What are you most interested in? I am sure several things came to your mind. Things like gardening, good food, sports, cars, cats, dogs, Facebook, well you get the idea. Now, if you are in an intimate relationship with another person, do you know what they are interested in? Most likely you do.
Usually early in the relationship you are all about what they are interested in. If he likes NASCAR you sit with him and watch and even buy stuff with his favorite driver’s number. If she is into shopping you volunteer to take her to the mall and you wait for her as she tries on 10 outfits. When you are dating you are very interested in what the other person is interested in. At least in most cases this is true. It’s part of the courting process, trying to win them over.
Over time that tends to lessen. You start to get annoyed with those things that he is interested in. You don’t have the patience you once had. You simply don’t take the time to do things that you are not interested in.
Here is something that the Apostle Paul wrote about this topic. He is talking about how we should act if we are followers of Christ. If we have that relationship in our lives we should then demonstrate how to love other people in a healthy way, the way that Jesus demonstrated love for us.
So this is how we should show love and treat other people, especially our spouses.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than your selves. Each of you should also look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
What if that read this way – “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider Vikki better than yourself. Chad you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of Vikki.”
So what does that mean to you and I? One simple way is to listen well. When we take the time to really focus on the other person and listen patiently and ask questions to find out more about what they are interested in, that is what Paul is talking about. When we make a decision to learn more about something even though it does not interest us, it shows the other person that we care.
How many wives are deeply interested in what their husband does at work? He spends most of his waking hours working and sometimes the most important person in his life could care less what he is doing at work. Of course that goes both ways, how many husbands are truly interested in what their wives did all day at work or at home. Or maybe he is really into sports and you could care less. That sends a message to him. Or what if she is really into gardening and you could care less about that, that sends a message to her.
When we don’t make the effort to be interested in what interests our spouse we tend to drift apart. Now this doesn’t mean we need to become obsessed with what they are interested in, but it means we need to have a different mindset about relationships. In healthy relationships we are constantly learning about each other and adjusting. We are looking for ways we can connect and serve each other. We are looking for ways to have meaningful conversations so that we can understand each other better.
So think about how you can show more interest in what your spouse or significant other is interested in. Start by listening better, really paying attention when they are talking about something they value. Ask some questions, to help you better understand. When you do this it will express to the other person that they are important to you and that you value them. That simple change in your mindset can transform your relationship. Try it and see how surprised they are when you show interest!