Shared passions

It is said that couples who share a number of passions are closer. The corollary is that one way of getting closer as a couple is to develop shared passions. However, things aren’t so easy.

Sometimes it can so happen that one partner is a “leader” when it comes to the hobby while the other is a “follower”, and that can ruin some dynamics. Let me explain. Among other things, I’m passionate about spaghetti westerns and Liverpool FC. Pinky is passionate about chick flicks, theatre,  “Full House” and “How I met your mother”. We’ve both independently tried getting the other interested in our respective passions. I’ve watched a number of chick flicks, liked a few of them, but not so much to develop a passion for the genre. Pinky has watched some Liverpool games, but her fundamental dislike for sport-watching makes it hard for her to develop it as a passion.

We’ve tried hard, both to convince the spouse to take up our respective passions, and to get ourselves to get interested in the spouse’s passion. Sadly, things haven’t worked out as well as we’d thought. It’s been hard on both of us. Like today I fidgeted through an hour of a 90s Kannada comedy before declaring (rather rudely) that I was getting bored. Watching me fidget, I’m sure, would have made Pinky uncomfortable, and feel a sense of responsibility.

Such asymmetric passions can cause grief for both the “leader” and the “follower”. The follower tries hard to “fit in”, while the leader tries hard to make sure the follower is fitting in. The dynamics thus created can ruin whatever positive energy a shared passion can create.

All is not lost, though. I only talked about asymmetric passions here. The key is in finding activities which both parties are independently passionate about. My all-time favourite movie is this Kannada movie called Ganeshana Maduve, which I’ve watched at least 20 times. At least 15 of these were before 2009, when I first met Pinky. By then, she too had watched the movie at least 15 times. Both of us are independently passionate about it and we never seem to tire of it. We use dialogues from the movie in everyday conversation, and watch it every time it comes on TV (the other day, it was playing on ETV Kannada early in the morning. As soon as my mother-in-law saw that it was playing she rang me up. I DVRd it, so now we can watch it every day if we want).

Pinky and I are both passionate about Ganeshana Madhuve. We are passionate about long intellectual conversations (which is what made us talk as much as it did back when we were just “blog friends”). We love experimenting with food, both in terms of cooking and eating. Unfortunately the list isn’t as long as we might have liked it, so sometimes we need to invent shared passions. So far we’ve tried imposing our respective individual passions on one another, and that hasn’t worked out too well. Is there a way out?

I can think of one way out. Jointly trying to develop interests in activities neither of us knows much of currently. The odds there are lower that we will both end up liking it, but then again, we are both at the same level. There is no leader and follower, and the disruptive dynamics that ruin passions we try to foist upon one another could be avoided. What do you think we should do?

8 thoughts on “Shared passions”

  1. This is the problem with the typical liberal mindset – “One needs shared passions/interests to keep relationships going”.

    A Hundred years ago, lots and lots of couples even in the Western world endured their whole lifetimes in loveless marriages with no regrets!

    Marriage is too important a legal institution to be dependent on trivial stuff like “shared passions”. The main purpose of marriage is to beget children and maintain some order in society. That’s the conservative view anyway.

    It’s no fun to be married. Marriage by definition implies a restriction on one’s rights. It is a social obligation to be endured, not a privilege to be enjoyed.

    If marriages were motivated by “shared passions”, then few people on earth would want to be married for too long!

  2. The marriages that work best are the ones where the spouses are both rational people who understand the material benefits from the other party.

    The Husband puts up with the wife (dumb or otherwise) because she provides him with kids (the most important output of any marriage).
    The Wife puts up with the indifferent husband because he takes care of her as a compensation for begetting him children.

    Fundamentally, that’s what marriages are about. Even in the 21st century.

    It is no wonder that the Left with its distaste for market-based relationships dislikes marriage. They prefer the European model with its low marriage rates, low birth rates, low savings rate, bloated state safety nets supplanting the far more effective family-based safety nets.

    1. “The Husband puts up with the wife (dumb or otherwise) because she provides him with kids (the most important output of any marriage).
      The Wife puts up with the indifferent husband because he takes care of her as a compensation for begetting him children.”

      If the wife can take care of herself, a marriage (with the above motivation now gone) is unnecessary, right?

      1. Yes. But “taking care of oneself” is hard work.
        A lot of women would prefer to play mother and wife and perform a secondary role in the labour market instead of remaining single and slogging 50 hours a week as an anonymous presence in an office. It’s a perfectly rational thing to do.

        But then rational choices aren’t too fashionable in the times we live in. The ego kick of staying single and being “financially independent” keeps a lot of women from making the choice mentioned above.

  3. my husband and I started learning a new language (japanese) so we shared a completely new experience in that respect. of course, all this is easiest done before kids, so make that time can really suck up all your energy and motivation to keep trying new things at a fast rate (at least in the first few years of their existence!). You can still do stuff, but they well be limited to one or two highlights at any point in time in the first decade or so.

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