When I first was engaged, I allowed my new diamond to be a conversation starter for the benefit of my own personal research. After I was congratulated, I followed up with the question of whether or not he/she was married, and if so what is the key to having a successful marriage. Most of the time I received the predictable response of honesty, good communication, or trustworthiness. All of these are very important, but they are obvious even to the single community. The most valuable piece of advice came from a man who was divorced. He told me “You have to have hobbies together. It does not matter how much you love each other in the beginning, you will grow apart if you do not have hobbies.” He was right; even the statistics supported his claim. The divorce rate increases for couples who have been married for twenty plus years due to growing apart. I was determined to learn from him and these statistics.
At that time, I knew my fiancé and I shared the love of winter skiing. In fact, as I was falling head over heels down Center Stage, he was falling head over heels in love with me. My emotions shortly followed as he was my knight in shining armor and rescued me from my humpty dumpty moment. Yet, in our climate this hobby would only last a quarter of each year. We had met during the winter and were engaged in early spring. I expressed my concerns to my fiancé. He was not concerned and reassured me that we would figure it out; and we did.
On our honeymoon, my husband chose the excursion of scuba diving. Neither of us had ever been, and I was very aware there was a possibility of dying during this sport. I wanted to be the supportive wife, so I dealt with this fear by avoiding any thoughts that had to do with it. Before the excursion we had to take a beginner scuba class. The instructor had a very strong accent which was very difficult to understand. I tried extremely hard to hang onto every word he was saying; my life depended on it. After the class, we dressed in the equipment and entered the water. We were told by the instructor “Stay underwater no matter what happens.” I had a problem with this rule; this did not seem logical to me. If anything went wrong my plan was to come up for air.
After descending a few feet, I tried to breathe and I could not! I panicked! I immediately broke the rule and came to the surface! My husband and the instructor followed. The instructor yelled “No. No. No. You have to go back down!” I tried again. I then realized I was having a panic attack! I had helped many clients through their panic attacks, but never in my life had experienced one. It was awful! I came to the surface again; followed by my husband and the instructor. I was reprimanded by the instructor again! I knew I could not quit; it was my husband’s dream to go scuba diving and I did not want to be the one preventing that from happening. With the logic I had left, I developed my own treatment plan. I changed my negative thoughts of “I am going to die” to “I am okay,” as I focused on slow deep breaths.
After I calmed myself down, I descended a few feet, used my coping skills, and then descended a few more feet. My treatment plan worked! I made to the bottom at 20 feet! The view down there was amazing! I looked around for my husband to share this experience with him, but he was nowhere to be found. I then looked up and he was still on the surface. Apparently he was having a difficult time with this too! When I thought he was being chivalrous by waiting for me, he was really having a hard time himself. When he saw that I could do it he could not let his new wife show him up, so he forced himself to work his way down. Despite the first fifteen minutes of struggles, together we worked through it and we discovered our favorite hobby!
My advice this month is simple. Get a hobby with your hubby (boyfriend). Hobbies force you to spend quality time together. Depending on the hobby, it may also force you to work together or require you to rely on each other. Both of these result in building a stronger bond between the two of you. Hobbies also create the stories of your life together. These are going to be the great times you talk about after you have grown old together. So whether it may be skiing, scuba diving, book clubbing, club crawling, completing puzzles, cooking, dancing, gardening, geocaching, kayaking, off roading, painting, playing video games, renovating, rock climbing, stargazing, traveling, volunteering, whitewater rafting, etc; do it together and live in love!