Don’t Hitch Your Horse To A Burning Wagon

It seems to me that more and more people are focusing too much on finding shared interests with a significant other. They try to build their relationships through them and as a result their relationships are more likely to fail. Don’t get me wrong, sharing an interest with a significant other can help create a healthy relationship. This is because a shared interest can give a couple something to talk about and bond over. However, in my opinion, searching for shared interests in a spouse or significant other should take a backseat to finding shared values.

What Are Interests And Values?

An interest is something which peaks our curiosity or keeps us mentally engaged. They often set our imaginations in motion. Common broad examples would be sports, music, and books. Whereas narrow interests within the broad ones may be basketball, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and historical fiction. Which can be further narrowed to a specific team, band, or author.

A value is a concept of behavior or thought that has importance to the individual. As well as a belief in regard to morality and ethics. Values are usually a measurement to live a better life by or a guide on how to treat others. Examples might be hard work, integrity, and honesty.

My Experience Searching For Interests Rather Than Values

I used to use a dating website called christianmingle because meeting single women in my daily life was difficult. My first attempts at online dating centered around me trying to find women around my age that shared my interests. At the time I was very much into videogames, YouTube videos, and Star Wars. I also had minor interests such as bird watching, pet birds, and manga. Most of the time I sent a thought-out message to a woman, she either didn’t respond at all or did so minimally. The few that did deign my message worth an ample response seemed willing to get to know me. I spoke on the phone to a couple of them multiple times and even took one on a date. However, these budding relationships always seemed to die out quickly and I struggled to figure out why.

One evening as I sat in front of my computer, frustrated and depressed with my lack of success, I realized my problem. I had been placing more value on shared interests than shared values. One of the women I spoke on the phone with a few times was really into Star Wars just like me. Yet, she was far more aligned with liberal ideals than I was. She believed abortion was morally neutral. Whereas I believed, and still do, that abortion is immoral. I believed all human life carried innate value, but she did not. Due to my young beliefs, and my desire for a girlfriend, I tried to ignore these types of differences. A negative feeling persisted and doubts tore at the fringes of my mind. I couldn’t form a long-term, romantic relationship with a woman that didn’t value all human life. Regardless of whether or not we both liked Star Wars.

Meeting My Wife

I did end up meeting my wife on that website, but it wasn’t until I decided to put values first. I devised an email that listed my beliefs and talked about my values. This was the first message I sent to the woman who would later become my wife. To my surprise, she responded with a message that described her values and beliefs. It turned out that we saw eye-to-eye on all major categories. From this foundation we were able to structure a relationship. Sure, we largely don’t have the same interests, but that doesn’t mean our interests can’t compliment each other. Nor does it mean we can’t bond well together. My wife likes to read and collect books, I like woodworking, so I built her a shelf. I use the computer a lot and lacked a mousepad, she likes fabric work and crafts, so the other day she made me one.

Why Shared Values Are More Important Than Shared Interests

A shared value carries far more weight with the individual who holds it than an interest does. I believe values are often what help us form our interests. My interest in woodworking is, at least in part, influenced by my value of self-sustainability. Since a value typically means more to a person it is naturally a better way to build a relationship. Sharing a value with a spouse or significant other helps the relationship to reach a deeper level of meaning. An interest isn’t something you live your life by, it is simply something in your life. A value is something you believe in and therefore use to guide your life. If a couple shares a value then they are guiding their lives along a more similar path to one another.

To Close…

If an individual pursues a romantic relationship with someone based on shared interests alone, they are hitching their horse to a burning wagon. The relationship is the wagon, the differing values are the flames, and the horse is the individual. You can certainly start a relationship based on interests alone, you can even enjoy success for a time. However, the flames caused by differences in values will always threaten the relationship’s integrity. A burning wagon will only serve to harm the horse. Don’t hitch your horse to a burning wagon.

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