marriagedifferencesSushi, talk radio, and Fox News. All things my husband Ted enjoyed when we got married.

Me … not so much. If given the choice, I preferred a visit to the dentist over watching Bill O’Reilly or reading a thread on Free Republic. And raw fish, well, unlike Ted and Tolkien’s Gollum, I didn’t care for food that was “raw and wriggling.” Okay, so I exaggerate. Ted didn’t like his food “wriggling” either.

I favored Hallmark Channel original movies, Gilmore Girls, and Dillard’s.

Yep, you guessed it, Ted … not so much. He found the dialogue on Gilmore Girls unrealistically witty and more than an hour at the mall left him with a headache. Oh, and Hallmark movies? I’ve since banned him from watching them with me; he heckles.

The good thing is our common interests outnumbered our differences, but that doesn’t mean those differences haven’t provided challenges at times. A friend recently shared with me that “the balancing act of being allowed to be two separate people inside of a one-flesh marriage” can be hard. She’s right.

So how do you hold on to your unique interests and still grow together as a couple? In our marriage, we’ve found this can be done in three ways:

1. Build on common interests. I’m convinced one reason Ted pursued me is because I wrote music reviews. He’s a piano, synth, and organ player and was knee-deep as an engineer on a CD for our church when we met. Music was an interest we built on. It still is today.

While our musical tastes aren’t exact (I can’t appreciate Flyleaf and Red at the heart-pounding volume levels he does), our love for music is an area we continue to grow in together. And because we do have common “likes” — Andrew Peterson albums on melancholy days, black-and-white Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall flicks, and authentic Mexican food at our local dive — the places where our interests diverge don’t divide us. We don’t feel the need to force the other person to enjoy all the same things.

[Read the rest of the article at Start Marriage Right.]