Have you ever tried an activity because your partner loves it?

My guess is at some point, we have all done this. We love our partner, we want to be a part of their lives, and we want to be a part of something they love. That seems fair and reasonable. One day a week you go bowling with your partner, one day a week they go dancing with you, and you live happily ever after…

But what if one person joins every activity their partner enjoys, but there is no quid quo pro?

Should there be a balance of power when it comes to free time activities?

Think about your free time, and by free time I mean the time when you are not working, taking care of parents/children, or taking care of the house. (unless gardening or decorating are actual hobbies):

With the time that is left over- what do you do? What percent is spent with your partner? With partner time, was the activity chosen by you, your partner, or is it something that you both love equally?

If you are in a relationship, who is making the “free time” decisions?

I admit- I plan the majority of our social lives, so the balance definitely tips towards me: I read about new restaurants and activities and such. I keep a running bucket list of places and activities that I want to try.

But…

When I look at the list I think of which things my husband will love (cider tasting or archery) and which ones he will not love (embroidery workshop or lecture on flower arranging) If I take him to something he might be so-so about (documentaries or botanic garden), I include really good food. My husband will do anything if outstanding food comes into play…If we are going to a movie or the theater, I take him to the things I think he will enjoy, and save the other things for my daughter, mother, friends or I go myself.

Technically we are doing things I love, but I try to make the experience somewhat enjoyable for him.

But what if you don’t love your partners choice of activities?

What if you are constantly doing what your partner wants, but never what you want?

Have you “learned” to love what your partner loves?

Does your partner try to “love” the activities that you do?

What is your free time power balance?

Do you wish the free time power balance was different?

Assume that your you have a completely free day on Saturday with no responsibities:

What is your perfect day?

What is your partner’s perfect day?

Now what’s the Venn diagram…how much do you overlap?

Discuss….

 

58 thoughts on “Mighty Morphin Power Holders

  1. Relationships need to be real. That is, not measuring who takes responsibility for what. It is not tick-boxes. I should think it would be a good idea, no matter which one of you (if you are part of a couple) does the organising, to have in mind what your partner likes – same as you would do organising something for your group of friends. Some people are content to be taken along by their partner wherever (I should think) but generally it does need to be a give and take situation.

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    1. I don’t know about that. I’ve seen couples where one person just does what the other wants because they don’t care about the others needs, or one person makes the effort. I’m my first marriage I would do anything to get my husbands attention, which meant doing what he wanted most of the time. That’s not a healthy relationship as evidenced by the fact that we’re no longer married. I think a relationship is not so great if it teeters too much in one direction most of the time

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  2. When I was married we tried to include a give and take much like how you described yours with the food aspect (good thinking by the way). I was the social director for the most part and tried to do similarly as you. However, there were sports that he liked to do without a fan club and I had no problem with him going to play vball in leagues with friends without me because that’s what he wanted. We played tennis together for a bit when I was taking lessons and included the kids as well which was fun.
    The key to making it work is simply a give and take and allowing for the other person to have their own things (if they want ie. vball) without feeling badly. It brings another level and extra conversation when you’re not always together all the time for every activity because your partner can talk about the event with contagious enthusiasm and share in that way.
    I never believed we were attached at the hip, but that we were sharing our interests. Sure, did I go to boat shows, on fishing trips and watch football a lot? Yes I did because those things brought him joy and I liked to share them with him. Did he sometimes share my interests? Yes and I liked having him there with me as well.
    I’m not sure if I answered the original question though or did I go off on a tangent? LOL

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    1. Tangents are good! I just want people to think about the relationship dynamic. A true relationship should be one of equal partners, and power should be divided. I think it’s bad if one partner holds too much of the power. Great comment!!

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      1. I agree that it’s not good when one holds too much of the power. A give and take with compromise is ideal when both partners are invested in that way. But that’s unfortunately not always the case. 🙂

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      2. I think power imbalance is greatest problem in relationships, because the one that holds the power doesn’t see the problems that may be under the surface

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  3. My perfect day is a stop at the coffee shop, car drive or walk along the lake shore, and visit to the used book store. My former husband liked the same things, only the drive was on a motorcycle. “Former” is the operative word, here. I was scared to death…

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  4. Well..I just sat through a whole buncha tennis this week..but last week he did a home tour.. so yeah- We go back and forth..thankfully no motorcycles are involved…THAT would be a problemo.

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  5. My husband is a former football player and has spent most Sunday afternoons , for decades, watching T.V.football. He tried to teach me how the games goes, but I only see running, tackling, and confusion. So Sunday afternoons are times for me to spend with friends. 🤗

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  6. I wanted the give and take, yet I feel as if the even a mention of the idea that he choose was typically met with a baffled stare and an “…I don’t know…” response. After some time, like so many other areas of our marriage, I just began to make the decisions or take over the responsibilities and he faded into the background.

