What You Give Up When You Marry

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One common thread I notice in the stories of those who have initiated divorces is what they gave up while married. They usually return to it with some glee after the divorce.
Many of these things are creative: painting, photography, poetry, pottery. Others are risk-taking: helicopter skiing, small plane flying, bungee jumping, unescorted travel in third world or less safe countries. Some are group or couples hobbies: bird watching, salsa dancing, Steam Punk gatherings, sci-fi gatherings.
Marriage does not require you to give these up. And if doing without them creates any resentment or sense of loss in you, giving them up is harming your marriage.
You may need a Third Alternative to keep them in your life.
A Third Alternative is the answer to almost every disagreement. You want to paint, your spouse objects: uses too much of our together time or can’t stand the smell of your paints or we can’t afford it. So, instead of debating those claims, you look for a way to remove them from the decision to paint or not.
Free paints? Offer to run a weekly painting session in an assisted living place or a community center if they will provide the materials. This would work to remove the paint smell from the house, too. So would plein air painting.
More time together? Paint while your spouse listens to music in the same room. Paint while he or she runs out to the hardware store or the gym. Paint on your lunch hour at work. Paint each other’s bodies.
But paint! Because your spouse cannot predict the real effects on your marriage of not painting or not bungee jumping or not being around other Steam Punk fans. And you cannot be a better spouse without the things that make you float on air. And it’s silly to think you have to choose between marriage and the things you love to do.

About the author

Patty Newbold

I am a widow who got it right the second time. I have been sharing here since February 14, 2006 what I learned from that experience and from positive psychology, marriage research, and my training as a marriage educator.

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By Patty Newbold

Patty Newbold

I am a widow who got it right the second time. I have been sharing here since February 14, 2006 what I learned from that experience and from positive psychology, marriage research, and my training as a marriage educator.

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