You Say Tomato, I Say Oreo – Finding Common Ground With Your Partner

Show Notes

What to do when you and your partner share completely different interests.
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Audio Transcription

Speaker 1:
Do you ever feel like you’re building an ark with only the instructions for a canoe? If so, you’re not alone. Welcome to CEO-ish where we’ll discuss traveling the path of the unknown while making it your own. (singing)

Speaker 1:
So today we’re going to talk about when you say tomato and he says tomato.

Kelly:
Yeah. I can imagine a lot of people can relate to this one.

Speaker 1:
I cannot think of a better person to sit with and discuss the subject of tomato, tomato, potato, potato, bracelets either, either.

Kelly:
Than me?

Speaker 1:
Than you.

Kelly:
Thank you.

Speaker 1:
Do you agree?

Kelly:
I do agree. You know why? Because I think that differences in marriage, in relationships between the partners-

Speaker 1:
Yeah.

Kelly:
… I think that’s normal.

Speaker 1:
Normal. But what do you do when every single movie you want to see is a romantic comedy, and every single one he wants to see, or your partner wants to see is a science fiction movie?

Kelly:
Yeah, that’s a tough one.

Speaker 1:
What do you do when you want to stay at home and eat and relax, but he enjoys going out and eating for three hours at a time and talking and talking and talking about bracelets? Give me an example.

Kelly:
No surprise in my house. It is, I want to watch television-

Speaker 1:
Yes.

Kelly:
… and he wants to read-

Speaker 1:
Read?

Kelly:
… and he can’t read when the TV’s on because he’s reading his book.

Speaker 1:
And you only have one room in the house?

Kelly:
Well, I was going to tell you this later in the podcast, but I’ll tell you right now.

Speaker 1:
Please.

Kelly:
The complication is not just that we want to do different things, because I’ve been married for 25 years, last month, 25 years. When you’re married that long, you might just decide, “You know what, you want to go in one room and do this?” We just both do two separate things. My problem is that he wants to do something together.

Speaker 1:
Oh, it’s the together person.

Kelly:
I’m like, “Oh, can’t we just … I’ll be, “I’m good. I’m good in here.” But he’s like, “But we’re not spending any time together. Don’t you want to be in here with me and sit next to me while I read?” “Not really.”

Speaker 1:
What do you tell him when he asks you to come, just be with him and you really just want to watch three hours of television?

Kelly:
Well, it depends on the day. I would probably guess most people would agree with this, but you know there’s some times you think, “I can compromise.” I like-

Speaker 1:
“I can give you five minutes.”

Kelly:
“I love you. So I’ll do …” And there are other times that you’re like, “You know what, I have had a long day and no I don’t want to?”

Speaker 1:
“I spent my day doing hours of podcasts.”

Kelly:
That’s right. “I’m tired. I want to be by myself.”

Speaker 1:
Does he get his feelings hurt?

Kelly:
Yes.

Speaker 1:
Okay.

Kelly:
Does your husband get his feelings hurt?

Speaker 1:
He doesn’t show it as much, so he may, but you might not find right then, as opposed to when my feelings get hurt, I will let him leave the room and then I will pick up my phone and I’ll think, “I think I could say this better in a text-

Kelly:
Really?

Speaker 1:
… a long one.”

Kelly:
Oh, that’s a good idea.

Speaker 1:
Or two, or three, or four.

Kelly:
Is it the kind that come when you’re, send, send, send and he hasn’t responded yet?

Speaker 1:
So this is the funny thing. The other day he came in and wanted to do something completely different than I did, and I had had a long day, and I was trying to think of a nice way to say, “Not now. I don’t want to do that.” I was thinking a very nice way to say, “I don’t want to do that. I just want to just chill on this couch and watch Shark Tank right now. That’s all they want to do.”

Speaker 1:
And it was fine and he really wanted to go to dinner, and I really just wanted to just be, and I wanted to eat Frosted Mini-Wheats on the couch. So you go back and forth in your mind and you think, “Hmm, when was the last time I said, ‘Yes’?”

Kelly:
Right.