    The less he was asked to do or lead or decide upon was just fine with him, and if it wasn’t he never voiced that. That takes me directly back to the ‘did you marry your mother’ comment. Did he want a partner or was he simply looking for some other adult to be responsible and lead him through life…**

    **There were all sorts of issues (never dealt with) around anger, abandonment by his father, no male role models… the list goes on. Sadly I don’t think the man had/has a clue

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  7. Sometimes I think we overthink the issues at hand, as long as each person in the relationship is happy with how they spend their time with or without their partner then why examine it. I will say that there is nothing worse than doing something you really enjoy and your partner goes along but is not having a good time. Talk about a buzz kill.

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    1. That’s the assumption that both are happy. In a world with a 50% divorce rate, and I’m guessing that 25% of married people are unhappy in their relationship, it’s important to understand where the unhappiness comes from. I’m guessing normal marriages end from growing apart and imbalance of power

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      1. True, but there are times when 50/50 is not doable so one partner leads more and then at other times it swings the other way. If I had it my way all the time I would feel the yoke of responsibility too heavy. Probably just me.

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      2. You’re assuming it swings the other way. Not all relationships have balance…I think many marital issues are caused by imbalance. It’s like the movie Marriage Story…that’s a perfect example of a relationship gone south because one person feels the other was manipulative…and the only thing that switched was the manipulation…I’ve watched relationships where one person had total control over the other…it’s not good

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  8. I do think it’s important for couples to do a few things together, though I’ve played golf with plenty of guys whose wives hated the game and wanted to do their own thing. As in most things regarding marriage, I think compromise is the key.

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  9. Well, in our case, I left to GO and DO, he likes to work as play. Staying home and working in the yard and shop are what he enjoys in his free time. So we only overlap as far as races, eating out, and very infrequent motorcycle rides. He’s prefer to buy motorcycles and work on them more than take a trip on them. It’s gotten hard for me, I will admit. I have decided to let him be and just go and do with other people as needed.

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  10. I did this more with my ex. He was very into a lot of physical, outdoor stuff and convinced me to try things like camping (so not my thing), mountain biking (love biking, rarely do it, but that is way too much for me) and climbing (which I shockingly didn’t hate, but wasn’t good at; loved the rappelling we did, though). He on the other hand wasn’t into pretty much anything I liked and was never willing to try. A perfect example of us is that we could never agree on what movie to watch and I always caved and almost never got to watch something I was interested in.

    Now, Hubby and I have a lot of different interests, but many of those are individual things that you can’t really do together, so this mostly works for us. We also have a lot of common interests, though he is more likely to go along with something I want because he just enjoys doing things together and often genuinely doesn’t have a preference. We are a very mixed bag, but seem to normally find the balance that makes us both happy.

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  11. Interesting that you should use bowling and dancing as examples. My husband was a bowler and played softball two or three times a week at least when we were first together. I was not into softball so was perfectly happy watching him and cheering from the stands but I did start bowling and was on several leagues with him until I started having the kids. Then I cut down on the bowling but would take the kids to watch him play softball. Now he can’t play those sports anymore but somehow I can’t convince him to go dancing, which would be something I’d like to do. It doesn’t really bother me though because I’ll just go into the studio and work on some crafts before I go watch a movie with him. 🙂

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  12. Paraphrasing your proposition a little, ‘what if one person joins every activity their partner enjoys, but the male partner prefers to stay at home with his hobby.’

    The older we become… age fortunes us knowing wisdom (seen it ALL before!), I’ll tell you for fact diverging lives is how affairs begin, the husband stays at home tinkering with his classic cars, the wife goes of having fun (male contact) playing badminton several times a week, and before you know it she’s IN bed with another Club member and divorce ensues. Hmm there’s food for thought.

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  13. Fortunately, my husband is low-key and typically enjoys doing whatever makes me happy. He doesn’t have many hobbies. He likes reading car magazines, going to the gym (which he does right after work) and watching a good movie or series on t.v., something we both enjoy, so we mostly do things that I suggest and he’s quite content to join in whatever that may be. Like your husband, if there will be a good place to eat involved he’s all in. 😊 And I pretty much get to do whatever I want during the day while he’s at work, mostly some solo reading time when I’m not too busy, so it’s a win-win. 😁

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  14. A few years ago, my partner and I settled on a good balance – we alternate Saturdays. The rest of the week tends to be pretty practical or taken up by mutual social events, but every Saturday, one of us decides how the day will go. We do keep the other person’s interests in mind (to avoid anything actively disliked), but the ground rule is to play nice. Sometimes things don’t shake out evenly if outside plans fall on the “wrong” date, but all in all, it works for us.

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