Hobbies, habits and marriage
In the olden days, matchmaking was done over hobby contests – women were made to sing, dance or have their culinary or crochet skills tested during the “bride seeing” ceremony. Most women were going to be housewives and had to justify how they would spend time productively at home while the men financed their living.
Today, both men and women work and their time at home after work is their own business, and nobody needs to justify what they do with it. However, people care about hobbies of a potential partner even today.
I have a friend who has been single for a while. He is a good looking, well educated, cultured, comes from a good family and pretty much checks of everything that an average girl would want from a potential spouse, but is still single only because he is looking for a girl with a serious hobby.
Simple enough, right?
But you’ll be surprised to see how few people have hobbies as adults. The last time most people have hobbies is the first time they make a professional resume. Hobbies are merely bullet points in our CVs.
People with decent careers think they have their lives sorted and there is no reason for them to struggle in the marriage market, but they falter to even sustain another person’s attention because they are so one-dimensional. These people are exhausted after a hectic 5-day work week and the only way they know how to blow off some steam is by binge-watching sitcoms or drinking one’s gut out.
But wait, when did drinking become a hobby instead of a “habit”?
This is essentially a result of not knowing how to productively engage oneself in interesting activities. This leads to us looking for inspiration in a partner to make our lives more interesting putting unnecessary pressure on the relationship. This one time a girl rejected a boy with a very hectic creative career because she felt he wouldn’t have the time to spend with his family. While this may or may not be true, someone assessing quality based on quantity of time spent could be a potential liability in the relationship.
If both the boy and girl have serious passions outside of work, this minimises the need for each one seeking attention from the other, hence keeping expectations from the relationship at bay. Even at an individual level, they’d be more content with themselves allowing them to contribute positively to the relationship.
Now, there is a flip-side to having serious independent interests beyond work because you might have little chance of overlap in your lives to grow closer as a couple, but that’s a risk some people are willing to take. If they didn’t, they’d probably end up with someone who will neither let them be happy with themselves nor in the relationship.