Speaker 1:
And so he leaves the room and he wasn’t mad, but I bet that he was thinking, “Oh, we can’t ever just … I just want to go out.” I decided to take my phone because I could speak things better that way, and I was texting, texting. At the same time I was texting, I kept hearing a ding, and I realized I was sitting on his phone. I was wondering why he wasn’t responding to me, but it kept dinging and I was sitting on his phone. But I want to discuss what do couples do when they don’t want to do the same thing very often at all?

Kelly:
I find even as I’m getting older too, I’m getting more … well, maybe it’s selfish.

Speaker 1:
Well, let’s use another word.

Kelly:
Okay. More …

Speaker 1:
You’re just settled at home?

Kelly:
Set in my ways that I don’t want to compromise. I think it was easier when I was younger and the kids were smaller, and actually we had less free time to even decide what we wanted to do.

Speaker 1:
Right. Now that you have more time since you’re three are …

Kelly:
Getting bigger. Yeah.

Speaker 1:
Getting bigger. Now you have more options. And so now the tomato, tomato comes out more often than it did when you had young children, and that’s all that you were doing.

Kelly:
Yes. Here’s a great example. Our daughter’s in the band. We go to all the football games. This is our last kid in band. So there’s no more football games. Well, there’s no more band playing football games that we need to attend, but we still have a child at the school.

Kelly:
So I said to my husband, “Oh, next year when we get our season tickets.” And he’s like, “We’re not going to the football game next year.” I was like, “But we still have kids at the school and it’s fun, it’s school spirit, and we’re going to go.” And he’s not interested.

Speaker 1:
No. What do you do though? Do you just not go then or do you-

Kelly:
Well, I said, “I’ll just go with my friend, Nancy. I’m fine with that.”

Speaker 1:
And what did he say?

Kelly:
He doesn’t think that I should do that.

Speaker 1:
Oh, [crosstalk 00:05:55]

Kelly:
Well no, [inaudible 00:05:57]

Speaker 1:
That’s totally the truth. It’s not that he doesn’t think he should do it. He just thinks, “That’s ridiculous. What’s the point?”

Kelly:
Why are you going?” Right?

Speaker 1:
Yeah.

Kelly:
So I guess we’ll see next season what happens with the football game.

Speaker 1:
I can’t wait.

Kelly:
But it seems like we have more and more of those bracelets things coming up. If I could be serious and just say, I think what happens during child-rearing years is you’re in survival mode, you barely have any time free or whatever. Then I think if you don’t kind of plug in that time to spend together and make shared memories, I think it’s really evident when you’re married as long as I am, 25 years. Then you realize, “Oh, I’ve kind of got all these other interests in all these other things. And he’s got a whole bunch of interests in a whole different area that I’m just not interested in.” You know?

Speaker 1:
Yeah, it’s why people, they really strongly encourage couples who are together to have a regular night together. So even if you do have different interests, on one night a week when you have busy lives, otherwise that you find something to talk about and be together when you are that opposite.

Speaker 1:
Terry grew up in a family that they would spend two hours preparing the meal, cooking it, three hours at a table, eating it.

Kelly:
What?

Speaker 1:
They’d have a glass of wine, they’d have it with friends and family, and then an hour and a half that would take to clean it up. So I calculated, that’s two hours prep, three hours meal, that’s five, and then one and a half to clean it. Six and a half hours. I can read The Firm by John Grisham in six and a half hours.

Kelly:
So you don’t enjoy kind of that long sitting, talking meal thing?

Speaker 1:
I never enjoy sitting upright at a table. In my family, we had casseroles that took 20 minutes to make and prepare, five to cook, or five days to cook actually, it was the crockpot that would cook it long.

Kelly:
Right.

Speaker 1:
Then we’d sit down and the things that we would do, we’d play games together. We’d go places together. If I could have my way, I would not have a kitchen in the home.

Kelly:
What?

Speaker 1:
I would sit on couches and relax and eat.

Kelly:
Really?

