Last week, Megan wrote the first of two posts about moments when it’s easy to say, “It’s just not me.” This phrase is often said regarding hobbies or activities that one spouse enjoys doing, but the other often replies by saying “It’s just not me.” If you haven’t read it just yet, feel free to do so. Today, I (Justin) want to chime in with some additional thoughts on this subject.
Let’s say that you and your spouse have similar interests and hobbies, and therefore, “It’s just not me” moments don’t come very often…at least not in your own household. You and your spouse have both worked hard through the years to balance your interests for the good of your marriage. He enjoys at least some of her interests and hobbies, and she does the same for him. But what about your relationships with other couples? For example:
Wife: “The so-and-so’s would like us to come over for dinner Friday night. You know she and I have been friends for years. I think maybe it’s time for you to get to know her husband a little better, too.”
Husband: “Are you serious? I don’t want to have dinner with them. He and I have nothing in common. He’s into ‘art’ for crying out loud. What do I know about art?”
What do you do?
Husband: “Bill and I are going golfing Saturday morning, and we thought it would be fun to bring our wives along this time. What do you think?”
Wife: “Well Bill’s wife has actually golfed before! I don’t even know how to hold a club. Count me out.”
What do you do?
Husband: “One: I don’t ski. Two: Susan’s husband is just plain weird. Sure, we’ll ski for a few hours and then what?…we’ll be inside the rest of time. Sorry, but it’s just not me.”
What do you do?
You’ve taken the opportunity to balance your interests and hobbies for the good of your marriage, but you know “It’s just not me” to do it again for another friendship.
Regarding these additional “It’s just not me” moments, here are a few things to keep in mind.
1) It’s good for them
When it comes to these types of situations, it’s good to remember that the sacrifice you make will likely be very good for the other couple. Your spouse’s friend will be delighted with the effort you’re making. Not only that, but it may be good for their spouse as well. Maybe he/she has good business contacts, but no real friends. Maybe they know they’re ‘odd’ and have never been able to sustain a friendship outside of their marriage. And now for the first time in their life, somebody is actually making an effort to get to know them.
2) It’s good for your marriage
Sure, you’ve made sacrifices for your spouse and children. Sure, “it’s just not you” to do it again and again. But your spouse has a friend, and they’re ready for that friendship to go to the next level. And your spouse believes that in order for their friendship to go to the next level, they need you to be part of it. Your sacrifice in this area will make your marriage even stronger. Your spouse will see your continual willingness to put them ahead of yourself. Surely they’ll reciprocate. Surely they’ll continue to make sacrifices for you. Surely your marriage with strengthen.
3) It’s good for you
These kinds of relational sacrifices are always good to make because they can ultimately remind you of your relationship with God. If that sounds ridiculous, think about this: what does He really have in common with you? Anything? Be honest, the answer is probably very little. Maybe nothing. Yet He gave it all up and became a friend of sinners so that your relationship could be restored. Should we not be willing to do the same for a good relationship with others?
I realize a great deal more could be written on this subject of “It’s just not me” moments. Nevertheless, this two-part post emphasizes the importance of giving up this mindset not only in our marital relationship, but also in our relationships with others. It certainly isn’t easy, and surely Megan and I fail ourselves from time to time. But if relationships are truly important, perhaps one day we’ll all put aside the “It’s just not me” mentality, and will instead say, “Whatever it takes.”
Discuss with your spouse:
1. What kind of “It’s just not me” moments have you had in relationships with other couples?
2. Is there ever a time when saying “It’s just not me” can be justified?