Spousal Support: Being on the same page vs. doing the same things

You’re two different people.  You have different & personal goals but you also have goals together.  Your life either works well or it doesn’t and I’ve found over time that a lot of it has to do with being on the same page vs. doing the same things.  I used to think they were the same.  I’ve learned, during my marriage, that they really aren’t.  When you realize that, you get more ideas & better ideas between you.  I’ve also found that we each feel much more understood & supported, especially on those individual goals I mentioned.

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What’s the difference & why should I care?

Why should you care?  Well, most people want to retain their individuality even while in a relationship.  This is a healthy need to have.  However, there’s also a lot of communication as well as some give & take that needs to happen in order to have a healthy relationship.  I’ve personally found that if I want to be happy both individually & in my relationship I need the ability to have my own goals (separate from my husband’s interests) & feel supported while also spending quality time together.

Being On the Same Page

One of the things in my life that I struggled to “get on the same page” about is my health goals.  Yes, I’m female and I want to be thin.  To some extent I feel pressure to look a certain way and it affects my confidence.  But many of my health goals are also based on my want to be healthy throughout my life and avoid diseases that I’m genetically pre-disposed to such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, even cancer.  But, one of the easiest things to reference (without explaining for 10 minutes) is that I want to be somewhere between a Size 4 & a Size 6.  I want to feel strong & confident on any given day.  I want to be proud of my nutrition & exercise choices.

My husband is a quintessential ectomorph (naturally thin).  Most models fall on a sliding scale between ectomorph & mesomorph (naturally thin / naturally athletic).  I’m on the sale between mesomorph & endomorph (naturally athletic / naturally soft & fatty) with a leaning slightly more toward the endomorph side.  He needs a lot of carbs to avoid losing weight & cutting back is very easy for him (he rarely gets cravings).  I, on the other hand, am fairly carb-sensitive (frustrating to say the least because chocolate & bread are both delicious) and I do struggle with cravings frequently.  This situation makes for interesting, and frustrating at times, decisions regarding our shared meals because we essentially have opposite food needs in order to remain healthy.

Why go into all of this?  Well, we will never (thanks to genetics) have the same “goals” when it comes to our food composition.  But we do need to be on the same page regarding what healthy means to each of us and what that means for our household grocery selections.  Essentially, we both need to understand each other’s needs and struggles so we can make choices & behave in a way that is supportive for each other.

What that looks like for me is there are carbs at every dinner.  If I’ve planned ahead, I’ve already pre-portioned mine and the rest are put on “his side” of the table in a spot that’s inconvenient for me to reach (essentially I can’t get to it without climbing over him) so that I have a mental barrier.  What this looks like for Husband is that he doesn’t rub in the fact that he can eat however many carbs he wants (not that he ever would… but I do know some people who do) and he’s also keenly aware of my goals so he’ll ask me if I’ve logged that chocolate I’m trying to sneak from the pantry (stuff he never eats) because he knows my goals & he knows how much they mean to me.  He also tends not to buy me stuff he knows will cause me to struggle later (like enormous boxes of chocolates).

Doing the same things

Doing the same things, on the other hand, is essentially what it says:  doing exactly the same things.  This concept can be very good for a relationship because you have to have some amount of activities or things in your life that you like, enjoy & make time to do together.  If you don’t, then I’d struggle to call it a relationship.  Husband and I both enjoy video games & we play together fairly frequently, but there are also times when I want to watch a show that doesn’t interest him and he wants to read, both of which can take up fairly large chunks of time.  If we believed that we had to do the same things, together, all the time, there would be quite a bit resentment built up because someone would always feel like they were compromising & spending time on things that didn’t interest them just because we’re in a relationship.

In situations where we choose to do different activities or we have different goals, we  make we’re on the same page in that we agree we want to spend time separately and we’re actively accepting our different interests.  I will caveat this with the fact that the way we’ve arranged our house means that we’re often in the same “room” so we can still interact with each other while we’re doing our separate activities which has (in my opinion) been good for our relationship.

Do you need to “get on the same page” with your relationships?

I’ve talked a bit about some of my interests & how I feel regarding relationships & separate goals.  What about goals or interests you have in your life?  Are there things that you find important and you find yourself expecting your significant other to “do the same thing” you are when maybe what you should be focusing on is getting on the same page?  I’d love to learn from any wisdom you’re willing to share!

 

Wishing you an All+SUM LIFE,
Sarah

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