Try to find mutual benefit in hobbies
READER’S QUESTION: My husband has become an avid motorcyclist. We are in our 60s, with each of us having grown kids. But, I am still concerned about his safety, especially when he goes on long trips. He becomes mad when I worry. Do I say nothing?
MARIANN’S RESPONSE: It sounds as if you do not share your husband’s enthusiasm for cycling. Even though my experience is limited, I can understand why others love the freedom of motorcycling, but also I am very aware of the danger from my seven years working in organ and tissue donation. Sadly many donors were motorcycle accident victims, which is not much reassurance to you.
The scenario you describe can be a potential dividing point in a marriage when one spouse is passionate about something the other does not share and can include any number of hobbies, such as golf, hunting, scuba or skydiving. If you had young children, his love of cycling would be more of an issue since potentially losing a parent at a young age is forever impactful. But it sounds as if your husband has waited to pursue this passion for biking after his parental responsibilities have passed. I give him credit for this and maybe so should you. Many people I know would rather die unexpectedly doing something they love versus living an extended life with limited mental or physical capacities upon reaching old age. I find it difficult to disagree. We are all going to meet our end of life, and I would rather go out with a smile on my face while ballroom dancing or swimming laps versus not knowing my name from senility and being around too long.
If joining him on a motorcycle is not an option, maybe establishing some ground rules as to how often he checks in with you and whether he rides at night, when more accidents occur, would be reassuring to you. Knowing his planned route and expected time of arrival, will give you needed information especially if suddenly you don’t hear from him, so that you can retrace his path.
When he plans a trip, instead of worrying alone at home, how about forming a dinner group of girlfriends with whom you can meet when he goes away? There was an excellent story this past week on CBS Sunday Morning about the importance of close friendships, the benefit of time spent with them and the positive impact upon both our psychological and physical health from having these relationships. Would organizing a book club for other reading enthusiasts be a possibility? If neither of those suggestions is to your liking, there are a multitude of social service agencies or cultural events seeking volunteers, especially during these difficult economic times when most non-profit organizations are now existing with minimal staff.
Finding your own passion for hobbies can bring more interest to your relationship since you will both be pursuing something you love. Rather than nagging him about the time you are spending alone while he rides and worrying about his safety, finding something you enjoy is essential. The same is true about all of you who are “golf widows.” If joining your spouse on the golf course is not of interest, find your passion and pursue it. Let the time you spend away from each other be mutually beneficial to the both of you, and others will thank you for coordinating something fun for everyone, helpful to those in need of assistance or organizations that appreciate your volunteerism.
Mariann Main is a Licensed Counselor and a Delaware native. Her column appears weekly on Wednesdays. To submit a question and have Mariann answer it anonymously, visit delgazette.com/life-questions-with-local-answers or send mail to the Delaware Gazette office, 40 N. Sandusky St., suite 203, Delaware, OH 43015.