It is nearing dusk, evident by the growing shadows creeping up the sides of the buildings surrounding me. With great trepidation, I creep around the wall that has been shielding me from view, peer into the shadows, and wait for movement. I strain to listen, knowing that if he’s hasty, his footsteps might just give him away. I hear nothing but a distant stream and a bird calling to its mate.
I figure he’s too far away, or he’s waiting. Knowing him, he’s waiting; waiting for that opportune moment to take away the victory that I have worked so very hard to obtain. Impatient to a fault, I give up the shelter of the wall and run to the boulder at the far end of the canyon. Upon reaching it, I fall to my knees and wait a long, tense moment.
Maybe he didn’t see me. Chancing a look into the open, I spy my quarry in the building to my left.
It’s as I thought, he’s waiting.
Just inside the upstairs window he’s crouching, listening as I had done moments before. I can make out his inky hair and tanned complexion. His stance reveals he’s tense, waiting for the right moment; except this moment will not be his.
Lifting the sniper rifle to my shoulder, I fix him in my sights, pause only to steady my breath and pull the trigger.
“No way!!!” My husband exclaims in disbelief. “Where were you hiding?”
Triumphantly, I turn from my computer to face my shocked husband.
“I wasn’t hiding, unlike you!” I tease.
My husband shakes his head and returns to his laptop, our game of Counter-Strike displayed on both our screens. He has been defeated, whether or not he admits it, and I can’t stop smiling.
My husband is tough to beat so it will take some time for me to come down from this euphoric high.
But, as competitive as he is, I can sense a deep pride radiating from his center and that pride is entirely for me. His girl. Who can shoot as accurately in a game as she can in real life. And I revel in the warmth.
My husband is the hardest working man I know. He rarely has any downtime, but when he does, he loves to get wrapped up in a game. Computer games, Nintendo, board games, you name it; my husband is a kid at heart.
Is gaming a favorite pastime of mine? Not really. (Unless it’s Zelda, but that’s beside the point.) But I know that if I want to connect with my husband in ways he feels love, I need to do things he enjoys.
So, while my husband was at work, I played the single-player mode and learned his game. I learned each gun and how to use them. I learned every map and the best look-outs and how to walk without making a sound. I learned how to stay alive and even how to win.
So, when my husband came home one day and started up his computer, I started mine and he learned he had a soul-mate in his wife. I think it helps that he is a better shot than I, but he will admit I keep him on his toes!
Truthfully, there is not a game we play that I can really beat him in, except Risk, which might explain why we never play it. But even though I lose more than I win, I know he values my company and the fact that I enjoy what he enjoys.
We all know couples who just don’t seem to be interested in each other anymore. They live separate lives that rarely intersect. They go through their days on autopilot. Until eventually, they wake up and realize they are literally strangers living under the same roof. All because, somewhere along the way, they lost sight of each other.
Early in our marriage, my husband and I knew this could easily be us someday. As a police officer, there are very few things my husband can involve us in. And writing is a solitary profession, not to mention my husband hates reading. We were living separate lives already.
We knew we had to find some common ground to keep us engaged beyond the daily grind if we wanted to like each other after our kids moved out. But that doesn’t happen without some dedicated work.
Sometimes it has been as simple as enjoying breakfast together and talking about our day. Sometimes it’s been outstanding adventures, like hiking in New Zealand and Fiji. But mostly, it comprises things like enjoying a favorite tv series or competing in word search puzzles.
Whatever it is, we make sure not a lot of time has gone by between spending time together. Life gets busy and days speed by. If we’re not intentional, weeks will pass before we’ve connected.
Thankfully, over the years we have been able to take part in each other’s careers more but we still make time for the things we enjoy together that have nothing to do with work.
So what can you do if you struggle to find common ground with your spouse?
- Spend some time writing out things that you both find fun and then list, things you haven’t done but would like to try.
- Take turns doing things on each other’s list. You might find you really enjoy some things your spouse enjoys.
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Need some ideas?
- hit some hiking trails
- cook together
- learn how to scuba dive
- have a game marathon
- enjoy a weekly stay-in movie night
- put a puzzle together
- go fishing
- bird watch
- visit local museums
- plant a garden
- remodel a room in your house
- learn an instrument together
- volunteer in the community
- join a ministry in your church
- visit a shooting range
- take dancing classes
- bike local trails
- work out together
- do some landscaping around the house
- take painting lessons
- take food tours
- metal detecting
- visit local historical sites
- visit craft fairs
- take a drive to places you’ve never been before
- enroll in a workshop
- take a photography class
- go golfing
- join a yoga class
- learn a new sport
- learn a new language together
- start a YouTube channel
You might think this is too simple and there has to be more involved than this. Yes and no.
When you find things you both enjoy or when you do things with your spouse they love, it connects you, a little at a time. And eventually, that connection grows and you’re talking more and you’re falling in love with each other again.
It’s a process that starts small. Just like when you were getting to know each other in the beginning. It doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does take work. Or play, however you want to look at it.
But it’s always worth it.
And, if you’ll excuse me, it sounds like my husband’s ready for a rematch.
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About the author
Kimberly McGraw is the founder of Life Worth the Living, a blog focused on helping mothers live their best life. Her desire is to help moms find purpose in who they are as a person, not just as a mom. Life Worth the Living has been featured in Making Sense of Cents, Outwit Trade and Believe and Create.