Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Dating Coach,

I just started dating a great girl but I love the outdoors and she is self-proclaimed as “indoorsy.” I love any outside form of recreation like biking, hiking, camping, etc., and I am really active. She is great, and we really seem to be connecting, but she has really no interest in outdoor activities. I am worried that we don’t have this in common and in the past this was something I insisted on before going out at all. Shouldn’t we share common interests in order to grow together as a couple? Do I pursue this and the bond I feel like we are creating or do I move on before I become too emotionally involved?

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Athlete Anxiety

 

Dear Athlete,

Don’t tell my grandmother this. (Oops. She reads this column.) Bubby, please forgive me, but I have a secret to share. I love a boxed brownie mix. Love. Love. Love. (Phew! I feel better now.) In our home, we use them as an activity, appointing a Brownie Ambassador who gets to rule Boxed Brownieville. (It could be a place. This is not a geography column.) The Ambassador then gets to decide on any additions to that mysterious bag of goodness. Pretzels, marshmallows, chocolate chips, and sprinkles have all had their turn to add excitement to an otherwise perfect base. So far, every creation has been well received (inhaled) and we are open to even more possibilities. (Except olives. That feels wrong.) We all agree that as long as the mix remains, additions are welcome in Brownieville (now accepting applicants).

It’s Not How Many…

It is always exciting and nerve wracking on the first few dates of meeting someone new. As you begin to learn more about one another, you start to examine the practical, emotional, and tangible connection you hope to create. When you don’t seem to have any overlap on a specific issue, you may worry about your compatibility overall. You wonder if you need to share all common interests in order to lay the foundation for a productive future. You love the great outdoors and she calls herself “indoorsy” confusing your connection and your commitment to your mutual growth.

 

Miles You Walk…

The answer is really two-fold, and it lies in mutual respect and a desire to connect. Love and marriage must be based on shared values, honesty, chemistry, and respect. A successful marriage does not require you to have the exact same interests in everything. Furthermore, it is often nice for a couple to pursue their own interests in their own time. You are two individuals, and having varied interests should not only be expected, but can be encouraged. You can go hiking with a friend, while your spouse has some girls over for some indoor fun. You can join a biking group and honor that passion as an individual, while she holds her brunch club indoors. Both spouses can embolden each other to take time for themselves to engage in an activity that they enjoy.

 

It’s How Many Smiles

From there, you as a couple can choose to find an underlying connection where you believe there isn’t one. Perhaps she doesn’t appreciate camping, but loves to walk on the beach, make s’mores in the backyard, or picnics at your local park. Perhaps, you don’t like to settle in at home with a book, but love a competitive trivia night, or cooking together. The desire to find commonality within your own personal passions will bolster your connection and appreciation for one another even more.

 

You Share.

Sharing a love for the outdoors or a penchant for indoor fun is not necessary to create a lasting and fulfilling marriage. Mutual respect and a willingness to continuously build on your connection in every way are the bases that cannot be compromised. Ingredients such as shared hashkafa, a vision for the future, and common goals must always be present. Additions that you each bring with you, however, only enhance and expand the possibilities for your future together.

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Henni Halberstam is a Dating and Marriage Coach whose expert advice will help you navigate dating and relationships in order to ensure a successful marriage. You can contact her at hennihalberstam@gmail.com to schedule a phone session.