It’s said that one key to any successful relationship is having common interests. Of course, you don’t have to love or hate all the same things that the other person does. Disagreement is healthy, too. But some things, you just can’t sacrifice.
Before the boyfriend and I were together, our relationship basically consisted of, “You like to compost? So do I! We should get married!” I asked a friend for her blessing, there were witnesses—it was all quite serious (okay, seriously amusing) business. A similar thing happened with origami. And then, he asked me out, and we started focusing on the important things that were bringing us together.
Like bacon. (Well, it was another “you like/I like… MARRIAGE!” moment, at any rate.)
Suffice it to say, that has sort of become one of the taglines of our relationship. It mostly pertains to food (the song “Do You Like Waffles?” has been ruined forever), but it does extend into other arenas, as well. In a way, our silliness, itself, is a common interest, or rather, a common trait. We can be serious when we need to be, and we are, but it’s fun to imitate red pandas, and coo over bunnies, and make horrible puns. It’s fun to insist “because I’m a big, important computer scientist and I say so” when the playful argument at hand has absolutely nothing to do with computer science. It’s fun to be stunned into fits of laughter because I know my boyfriend is being ridiculous and I can’t think of anything else to say because I don’t understand what’s going on.
It’s not the only thing that keeps us together—not by a long shot—but when I think about it, it’s actually pretty important. Not only does it keep us happy, but it shows that we understand each other most of the time, and even when we don’t, it shows that we accept each other for who we are. That’s a pretty big thing, and it’s not always easy to do.
I won’t say that we have this whole relationship thing worked out. It’s a work in progress, and I suspect that in any relationship, it will always be to some degree. There’s always something that has yet to come to the surface. There’s always one more compromise to make. (He’s a night owl, I’m an early bird. He’s an introvert, I’m… an interesting case. He likes peas but not peppers, I like peppers but not peas.) But even then, it’s looking at what unites us, as opposed to what divides us. Call me crazy, but I think the world would be a better place if we all thought a little more like that.