Speaker 1:
To sit there for three hours after years and years of doing it, I no longer want to sit at a table. So when the four of us sit down to eat dinner with the girls, and we’re sitting at the table, and they eat and in about 15, 20 minutes they say, “May we be excused?” They go to the room, and now I’m sitting there and I want to say, “May I be excused?” Because Terry will sit for another hour and a half-

Kelly:
Just sitting and drinking a glass of wine?

Speaker 1:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). And chit-chatting.

Kelly:
And talking.

Speaker 1:
I picture myself in my room, reading a book in my pajamas with my weighted bracelets blanket on top of me. It’s been a long day, I can’t wait. And I so enjoyed my 20 minutes that I got to sit at the table with him. I think, “God please help me. I don’t want to offend him.” Then I look up and in the corner of my eye, I see my precious, beloved sister-in-law walk in.

Kelly:
Oh, the best.

Speaker 1:
We love her and she is the best table sitter because she grew up with Terry.

Kelly:
Right. You’re like, “Hey tag.”

Speaker 1:
Yeah.

Kelly:
“Tag team. I tag you in. I’m going to head another … I need to go to the bathroom real quick,” and then you just never return.

Speaker 1:
I’ll stay for a little bit because I catch up with Kelly. But my point is I don’t want to offend her and I love spending time with her. I just want him to come and read a book next to me under the weighted blanket too. I don’t want him to sit up straight. So how do you do these things when you want to see this movie, he doesn’t, you want to go, what do you do about it, Oh Dr. Phil?

Kelly:
Yeah. I don’t think I have any answers for you except that I-

Speaker 1:
But have a great relationship with Kyle or …

Kelly:
Yeah, I should introduce you guys sometime. He’s a nice guy. You would love him.

Speaker 1:
I’ve known him three years, but I just called him by the wrong name. Gyle, Kyle, what’s the difference?

Kelly:
Okay, well by the way, I’m just going to give a little story right here, while we’re here. But when Gyle and I were dating, we were driving in the car and he looked over at me and he went, “I love you, Carol.” And I was like, “What?”

Speaker 1:
On purpose?

Kelly:
No, on accident. He was going to call me Kell, and then he was going to call me, I don’t know some other … and then he’d just mix it all up and called me Carol.

Speaker 1:
And do you know a Carol in his life?

Kelly:
No, but it sort of sounded like Cara. “I love you, Carol.” And I was like, “Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa,” because we do know a Cara.

Speaker 1:
Yeah, we do. I just got him back and called him Kyle.

Kelly:
That’s right. It’s all even now. Anyway.

Speaker 1:
That’s funny. I can speak to my parents. My parents were married for a long time until my dad passed away, but my mom and my dad did not share a lot of the same interest at all. They loved to travel and they loved to laugh, and they loved friends. But as far as actual hobbies would go not … and actually, they loved the same kind of music, but they did not … But my mom, and you’ve met my mom.

Kelly:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Speaker 1:
As all the bracelets podcast world has, my mom, my dad was everything, my mom wasn’t, and my mom was everything, my dad wasn’t.

Kelly:
Yes. Yes.

Speaker 1:
So it was the perfect … Too much of my mom is too much of a lot-

Kelly:
Oh sister, I totally relate.

Speaker 1:
And too much of my dad. You needed the-

Kelly:
You need the balance.

Speaker 1:
… balance. And so when I see people that aren’t alike, I think you just have to remember the things that they have that you don’t, and you compromise, but it’s a tricky thing to do at the end of the day.

Kelly:
It is a tricky thing to do. Question for you about the eating.

Speaker 1:
Yeah.

Kelly:
Was Terry always like that?

Speaker 1:
Day one.

Kelly:
Yeah.

Speaker 1:
His big thing, he makes the best, best, even to this day, 30 years later, charcuterie board.

Kelly:
Oh my gosh.

Speaker 1:
Did I say that right?

Kelly:
Charcuterie, yeah.

Speaker 1:
Charcuterie board.

Kelly:
I cannot-

Speaker 1:
Have you ever had one of his charcuterie boards?

Kelly:
Many, many times. He has all the cheeses that pair with the right-

Speaker 1:
It’s embarrassing.

