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Old 08-30-2007, 09:49 PM   #1
Dewey
Location: St. Louis, MO
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how to handle "significant other"/spouse who's not on board

Hopefully I'm not posting in the dark here:

Anybody who struggles with a "significant other" and/or spouse who's not entirely onboard with your dedication to Aikido?

Real life scenario:

I have a serious girlfriend that I'm seriously considering marrying. She's open-minded about my dedication to Aikido (i.e. "boys and their toys" sort of attitude), but is not entirely "on board" with Aikido (or the martial arts in general) being simply more than a hobby like fantasy football.

When I asked her this afternoon if she wanted to accompny me to a iaijutsu seminar in Michigan (i.e. I packaged it as a roadtrip for both of us to see a part of the country neither of us have been to), she turned me down cold. Even after I told her that the seminar itself would last only 3 hours. The rest of our weekend would be sightseeing.

Anybody else with a similar sort of situation? Any advice is welcome.
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Old 08-30-2007, 10:00 PM   #2
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: how to handle "significant other"/spouse who's not on board

Dump her!
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Old 08-30-2007, 10:06 PM   #3
Aristeia
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Re: how to handle "significant other"/spouse who's not on board

I'm confused. Is the issue that she has a problem with you training or that you have a problem with her not training?

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 08-30-2007, 10:38 PM   #4
Roman Kremianski
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Re: how to handle "significant other"/spouse who's not on board

I've come to find girls will often just vaguely fake interest in your martial arts passion long enough to get with you. How that works out in the long term? Probably not very well.
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Old 08-30-2007, 10:38 PM   #5
giriasis
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Re: how to handle "significant other"/spouse who's not on board

You know, some people are just not "into" martial arts. Truth is you want to go an iaijutsu seminar for three days even though the seminar is three hours long and she doesn't want to go to just watch something she is not into. If she is into knitting do you want to go to her special knitting workshops with her?

Did she say that she didn't want you to go or that she just doesn't want to go. Did you ask her if she would mind you going without her? I have a feeling if you say she is supportive then she wouldn't mind you going without her. Be thankful then to have a mate/spouse that will allow you to be apart from her and not expect you to quit your training just because your invovled with her.

Anne Marie Giri
Women in Aikido: a place where us gals can come together and chat about aikido.
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Old 08-30-2007, 10:48 PM   #6
Aikibu
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Re: how to handle "significant other"/spouse who's not on board

Quote:
Brian Dewey wrote: View Post
Hopefully I'm not posting in the dark here:

Anybody who struggles with a "significant other" and/or spouse who's not entirely onboard with your dedication to Aikido?

Real life scenario:

I have a serious girlfriend that I'm seriously considering marrying. She's open-minded about my dedication to Aikido (i.e. "boys and their toys" sort of attitude), but is not entirely "on board" with Aikido (or the martial arts in general) being simply more than a hobby like fantasy football.

When I asked her this afternoon if she wanted to accompny me to a iaijutsu seminar in Michigan (i.e. I packaged it as a roadtrip for both of us to see a part of the country neither of us have been to), she turned me down cold. Even after I told her that the seminar itself would last only 3 hours. The rest of our weekend would be sightseeing.

Anybody else with a similar sort of situation? Any advice is welcome.
Whew...Thats a tough one brother...Your only hope is that as you grow in practice that practice grows on her...

It's always been non-negotiable with me as well as surfing. I have brought many dates to practice so that they can see what an important part of my life practice is...

Hopefully it won't come down to a hard choice and she'll continue to compromise.

WIlliam Hazen
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Old 08-30-2007, 10:54 PM   #7
Shannon Frye
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Re: how to handle "significant other"/spouse who's not on board

Guess I can consider myself very fortunate. I'm a stay at home dad to 2 boys (soon to be 3 next week) , so my "escaping" to dojo is viewed as my "alone" time. Sometimes, the dynamic of being cooped up with the kids all day is too much, and an hour or so of martial release does the trick to get myself centered again.

Shannon
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Old 08-30-2007, 11:02 PM   #8
Mark Uttech
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Re: how to handle "significant other"/spouse who's not on board

In my experience, aikido did an excellent job of torpedoing my second marriage; but to this day I have no regrets.

In gassho,

Mark

- Right combination works wonders -
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Old 08-30-2007, 11:49 PM   #9
Dan Austin
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Re: how to handle "significant other"/spouse who's not on board

Quote:
Brian Dewey wrote: View Post
I have a serious girlfriend that I'm seriously considering marrying. She's open-minded about my dedication to Aikido (i.e. "boys and their toys" sort of attitude), but is not entirely "on board" with Aikido (or the martial arts in general) being simply more than a hobby like fantasy football.
Well exactly what is Aikido to you? Your reason for living? It's called "compromise". If she is important enough to you to be your wife, then you will have to deal with your interest in Aikido being yours alone. If she loves you enough to allow some compromise, this is good. But it's not a matter of an extreme "if you love me I can do it as much as I like", or the reverse, "if you love me you'll give up that silly Aikido".

