LOVE LINGERS HERE: INTIMATE ENDURING RELATIONSHIPS XVI. PLATE THREE: DECIDING WHAT’S IMPORTANT (IDENTIFYING SHARED VALUES)
At the beginning of their relationship, Karen and Ben didn’t like the same things. Karen hated baseball and football, while Ben liked both of these sports. Because Karen agreed to agree with Ben, she chose to like baseball but not football. Currently, both Ben and Karen are avid fans of their local major league baseball team, but neither of them watches football. This couple has agreed to value and do things that they can enjoy together rather than apart. This is at the heart of their relationship.
When asked to indicate what is special about them as a couple, Ben replied: We like to have fun. I don’t know — the main thing is that we never get bored of each other, you know?
Karen: It’s like being best friends. You’re not really an individual when you’re together.
Ben: That’s what makes it the best. I know some people that have separate relationships. Saturday night they’re out with the guys and that to me is a joke. If yo4re married, you are buddies. You do everything together. Like I said, “this winter, I’m going to go to Canada to go fishing with Todd” and she said.-.”Well then I’m going to Florida with Gwen.” I said “No way;” She said “no way.” We’d just be missing out. We try and get into things together. And it seems like things that I enjoy and did enjoy . . . I don’t do them so much. Not because I don’t like them (or maybe I don’t like them anymore!)
Karen: It’s just evolved more into what we can do together.
While many other couples are very successful in doing some things together and other things apart, Ben and Karen have worked out a formula that makes sense for them. They do things together and gradually begin to convince themselves that activities which they don’t do jointly are somehow less interesting than they used to be.