When it comes to hobbies, my husband and I are as opposite as they come.
At the beginning of our relationship, he would often ask if I wanted to do physical activities together: tennis, hiking, kayaking, swimming, jogging, biking, camping, soccer, etc. But in my ignorance, I shot them all down.
Why would I want to do something that required me to sweat? Instead, I offered what I thought were better alternatives: movies, snuggling, dinner dates and chatting over coffee. I mean, what’s not to love??
But the more that time passed, the less he asked. And it took me a few years before I realized my marital mistake.
According to social scientists, there are key differences between how men and women socialize and make friends.
Have you ever watched two guys have a conversation? They often sit next to each other, shoulder to shoulder when they talk. Women, on the other hand, sit across from each other talking face to face. Guys connect by doing whereas most women connect by being and emotionally sharing.
If you’re married to a guy, then your man builds friendships primarily through shoulder-to-shoulder activities.
“Guys bond over fun activities. That’s how guy relationships are formed. When guys invite you into their recreational world, they’re inviting you into their heart and life. Fun and intimacy are the two things that keep a marriage from becoming a business relationship.” Dave Sumrall
I had failed to understand this critical piece of marriage and the power of guy friendship.
When my husband invited me to do activities, the point wasn’t to be active or get into shape. Instead, he was offering me an olive branch of friendship and a bridge to his heart. An offering that I regrettably rejected over and over again. Each time I declined, I was sending a message I never intended to send: I don’t want to spend time with you and I don’t want to be your friend.
By refusing to join him in his hobbies, I was actually sabotaging our friendship.
It took some failure and humility before I finally realized that I was the one creating the disconnect. It took awhile, but I finally got the memo that one of the best ways to invest in my man is to be his friend.
A few years into our marriage, I started inviting my husband to do things with me that he enjoyed. We went camping, kayaking, fishing, snorkeling, hiked a mountain, played yard games and went on road trips. We now watch football, shoot archery, explore nature, go on evening walks and play games.
Did I always want to do those things? No. Was I always good at them? Heck no. But am I glad I did them? You bet. I wouldn’t trade those experiences for the world.
I learned that if I wanted to be friends with my man, I needed to be interested in his interests, not just mine. I needed to see that shoulder-to-shoulder activities is an opportunity to build openness, fun and intimacy with him.
PUTTING THE FUN BACK IN FRIENDSHIP
Do you feel disconnected from your spouse?
Too often we can get so distracted by our “to-do”s that we forget to do things together.
If you want to build a friendship in marriage, take part in his interests whether it be hunting, fishing, golfing, video-gaming or walking the dog.
Men are more likely to share and be vulnerable when they are in motion. So make it a priority to play together and put the fun back in friendship! (And for those of you who are parents, this goes for the little men too!)
Today I cherish our shoulder-to-shoulder activities together. I look forward to them! Some of the best memories we have made are when we were doing an activity together. Don’t allow yourselves to slowly drift apart and end up living separate lives. Stay connected by investing in common experiences and building memories together.
Play Together, Stay Together
Create a list of activities you could do together. Invite your husband to do something he loves and create some fun and friendship in your marriage! Not all guys are the same but almost all guys have their own hobbies and field of interest.
Here’s a sample list of 29 manly date ideas to get you started:
- Help with a project
- Watch sports
- Go to a concert
- Go to a sporting event
- Travel together
- Make a meal together
- Work out (walk, run, swim, go to gym, etc.)
- Walk the dog
- Play a card or board game
- Play video games
- Put a puzzle together
- Play ping pong or pool
- Play yard games
- Shop for tools
- Build things together
- Fix things together
- Do yard work
- Ice Skate
- Go boating or tubing
- Try anything adventurous!
Everyone is different and unique. Find something he would enjoy and do it together!