If you have recently gotten married, or even if you’ve been married for years, you may experience conflicts when it comes to having your own hobbies. You may have a hard time finding time to do what you enjoy. You may even feel guilty when you take time to pursue your hobby. In a worst-case scenario, your hobbies may cause resentment and anger in your marriage. However, many people manage to have strong marriages and enjoyable hobbies at the same time, and you can too.
Obviously, marriage offers many benefits. Otherwise, you would have elected to remain single. However, marriage often means adjusting every aspect of your life from your sleeping arrangements to the way you spend your free time. In fact, how you balance your responsibilities to your spouse with your responsibilities to yourself can make the difference between a successful marriage and an unsuccessful one.
Once you get married, your default setting changes from single to together. It can be difficult to adjust to doing so many things together, but once you get the hang of it, it’s easy to take togetherness too far. Free time is a prime example. Sometimes it seems as though marriage erases free time from your calendar altogether. This doesn’t have to be the case, but it’s up to you to rescue your free time and make the most of it.
It’s normal and even healthy for spouses to have separate hobbies and to spend time on them. If you have a hobby that is suffering due to your marriage, or if you’ve given up on the idea of a hobby altogether, it’s a good idea to rekindle that part of your life. Dust off those bowling shoes, untangle that embroidery silk, get the game controller out of storage, or enroll in an art class. It’s time to introduce a little balance into your marriage.
There seem to be three key things to remember when it comes to maintaining personal hobbies and strong marriages. You have to be respectful towards your spouse, you have to be honest, and you have to have your priorities in line.
While marriage shouldn’t prevent you from having free time, once you take your vows you are no longer free to take that time whenever you please. This is one of those inevitable trade-offs that life so often demands. Think of it as the price you pay in return for no longer having to shiver alone in a cold bed at night. Now that you are married, you and your partner must be on the same page, and that means cooperating in order to synchronize your schedules. Talk to your husband or wife beforehand about blocking off time for your hobby. Whether that means bringing it up during the monthly planning session or mentioning it at breakfast the same morning depends upon how you and your spouse organize your time and what you are both comfortable with. It’s a small thing, but don’t skip it. Don’t get upset if logistics make it impossible for you to carry out your plans from time to time, either.
If your idea of a suitable hobby is a weekly high-stakes poker game and your husband’s idea of a suitable hobby is a baby-and-me aerobics class, you are going to have to have a discussion at some point. It’s far better for everyone involved if that discussion happens before you lose your weekly pocket money instead of afterwards. You may have to agree to disagree, but as long as you aren’t endangering your family’s finances or hanging out with dangerous felons, you have the right to choose your own hobby. However, it is very important that you be honest about what you are doing, how long you expect to be doing it, and where you will be while you are doing it. Misrepresenting your poker game as a quilting bee or even a friendly card party may lead to less friction in the short term, but the long term consequences will be destroyed trust, resentment, hurt feelings, and a lot of other things that can destroy a good marriage.
No matter how much you love your hobby, your marriage and your family are your first priority now. If this means occasionally disappointing the other members of the band because the baby is sick and your spouse has been up for two days, then the guys will have to accept that. Think of your marriage as the parent on those informational diagrams you see on airplanes. The oxygen mask goes on the parent first because if the parent dies, the baby doesn’t stand much of a chance. Similarly, if your marriage dies, your personal life will suffer. Keep your priorities straight, and this will never be an issue.
As long as you keep these three concepts in mind, you should be able to enjoy the benefits of a marriage and a rich personal life simultaneously. If you follow these guidelines and you still have friction over your hobby, it may be time for a serious discussion about what marriage means to both of you and how the two of you will handle the inevitable conflicts that occur in all human relationships.