As it happens there was a recent Dr. Phil episode on this very topic, and if nothing else Dr. Phil is the master of pithy quips and cutting to the chase. In this case the husband loved to fly planes, and the wife wanted him to stop because she felt it was dangerous. Dr. Phil admitted bias jokingly since he's an avid pilot. The gist was that if flying was a passion, a significant part of who the husband was prior to marriage, it isn't fair to suddenly stop because of the marriage and expect happiness and a lack of friction about it. The husband also has to acknowledge the wife's feelings, and compromise on how often he goes flying, etc.

Same old story you've heard a million times, you can't have your cake and eat it too. Aikido and your potential future wife are both important to you, and if she perceives you value it over her then a) she will be upset and rightfully so, and b) you need to seriously examine your priorities in life if martial arts is more important than a wife!! Expect to scale back your Aikido time and trips to do seminars. You should be willing to volunteer that, but also not feel obligated to stop. You don't want to do so much that she resents it, or so little that you do.

And most important of all, *talk about it before you marry her*. Good luck!
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Old 08-31-2007, 12:30 AM   #10
Anne Fournier
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Re: how to handle "significant other"/spouse who's not on board

Hi Brian

In my humble experience (being married with someone who thinks aikido is not only uninteresting but also 'unfairly' deprives him of my company several hours a week) you made a mistake in suggesting to pack together an aikido seminar and a w-e with her. She wants to make a trip with you on her own - not to share you with aikido (which she probably perceives as a threat, as it takes a significant part of your time). Doesn't matter whether it is 3 hours in a three-day trip. What matters are the symbol and the intention : are you going for aikido or to spend time with her? (yes, i suggest that in her mind there might be a dichotomy like that...)

That's the cardinal rule in my opinion when you're with a partner who doesn't share your interest in aikido : 1/ state precisely what you want - ie. going to an aikido seminar in Michigan - and always DO it, no matter if your partner is reluctant; 2/ suggest a 'romantic' getaway the week-end after, where NO aikido whatsoever is involved (not even a quick peak at the local dojo- no, no, no). Then she'll also know this other thing that you want : being with her and only with her (ie. : not with sweaty guys in white pajamas).

It more or less works in my case (being married for six years ). Strangely enough I sort of believe that my strategy also improved my relationship as I tended to have much more 'special care' for my partner. Oh well...

I hope you find a way for it to work in your case.
Cheers-
Anne.
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Old 08-31-2007, 02:28 AM   #11
dalen7
 
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Re: how to handle "significant other"/spouse who's not on board

Not a problem, she has her interest, you have yours - and she respects yours but doesnt want to get involved...nothing wrong with that.

If you want to go camping, or whatever, try not to do it on an aikido seminar time.

True in a long term relationship you want to know there will be some give and take...like you go to her rock collecting seminar and then camp (just example)

Really up to you...if it bugs you now, more stuff will bug you once you have a legal paper calling you a union.

relationships are a complex matter, so again, only you can make the choice we are but spectators giving advice that wont fit your situation.

Peace

dAlen
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Old 08-31-2007, 03:12 AM   #12
Bronson
 
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Re: how to handle "significant other"/spouse who's not on board

Quote:
Dalen Johnson wrote: View Post
Not a problem, she has her interest, you have yours -
Not necessarily. I work with several guys who have this exact problem with their partners and the common thread is that the partner has no hobbies or interests. Building and maintaining the relationship seems to be their "hobby".

On another note Brian, if you come to Michigan without her you can stop into Seiwa and/or Southside Dojo in Battle Creek and Kalamazoo, respectively. It's not often that we get a traveling Seidokan-er stopping in and we'd love to have you.

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 08-31-2007, 03:22 AM   #13
justin
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Re: how to handle "significant other"/spouse who's not on board

my other half cant wait to kick me out of the door she claims i am like a bear with a sore head when i miss a training session, and loves the mood i am in when i return from the dojo.

She has even helped me through the "i cant be bothered tonight syndrome"
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Old 08-31-2007, 05:26 AM   #14
happysod
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Re: how to handle "significant other"/spouse who's not on board

Real shot in the dark here, but you could try just talking the situation over with her directly rather than asking random internet strangers. But as I'm an incorrigible meddler... put yourself in her position and ask yourself the following - if she had a hobby that not only regularly meant you were missing for hours at a time but which also was starting to look like it may be the deciding factor on where you holidayed what would it take to make you happy with the situation?

