Relationships are and can be challenging. They take daily work and in my mind, good relationships need to be cared for on purpose. As I delve into the arena of relationships through this blog, I thought I would start with one of my closest relationships and that is with my hubby, Rob.
Rob and I were married on January 1st, 1973 (gosh that sounds like a long time ago) and what a journey it’s been. We’ve managed to make it through the nappy years, the tweens (they weren’t called that when I was raising my kids) and the teens, a few marriages and now grand babies. It’s been a fun ride and I’ve enjoyed the journey we’ve had. Yes, as with any relationship, there have been speed bumps along the way, some valley experiences and countless mountain top moments. It’s a relationship, after all.
I want to share something today about Rob and myself and how different we are. I have found as that even through our differences in taste and thought towards what constitutes a relaxing activity we have chosen and pursued our relationship and through this have found joy in & with each other that is ever-lasting.
This brings me GOLF…. Rob loves Golf, in fact, he loves it passionately. As for me, I can’t think of anything worse than chasing a small white ball around a big space for hours on end. How did I marry a Golfer? Allow me to take you on a journey through my Golfing career/marriage.
My first experience on a Golf course was our Honeymoon over 40 years ago. It was during this experience that our marriage almost came to a quick and abrupt end. A marriage of one week because my gorgeous husband, who had swept me off my feet, thought a game of Golf would be fun together. Being the young bride and totally in love with this man and being oblivious to how this game was played, I agreed to a game. I soon realised that I would have much preferred to watch paint dry or even the grass grow.
Our first game didn’t go very well because I didn’t like being told how to stand, swing the club or what club to use and how to hit the ball each time it was my turn. Nor did I appreciate how, after every shot, he would tell me exactly what I did wrong. Actually, for the first few holes his explanation and attention to my detail were endearing but… by about the 10th hole I was over it BIG TIME! His constant updates on accuracy were not encouraging me to make a hole in one, rather I was ready to yell FOUR and hope for the best!
As a consequence to this first time experience I swore never to set foot on a golf course again. Trust me, I can be quite stubborn too. Fortunately, over the years I have learned to soften and I have matured as an individual and wife/partner.
Why am I sharing this with you? I share this because we recently celebrated Rob’s 64th Birthday and believe it or not, we celebrated in true ‘Rob Style’ by playing Golf with a couple of friends followed by a beautiful birthday lunch.
You see, 27 years after the first attempt where I was the stubborn young bride, I chose to swallow my pride and tuck my attitude away when Rob asked me to play again (important to note: he has asked a number of times over the years but was met with a sound NO). However, this time was different because I had done something for me and ultimately us. I had decided to take some Golf lessons with a friend (I made some really good friends during those lessons). I did this because over the years, Rob’s love for Golf didn’t die down, rather as he improved, he loved the game even more and I saw how the joy of the game was important to him. I realised that perhaps this was something that I needed to pursue in order to keep our relationship strong and exciting. No, I wasn’t planning on becoming a Pro in my age category, I simply wanted to learn how to hit the ball and how to successfully make it around a course – which I did. Surprisingly, not only did I learn to make it around the course but I enjoyed the experience. Unlike my first experience on our honeymoon, time had done something and I’m so glad I took another swing 🙂
As we played on Rob’s birthday, I must say I noticed that my handsome husband had learned a few things since our first experience on the course. I think he realised that even if his intentions were good, it was best to encourage me with some tips, not tell me ALL I was doing wrong and give me blow by blow directions trying to turn me into a golfer like himself. As we made our way around the course I was reminded of my dashing young husband trying to teach me all those years ago and my stubborn self getting so irritated by the situation. I smiled as I looked at this 64 year old husband, father & now grand father whom we were celebrating, thinking of all the years we’ve shared together and all the lessons we’ve learned…. And yes, my heart still skips a beat.
I have learnt over the years of marriage that I need to respect and value Rob and what his interests are. This doesn’t mean I have to love them the way he does but I need to allow him to enjoy them. If that means I give him space to play Golf and then help myself, through lessons, etc., in order to play it well enough to enjoy a game on special occasions with him, that works for both of us. Through my lessons and practice, I now know what he is talking about and when he comes home and tells me all about his game, my knew knowledge adds value to him. Believe it or not, I even like to watch a LITTLE bit on Tele with him. All of this adds value to him and real value to our marriage.
I guess marriage is really all about appreciating and valuing the one you chose to spend the rest of your life with. The funny thing is, when we value them we make it easier for them to value us… It becomes a win, win.
Rob knows chasing a little white ball around 18 holes is not my idea of fun. However, having said that he feels so much more valued and appreciated and this will always bring depth to a marriage. Each time I play Golf I make a conscious decision to enjoy myself. I like walking, talking and Rob so we both win and we have a great time.
So remember, you don’t have to embrace your partners interests the way they do but we do need to value their interests. If you know my Rob you know he LOVES his sport and that means I go to the Footy a couple of times a year and Golf a few but I give him the space to go and enjoy it. Additionally, I’m lucky he has three sons and grandchildren coming up in the ranks who are ready to swing, hope for a hole in one and cheer on his favourite team with their father & grandfather.
Important to note, this works both ways. So, men you need to value HER interests just as much. How you demonstrate value will look different for each couple and that’s okay, just make sure you do and you will both reap the benefits.