There are certain attributes that initially attracted you to your partner and kept you with him or her for the duration of your relationship. Yet some couples find that at times it feels like they have nothing in common. This can be a lack of shared interests/hobbies, incongruent views on politics, religion, or parenting philosophies (to name a few.)
Tracing your steps back to the beginning of your relationship can be a helpful reminder of your strength as a couple. Have you or your partners’ views shifted radically during the course of your relationship, or did these differences always exist? If these differences were present from the beginning, then there must have been other connective factors to create “positive sentiment override” – a term John Gottman coined to mean that the positive perceptions of your relationship outweigh the negative.
Perhaps you have dramatically differing views on your standards of household cleanliness, but you have a shared love of travel and a fantastic sex life!
While some differences may cause distress, having opinions that differ from your partner is not necessarily a bad thing. You may be able to enjoy healthy debates that challenge one another and facilitate mutual growth, or you may play off of one another’s strengths for mutual benefit. For instance, if you love a clean home but are poor with managing money, you can allocate the tasks that you each do best.
As for shared interests, try out something completely new! Join a book club, painting class, or yoga studio together. Whatever it is- just make sure that it is a novel experience that you can both encounter for the first time together.
Written by Joanna Aslanian, LPC, ATR-P