Kelly:
It’s amazing.

Speaker 1:
It’s only embarrassing when I’m in charge of it, when he’s not there.

Kelly:
What? Oh, I wouldn’t even attempt that-

Speaker 1:
No, I don’t.

Kelly:
… with him in the picture.

Speaker 1:
It is even better than any restaurant I’ve ever been to.

Kelly:
It is. He has drinks.

Speaker 1:
Oh yeah.

Kelly:
He’s got all the-

Speaker 1:
Cups I didn’t even know we had.

Kelly:
Yes. And there are different cups for every different course of the meal.

Speaker 1:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly:
Amazing.

Speaker 1:
You know, we had some friends up here at Rustic Cuff bracelets that came into town for a few days-

Kelly:
Yes.

Speaker 1:
I said, “Terry, I’m going to bring my friends over on Tuesday night and we’ll just have dinner here and let’s just order in.” And he said, “No, no, no, no. I can make something.” I said, “Oh I don’t want you to do that. Let’s order in.” I think he left his office at noon that day-

Kelly:
Oh my gosh.

Speaker 1:
… went to the grocery store. We didn’t get to the house till 7:30. From 12:00 to 7:30 Terry prepared this meal, seven and a half hours. Then I knew it was going to be a long night because we sat there and ate till 11:30. I mean, the kids put themselves to bed.

Kelly:
Oh my gosh.

Speaker 1:
I’m not even sure they were there that night because I never heard a peep from them because they don’t want to get caught in the conversation.

Kelly:
Right, right. The vortex of the kitchen table.

Speaker 1:
It was on the porch, at the table out there. The tables are tables. I don’t want to sit up straight and talk for four hours. It feels so very shallow to say that.

Kelly:
No, you’re such a high energy person.

Speaker 1:
Yeah.

Kelly:
I mean, I do this at times too. I will stand to eat, at the bracelets counter.

Speaker 1:
Yeah.

Kelly:
because I’m just like, I’m focused on, “Let me finish this and get to what I want to do.” That’s just how my mind rolls. So you’re like that too. You just are, “This is fine. Let’s eat. I need to eat so I don’t faint. I’ll get the food done.” But it’s not a love of yours.

Speaker 1:
No, and Terry does love food, but more than anything, he loves the fellowship with the food. And I am all about fellowship, but I want to be in a bean bag talking to you so I can relax. So whenever we’re supposed to go out to dinner with a couple, and he said, “What time do you want to go out to dinner?” I usually said, “I’ll start at 10:00,” because I know everybody’s going to get tired by 11:30.

Kelly:
Oh, what?

Speaker 1:
If you start at 5:00, I mean, you’re in for the long haul.

Kelly:
Oh, see, I always want to start at 5:00.

Speaker 1:
Why?

Kelly:
Because I want to get it over with.

Speaker 1:
No, no, no, you can’t get it over with because nobody’s going home at seven o’clock.

Kelly:
Yeah, but I feel like there’s a difference between having people over at 5:00 and meeting somebody out for dinner at 5:00 because you can’t sit at a table for three hours.

Speaker 1:
You’re absolutely right. But they will go somewhere after that, without fail. So I like to start the night about 10 o’clock. But it goes back to this tomato, tomato. We are not wired the same and I would love to be able to help others who are not wired the same and think, “We just don’t go together.”

Kelly:
Well, I agree. But I have to say back to my original point, which is I think that people need to understand that that’s normal. There’s very few couples that I know that are just completely in sync with all of their hobbies, all of their personality traits, what time they like to get up and do all that stuff-

Speaker 1:
And we never, ever, ever are apart. We’re together all the time.

Kelly:
Right. I mean there’s very, very few people I know. One older couple, both retired who kind of do that. They’re marriage counselors though. So they’re working constantly on that marriage relationship. That’s all they’re doing.

Speaker 1:
What’s their number?

Kelly:
I’ll give it to you later. But my point is, I think, first of all, you’ve got to give yourself a break, not you, everybody needs to give themselves a break.

Speaker 1:
Yeah. That’s okay.

