scorecardMy husband and I have nothing in common, but that doesn't matter to us. We are still madly in love.
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My husband and I have nothing in common, but that doesn't matter to us. We are still madly in love.

Emily Holi   

My husband and I have nothing in common, but that doesn't matter to us. We are still madly in love.
LifeScience3 min read
The author and her husband on their wedding day.    Jacee Beck Photography
  • When my husband and I started dating, we quickly realized we didn't have much in common.
  • At first, we tried out each other's hobbies; I went fishing with him, and he bought books to read.

Tim and I met in 2011. A tall, green-eyed salesperson, he was smart and funny. I was in marketing at the time and impressed by his ability to keep up with my busy brain.

I was 22, fresh out of college, and he was fresh off the heels of a failed engagement. Neither of us was ready for love, but that's what we found — despite never having much in common.

Like all newly dating couples, Tim and I made an effort to engage in each other's hobbies — at first. Tim likes to fish, so I excitedly accompanied him to dozens of lakes, both liquid and frozen. I've always been a reader and writer, so Tim made an effort to send me articles he'd read and buy books that he thought I might like.

This lasted a good six months or so before our best intentions fizzled out. Turns out, I wasn't much of a fisher, and he wasn't much of a literary person. But it didn't matter because we were in love.

We stopped trying to force shared interests

As our relationship grew, so did our methods of relating to each other. Instead of hitting the lake with my rod, I sat on the dock with a good book while Tim fished. Likewise, when I curled up with my laptop to fire off a short story, Tim sat next to me on the couch with a college-football game on the big screen. It was different, but it worked.

We were engaged after 13 months of dating and got married in 2012. The newlywed phase for us was busy, including pregnancy and a cross-country move.

Stress, compounded with the reality of daily life, made supporting one another's hobbies more challenging. We found ourselves arguing occasionally, as all couples do. We wondered, for the first time, whether love might be "easier" if we had more in common.

Black and white image of the author (right) and her husband on their wedding day, smiling and walking down the hall of their wedding venue
The author and her husband on their wedding day.      Jacee Beck Photography

We started to bicker and wondered whether having things in common would make things easier

I was in the middle of writing one night when Tim approached me, wanting to watch a sporting event together. I balked — why didn't he understand I was in the middle of something important? Tim felt just as hurt; how could I not understand that he wanted to share something he loved with me? We locked horns, and the argument festered. In the middle of so many changes, it seemed we'd forgotten what attracted us to each other in the first place.

Stewing in bed later that night, I stumbled across a forum of articles from John and Julie Gottman, world-renowned marriage therapists. As I scanned their titles, an article caught my eye. The article discussed boundaries, as well as how to "bend without breaking" when making changes for your partner.

The following excerpt from the article resonated with me: "As far as preferences go, there is a myth that common interests are necessary for healthy relationships, and that having more of them will make you more compatible. While they can't hurt, Dr. John Gottman notes it's the way partners have of relating to each other that matters more."

The author, left, and her husband standing outside. She is wearing a black and white gingham short-sleeve shirt and he is wearing a checked button-up..
The author and her husband.      Shoott Photography

Eventually, we remembered that common interests had nothing to do with our love story

I remembered the first time I saw Tim stooped over his beloved Notre Dame's football game and how genuinely I admired his passion and loyalty. Likewise, I thought about the first time I showed Tim one of my short stories — how he praised my ability to express myself and how impressed he was by my work ethic.

After a 24-hour stalemate, we read through the article together the next day. Slowly, the anger melted away. We remembered our early days, our in-between days, and we marveled at how much we'd grown as a couple. All the reasons we fell in love were still true; we simply needed to remember them.

These days, five kids and 10 years later, we've given up trying to have things in common. The truth is, it doesn't matter. We have our family in common, our children, our home.

We have each other.

And at the end of the day, that's all that matters.