the times on one hand. Our disagreements are usually short lived and very rarely, if ever, turn into multi-day fights.
So, based on the constant complaining we hear from our friends when they are apart, we’ve started to wonder how much our friends actually like there chosen life partners. It doesn’t make sense to us. We are perplexed. Shouldn’t you want to spend time with your spouse? If you like each other, shouldn’t you want to spend an evening together?
And, so, we’ve often wondered amongst ourselves, how do we make sure we never get there? How do we make sure that in addition to loving each other, we always like each other? It’s easy to say things like keep the lines of communication open, or try to help out around the house when the other one is stressed, etc. But, things are never just that easy.
As I mention, we rarely have massive fights, but I can honestly say we’ve had more fights in the last 2 years (while going through recurrent pregnancy loss) then we ever had before. Sometimes the fight is due to sheer exhaustion, or saying something that is slightly insensitive, or one of us (usually me) being slightly hormonal. So, how do we ensure that through all the bad times, you still want to be together and you still truly like each other?
To ensure we hold onto the love and the like, we remind ourselves of why we did and why we do like the other one. And that just reminds us why we want to go through this together. And, it doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves that when the going gets tough, we are tougher! We can do this, whatever “this” actually is. We need to remind ourselves that our arguments are based on out the same fears and the same uncertainties. And, to quote my husband:
“if I have to go through this, I’m just glad it’s with you.”