Kelly:
Nobody wants to do everything that their partner or their spouse wants to do. I don’t want to do everything my friends want to do. I can’t think of one friend at my age that I want to just spend all of my bracelets time with. All of my time?

Speaker 1:
I wouldn’t mind spending a lot of time with you.

Kelly:
Oh, that’s nice.

Speaker 1:
You know Robyn, who works with us?

Kelly:
Yes.

Speaker 1:
Robyn does all our PR. You know, she’s married to somebody who could live, sleep, breathe, everything-

Kelly:
Hunting.

Speaker 1:
… hunting, fishing, and Robyn wasn’t always wired like that. I would love to ask her what it’s like to be married to somebody who every weekend would want to get up at three o’clock in the morning-

Kelly:
We need to find her. Where’s Robyn?

Speaker 1:
Robyn, did you hear us talking about you?

Robyn:
I did.

Speaker 1:
Okay. Were we correct? You’re married to a man who-

Robyn:
Yes.

Speaker 1:
… his love is all things hunting, fishing, outdoors?

Robyn:
For sure.

Speaker 1:
From the moment you met him, you knew that about him?

Robyn:
Absolutely.

Speaker 1:
How do you deal with being the tomato and he’s the tomato?

Robyn:
We could not be more different. But in all honesty, it never, ever bothered me except for when we had twins that were little, and I would be home. As a matter of fact, we had a conversation about this, this morning because I would be sitting in our living room all day long with two little babies or two little crazy toddlers, and then he would say, “I’m not getting enough sleep. I’ve got to get up early to go hunting,”

Kelly:
Which he hears?

Robyn:
Always.

Speaker 1:
You should have a lot of shared interest as well. But how have you dealt with that part, his love and obsession for all things outdoors?

Robyn:
Well, if he was to go do that and then come home and be like a lazy bum, that would be a problem.

Kelly:
Okay, that’s a good point.

Robyn:
But he comes home and he works twice as hard because he wants to continue to do it. I mean, he can accomplish more and three hours than I could probably accomplish in 24 hours. So I have to give him that. Then there could be a lot worse places he could be.

Speaker 1:
That is true. What is it that you do that he would say he has no interest in whatsoever?

Robyn:
Probably everything that I do.

Speaker 1:
Do you think it’s gotten more extreme as you guys have aged?

Robyn:
No, but my two boys are carbon copies of him. They love it too. And as a matter of fact, it’s so funny we are saying this because we had this conversation this morning. I said, “There’s never been a time in our marriage that it is ever been an issue except for when the twins were babies,” and then I would get mad because I felt like I was living on an island taking care of these kids. Then it was like, “But you still get to do everything you want to do.” But now that the boys want to do everything that he wants to do, it’s actually kind of nice.

Speaker 1:
Yeah.

Kelly:
Right, right.

Robyn:
They want to go for the weekend to go on a hunting trip and I’m like-

Speaker 1:
“Yes, you should do that.

Robyn:
“All right, I’ll take one for the team. I’ll stay here by myself with Bailey. We’ll do a girl thing. We’ll go see Hamilton, we’ll go get our nails done. We’ll take one for the team.” So it’s actually not that much of an issue, and I actually think it’s a really healthy thing for my kids.

Speaker 1:
So back to the differences between you and your husband, it sounds like it’s working because you’re both-

Robyn:
Very independent people.

Speaker 1:
I’d be like, you’ve found something that works for the both of you.

Robyn:
Yeah, for sure. Because I think the fact that we’re both very independent is probably the key.

Speaker 1:
But what if he were independent and you weren’t independent, do you have any bracelets advice for people when it’s unequal? I mean it works well when you’re both either dependent to some degree, or when you’re independent and you still share some common interest. What if one is very independent and the other person doesn’t have their own hobbies or interest?

Robyn:
You both have to be willing to work towards that common ground, for sure.

Kelly:
You go hunting, you go fishing. I think what you’re getting at is spending time. You have to choose to spend some time together and you need to make some shared memories. Even if that’s something kind of canned at first, you know, very like, “Okay, we’ll go out to dinner,” and you may not be enjoying. One person doesn’t like this kind of food. One person wants to go earlier or later, but you’re making shared memories and it’s at least a start.

