Hobbies and Marriage

I love a good game: Anything from table tennis, board (not bored) games, football, and pin the tail on the donkey. It’s a hobby of mine that I have always had, and yet is a place in my marriage that needs work. My hobbies are not my wife’s, and vice versa. It’s an area that wasn’t very difficult to get over early on in our relationship, but as we’ve grown, it’s become a bigger deal. We’ve worked hard to create shared experiences together, and developing hobbies that we can do in unison. This has been something we’ve had to work at developing, which was a bit of a surprise for the both of us.

Hobbies are activities in life that rarely make financial sense, but are priceless adventures, experiences, and journeys. These are generally activities that we do to improve our quality and enjoyment of life. They can be anything from crafts, art, and creative activities to hunting, fishing, or other outdoor activities. Hobbies are a key and integral ingredient in the makeup for a relationship, but can easily cause distance and isolation.

If a husband and wife refuse to join in the hobby of their spouse, trouble might be near. A hobby is an expression of uniqueness that improve the quality and enjoyment of our life. If a wife doesn’t go fishing with her husband because she thinks it’s stupid, gross, or just doesn’t want to, she is rejecting a part of his uniqueness. This can potentially lead to hurts and resentments because the husband might feel unwanted.

Running or other physically demanding activities are great examples for a perfect setup. Runners and cyclists are generally physically fit individuals, and it’s likely they place an emphasis on taking care of their bodies. If the wife is a runner and the husband is not physically active or fit, it’s possible that she feels unloved in his refusal to take care of his body.

In this example, I don’t know that I’ve ever heard a man (or woman) say that they feel loved when their spouse is overweight, inactive, and does not care for their body. However, I have heard it many times the other way around. It’s not uncommon for these types of issues to go on dormant for years without being discussed.

Running and cycling are community sports, and it’s not too uncommon for great relationships to form from these communal experiences. Marriages need hobbies like fish need water. Without them, we will live robotic, dutiful, and flat lives that are neither exciting or risky.

Here are some thoughts to keep hobbies from being a deterrent in your relationship:

Create financial goals for your hobbies. Hobbies can be expensive. Money that is spent on a hobby prior to marriage can quickly become a conflict after marriage. Mutually agree to some boundaries that will govern your spending habits on discretionary activities.

Create hobbies together. Likely the ways you spent your time prior to marriage were mostly about how you wanted to spend your time. This won’t work in marriage, thus the need for new ways and ideas of spending time. Get the local newspaper and go through the “life” sections once a week and pick out an activity that you both want to do/attend.

Invite your spouse into your hobby. My wife doesn’t like to play golf, but she loves to drive golf carts. So, I invite her to drive the golf cart while I play golf. This is a natural “marrying” of something we both enjoy. The activity might not be as enjoyable for your spouse as it is for you, but find a way for the two of you to do it together.

Find a hobby that is service oriented. During the Christmas holiday season there are countless opportunities for service. Find an activity that the two of you can engage in together that is service oriented.

Hobbies can be a fun and delightful part of your marriage if you can let it. Discussing these issues ahead of time and developing a plan will set you up to enjoy the different ways each of you express your uniqueness.


Samuel Rainey is a professional counselor primarily working with couples, men, and women addressing issues of sexuality, emotional health, relationships, and spirituality. He is the co-Author of So You Want to be a Teenager with Thomas Nelson. He earned his Masters in Counseling Psychology from The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology in Seattle, Washington. When he is not roasting coffee, tending to his garden, or playing golf, he blogs about life process, parenting, and relationships at SamuelRainey.com. He can also be found on twitter @SamuelRainey. He and his wife reside in the suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee with their four children.

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