How much do I need to have in common with my spouse for our marriage to be healthy and happy? Do we need to like all the same things for this to work?
These are valid questions faced by many engaged or newly-married couples. We all want to be compatible with our partner, we want to share interests and likes, but do we need to have everything in common?
You should have some things in common with your spouse, but it doesn’t have to be everything. There is beauty in our differences. Marriage thrives even when we are different.
Here are some things you should have in common with your spouse:
It is vital to have some shared goals, such as family size and career aspirations. You don’t want to get three years into marriage to find out you have different plans for children. You also don’t want your marriage to suffer because one person desires to climb the corporate ladder while the other does not. It doesn’t mean you both need to be ambitious in your career, but you need to discuss those ambitions and have a common goal that addresses what you both want. The same goes for family goals.
Values are critically important as you are establishing your marriage. When you share common values such as honesty, loyalty, transparency, faith, etc., you have a foundation upon which to build your marriage. You don’t have to share all the same values, but you need to share core values.
Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously.
I’m gonna share a secret with you. Ready? Marriage is hard. Doing life with someone isn’t easy. Injecting humor into the relationship helps alleviate stress. Have a shared understanding of what humor is. Do you see humor as jokes, pranks, sarcasm, goofiness? Talk about what humor means to each of you and make sure you are on the same page. You don’t want one spouse’s humor to be insulting to the other. A fun marriage is a happy marriage.
Boundaries are crucial to your marriage, but what are boundaries? Think of a guardrail on the highway. Why is it there? To keep you out of the ditch. Boundaries work the same way. Do you both have the same boundaries on opposite-sex friends? This will be huge for your marriage. Talk about it now. Here is a resource for you: How to Talk to Your Spouse About Opposite-Sex Friends.
Friends and Family.
Friends and family are important. Have a conversation early about this. Do each of you continue to maintain all of your friendships and habits with friends? Do you come to an agreement about how often each of you hangs out with friends? Where does family fall in your marriage? Family is important, but the family you are building is more important. Agree on some common boundaries for friends and family that keep your marriage at the forefront.
You and your partner aren’t going to have everything in common, and that’s okay. Relationships can thrive in our differences. Your marriage will be fuller when you both embrace what makes you unique. You should have some things in common with your spouse, talk about these, and lay the groundwork for a happy, healthy marriage.
For more marriage resources, check out our Marriage Shop.
***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear your computer or device is being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***