Robyn:
Well, and I also sometimes think, for instance, there was one time I wanted to go to New York City and he really had no interest in going, but he ended up saying, “Hey, let’s go. If that’s where you want to go, I’d love to go, let’s do it.”

Robyn:
And we ended up having the best time ever, which made me think, “Okay.” You know, we know other couples who they both like to hunt, and to me, that was just so foreign and it actually is pure comedy to think about even doing that. I did stop and think, “Okay, that made me so happy. The fact that he would step out and do something he didn’t want to do, that I’m going to say, ‘Yes’ to something that he asks me to do.”

Kelly:
Right.

Robyn:
I did it and it was pure comedy. But we actually ended up laughing really hard and then he was like, “Okay, I don’t ever want you to do this again.”

Speaker 1:
So what I’m saying is that you got married for a reason just because he does things this way and you do things that way. You have to still say, “Yes” to each other because really when you start going off this way and won’t ever say, “Yes” to him, the ocean just keeps getting wider in between the two of you.

Robyn:
That’s for sure.

Speaker 1:
So let’s challenge all of our listeners to say, “Yes” to one thing that you said, “I can’t stand doing,” and we’re going to just … let’s start right here and end right here. Robyn, tell me one thing you’re going to say, “Yes” to Lance this week?

Robyn:
I may go hunting with him. He actually asked me this morning.

Speaker 1:
Oh.

Kelly:
Really?

Robyn:
Yeah.

Speaker 1:
Robin, you don’t know how you just inspired so many women that you don’t love to hunt at all and that you are going to say, “Yes” to Lance to go hunting.

Robyn:
Yeah, but I will cry if we kill something.

Kelly:
Oh, right.

Speaker 1:
Another podcast. Kelly?

Kelly:
Do you know what I’m going to do?

Speaker 1:
Tell me.

Kelly:
I am going to choose to read instead of watch TV one time this week.

Speaker 1:
That’s huge for you.

Kelly:
One time.

Speaker 1:
That’s super huge.

Kelly:
Don’t get crazy. One time.

Speaker 1:
Okay.

Kelly:
What about you?

Speaker 1:
Well equally as hard for me is I have this thing lately, I do not want to go out to dinner. I just have zero desire. I want to stay home and eat every single meal. Even on the weekends, I just want to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I am going to say, “Yes” to go out to dinner with Terry once this week.

Kelly:
Okay.

Speaker 1:
And by this week, I mean sometime in the month of November, I’m going to say, “Yes,” and I’m going to go out to dinner, and it’s not going, I’m going to go out to dinner and sit there for two and a half hours.

Robyn:
What?

Kelly:
Okay. Let’s maybe not put the time frame of a week on it, but let’s say by the next time we do a bracelets podcast, we’re going to check in and see if we all did the thing.

Robyn:
Yeah. Okay.

Speaker 1:
And I challenge everybody that is listening. Find one thing that you don’t enjoy doing that your spouse or that your partner, or that somebody that you’re close to does and say, “Yes.” Just once this week, say, “Yes.” Say, “Yes.”

Kelly:
Say, “Yes.”

Speaker 1:
You can still say tomato. They can still say tomato but say, “Yes” to one thing. We want to hear your yeses. If you have said, “Yes” this week or you’re going to say, “Yes,” to something, we want to hear what that is.

Speaker 1:
You can reach us at CEO-ish at rusticcuff.com. We would love to hear about it and possibly talk about it on air. If we do talk about your yes that you said, we will send you a gift. We’re just going to send you a thank you gift.

Speaker 1:
Thank you so much for joining us on CEO-ish. If you enjoyed today, please subscribe and comment. If you did not enjoy it, please still subscribe, but just don’t comment. Thank you so much, Kelly and Robyn. Thank you very much.

Robyn:
Thank you.

Kelly:
Thank you.

Speaker 1:
We’ll see you next time on CEO-ish.