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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Finding Ways to Love What Your Partner Loves

When I met my man friend, Jesse, I never really considered anything would happen between us. He worked at the school I was student teaching for and we struck it off well as friends. We could carry on a conversation about anything. Eventually we were set up and things fell into place rather quickly. This post is not about how we met though, it is about how we stayed together. It is easy to fall into a relationship when the feelings are new and bubbly. The hard part is keeping those feelings around, after the shiny bits wear off.

One thing that has made our relationship so strong is our willingness (he would never admit that) to find ways to love things the other person loves. My rugged outdoorsman has found ways to love (maybe like) the arts and support my hobbies. While I, the artsy non-hunter, have found ways to love the outdoors in a way I never have before.

ALWAYS give the other persons interests a chance. You absolutely do not need to do everything your partner does, there is value in alone time too. You do need to give it a chance though. I never thought in a million years ice fishing would be fun, let a lone enjoyable. In fact, about one month into our dating, Jesse took me on a ice fishing day trip with his family. In his words it was to test if I could "handle" the outdoors. I will admit, I was dreading the thought of fishing in sub zero temperatures, but I gave it a chance. I was hooked. If I hadn't given it a chance I would never have found out just how beautiful a frozen morning on a lake could be, or how exhilarating it was to run on the ice to a tip-up flag (signaling a fish on the line). ALWAYS give the other persons interests a chance.

Find ONE thing that you like. Let that be your motivator for participation. I can't quantify how much Jesse loves hunting. Its immeasurable.  I cannot reach that far to say I love hunting that much. However, if I didn't go, I would rarely see him during hunting season. So I started with one thing, one thing to motivate my participation in the things he loves. I started out by looking forward to the photographs I could take wherever the hunting adventure would land us. (One of the 5 Ways to Stay Creative.) I love to take photos, so this was a big motivator. Then I started to add in little things to remind myself it would be fun. The taste of hot coffee on a ten degree morning before the sun is awake is out of this world. The adrenaline of spotting a buck in the distance gives me a sense of accomplishment. The views, especially in Montana are to die for. (You can look for your self here in my post about the 10 Reasons Montana is Truly The Last Best Place.)

Jesse has done the same thing for me. I am an art teacher and a creative soul and I love to go to art shows. In particular, I am lucky to live where Western Art Week is hosted and the Russell Auction takes place. Jesses goes with me, and he started out finding one thing that he enjoyed. Beside the drinks they serve through out the evening...He found his own appreciation for bronze sculptures of the very creatures he loves to hunt. At first, these are the only artworks he enjoyed, but now he walks around with me to all the rooms, with all different kinds of art, where we can appreciate each others tastes and dislikes. We do this together.

Don't forget to value ALONE time. While we do most things together, we do value and appreciate the time we spend apart. It is just as important. I don't particularly find fun in night fishing, or working in the garage. Just as he doesn't always enjoy shopping and drinking coffee for extending periods of time. We do things apart too. Just don't forget the memories to be made by giving the things your partner loves a chance. You might love them too.

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