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Two to Tango: When couples don’t agree on sports (yes, it’s not just fun and games)

The issue of sports is so sensitive for some couples that there are times it ends up jeopardising their marriage.

Written by Amrita Sharma | New Delhi |
April 18, 2016 7:52:48 pm
Man watching a game, while his girlfriend is It’s not about one partner liking or not liking sports. It’s about showing some respect to your partner – about his/her likes and dislikes. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

Most marriages reach the edge when the couples feel that they have nothing in common. By “in common” they mean common interests, common hobbies or common way of de-stressing. Among the list of things that couples feel they can’t connect with their partner on, sports is at the top. The issue of sports is so sensitive for some couples that there are times it ends up jeopardising their marriage.

Take the case of Rajan and Mina. Every time the cricket World Cup got under way, things would heat up between the two. “It was a traumatic time for me, because not only would Rajan not pay attention to me or what I would say, but he would also not help me with any housework at all. I really resented that I had to take care of everything at home, while he conveniently sat with the remote. I also work in the office the whole day and I hated that he left everything on me just because of some game that was being played practically every day,” she says.

Often this would lead to arguments between the couple and soon things came to a point where they stopped talking to each other.

“I just couldn’t believe how unreasonable she was being. I would help with whatever I could before the game started but after that I wanted to enjoy watching the game without being interrupted every 5 minutes. I mean don’t I deserve to watch my favourite game without being made guilty?” he asks.

Experts say that what may seem an innocuous issue to some is actually just the tip of the iceberg. According to them, it’s not about one partner liking or not liking sports. It’s about showing some respect to your partner – about his/her likes and dislikes.

“Even if she didn’t like me watching sports, she should at least show some consideration to the fact I am so passionate about it. I don’t keep interrupting her about my office issues, about my friends or about my thoughts when she is deep into her serials. Then don’t I deserve the same consideration?” asks Rajan.

Counsellors say it’s most natural for a couple to not have the same tastes and interests, but that does not mean one needs to undermine or override what matters a lot to your partner. What partners need to do is to work out ways where different interests do not come in the way of the relationship.

This is what Puja and Rakesh did about their different hobbies. Puja used to be really interested in playing tennis and Rakesh was just not into sports. But instead of making that an issue, they worked out a plan. “When Puja joined her tennis classes, I would make myself a nice drink and sit in front of the TV watching my favourite WWF, which I couldn’t watch when Puja would be home because she hated the sight of all that aggression. By the time she came back, I had my fill of WWF and she was fresh with her tennis exercise, and we were both ready to pay attention to one another. It worked out just fine for both of us,” he says.

Read all the Two to Tango columns here.

Experts say that couples must be clear about one thing – that they both want the marriage to work. As long as they are sure of that, working out ways around playing or watching sports together or not becomes a non-issue. What matters the most is that couples show respect for the interests of the other partner and not belittle or dismiss it. It’s also important to leave enough space for the partner to indulge in his/her choice of sports, instead of making it an ego issue.

Sports for many is “just a game”, but for your partner it may be a passion. Counsellors suggest that lack of respect, lack of consideration and lack of understanding towards what interests your partner, should never be allowed to play spoilsport in a relationship.

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