Marriage is the coming together of two people in love. Even if you and your partner have some common interests, but you are still two very different people. It makes sense that you would each have your own passions in life. You both had different upbringings, and just feel differently about life, and different things move you. Maybe one of you is into games and stuff, but the other is artistic. One is not right or wrong—just different. At times in a marriage, it requires great sacrifices, giving up your own time and interests in order to allow your spouse to do what they want to do. How can you ensure to not to control but to support your spouse in pursuing their passions? Here are 7 ways to do so.

1. Notice what moves them

You can’t support your spouse’s passions if you aren’t sure what they are. If you are lucky, depending on the nature of your partner , if they tell you what their passions are, it is way much easier to support them. Although, even if your spouse tells you their passions, that doesn’t mean they’ll automatically jump into actually doing them. In addition, passions never stay the same and can change depending on your spouse’s stage in life. So it’s important to notice what moves them. When they are doing a particular activity, are they excited? Giddy? Look like they are “home”? If so, then you’ve found their true passions.

2. Embrace their passions

As long as your spouse’s passions aren’t closed in a box in anyway, the next step is to embrace them. This may be hard if you don’t particularly like their passions, or if you think they should spend more time on other things. Remember why you feel in love with your spouse in the first place. Accept that their passions are a big part of who they are. The more you embrace their passions, the more support they will feel connected and supported by you. And if you are not willing to do this, don’t expect them to support for you passions too.

3. Be inquisitive

Ask questions if you want to show support to your spouse’s passion and interests. Be interested. Go on this journey with your spouse. If you do so, your spouse will be prompted to talk about their passions—which they will love to do. Questions are like fuel. The more they talk about them, the more their interest and excitement will grow. As a result, they will appreciate your interest and support.

4. Encourage using words

When your spouse shares their passions with you, other should respond to them by using encouraging and meaningful words. Be positive. Use statements like, “Wow, that sounds amazing!” or “You should do that!” or “You are so good at that!” Your positive encouragement will convey your support, which will help them to really go for their passions. For some people, encouraging words from their spouse is like consent —not that they needed to have it, but they respect and honor you and want to hear that you are okay with what they are doing.

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5. Encourage using actions

Back up your words with actions. Your spouse knows you and will know the minute you are insincere. How do you encourage by your actions? Your body language will speak volumes. If you say, “That’s great!” but with your head down and eyes glued to your phone, your spouse will not feel support from you. Another way to encourage using actions is to rearrange things on your schedule and make time so they can pursue their passions having you by their side. If you have kids, stay at home with them so they can go out to pursue their passion. Or if their passion thing clashes on your regular date night, maybe switch things up so they can do both, it’s not the end of the world. That action will show them how much you care.

6. Join your spouse

Even if you aren’t into your spouse’s passion such as Book Club, hockey, crocheting, kick boxing, card playing, etc — why not just give it a shot for them? They would probably love to experience it together. Your spouse can explain things to you, tell you why they like it so much, maybe they have a connected story to that passion which they want to tell you and perhaps you will start to see why they love it so much. And it also gives you more to understand each other.

7. Follow your own passions

While you are supporting your spouse, let them support you, too. Be a couple that fosters the other’s passions. It’ll help you both to be more open and loving to what the other loves. Who knows? Maybe somehow your passions will complement each other in some way which makes it even more special.

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