Figure out a set of potential compromises in terms of time spent training, number of days away and compare that against your need and desire to train in aikido. Tweak it until you've got a set of possibilities ranging from ideal to grudging (or even to "this won't work) then discuss it with her with under the following assumptions
1. She's an intelligent human being who has your interests at heart as well as her own
2. You honestly want and value her input and the decision is at least 50% hers
3. You're not going to act like a whiny little boy if you don't get your way

Having said that, if you value your aikido over this person, forget all that, present her with a non-negotiable package in a jovial but manly sort of way and then get some extra training in avoidance on your way out the door...
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Old 08-31-2007, 06:11 AM   #15
Daniel Ranger-Holt
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Re: how to handle "significant other"/spouse who's not on board

Strange post. Just have seperate intrests my friend. She doesn't have to be interested in it, thats the beauty of relationships. My lady hates Aikido and martial arts in general. But i don't...its as simple as that. Just dont make it your life, then you'll have a problem. I dont make Aikido my life, so thats why its not a problem. Three times a week, watch a few vids now and then a bit of training at home when i can...doesnt intrude.
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Old 08-31-2007, 08:39 AM   #16
Dewey
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Re: how to handle "significant other"/spouse who's not on board

Wow! Never thought I'd get so many responses in such a short time. I'm glad to know I'm not the only person who has this issue, too. Thanks for all the replies, they were quite helpful.

To clarify: first, I wrote my question after a having nightcap or three, so perhaps it wasn't the most cogent. Apologies. Second, I'm not a seminar junkie, so it's not like this is (or will be) a frequently occurring issue. It's just that there's no legitimate iaijutsu/do in my area (that I know of), the seminar is within driving distance, the cost is reasonable, and it's an excellent opportunity in that this seminar is intended for the novice. Regardless, I'm going anyway.

She's not opposed to my Aikido, nor does she want me to give it up. I realize that relationships are about compromise, and we have both compromised concerning Aikido, just as we have about her hobbies/interests. I suppose my real issue is that I'd like to involve her more in it, and thought that if I asked her to come along to the seminar, it'd demonstrate that she has a place in every part of my life (i.e. Aikido's not my way of "getting away" from her). The whole conversation wasn't a fight, but just my male brain-hatched idea backfiring on me, that's all. Thought she'd say "yes." Instead said, "no." She doesn't mind if I go, she just doesn't want to go.

Quote:
Bronson Diffin wrote: View Post
[cut/edit]
On another note Brian, if you come to Michigan without her you can stop into Seiwa and/or Southside Dojo in Battle Creek and Kalamazoo, respectively. It's not often that we get a traveling Seidokan-er stopping in and we'd love to have you.

Bronson
Thanks for the invite! I'll be heading to Lansing via I-94, but it's too soon for me to tell what my schedule will be (seminar is on Oct. 21st). As date approaches, I'll PM you.
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Old 08-31-2007, 09:34 AM   #17
wildaikido
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Re: how to handle "significant other"/spouse who's not on board

Er guys hardly think about it but remember, women are from venus, and men are from mars.

Quote:
Anne Marie Giri wrote: View Post
You know, some people are just not "into" martial arts. Truth is you want to go an iaijutsu seminar for three days even though the seminar is three hours long and she doesn't want to go to just watch something she is not into. If she is into knitting do you want to go to her special knitting workshops with her?
I would think most of us guys (if we wanted to go away) would say sure, as it is a week end away (hopefully dirty ) and we don't have our partner for 3 hours, in which time we can sleep or drink to prepare for "LATER."

Quote:
Anne Fournier wrote: View Post
In my humble experience (being married with someone who thinks aikido is not only uninteresting but also 'unfairly' deprives him of my company several hours a week) you made a mistake in suggesting to pack together an aikido seminar and a w-e with her. She wants to make a trip with you on her own - not to share you with aikido (which she probably perceives as a threat, as it takes a significant part of your time). Doesn't matter whether it is 3 hours in a three-day trip. What matters are the symbol and the intention : are you going for aikido or to spend time with her? (yes, i suggest that in her mind there might be a dichotomy like that...)
This is the evidence that women think differently to us. We see taking the partner on a trip, with a small Aikido detour, they see Aikido trip.

Regards,

Graham Wild
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Old 08-31-2007, 11:06 AM   #18
odudog
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Re: how to handle "significant other"/spouse who's not on board

This is interesting. Usually, we all hear on the talk shows and such of the ladies complaining that the men won't include them into their activities {football, basketball, poker, etc...}. Here this guy is trying to include his lady into his activity and she declines. It seems to me an all or nothing situation, the whole time has to be dedicated her or she wants no part of it. This also happened to me but my wife wanted to tag along. Unfortunately there was nothing in the area for her to do while I was at the seminar. Luckily for me she understands my addiction to the art and that I also use it as a part of learning about her culture and language. Not to sound to cruel, you can always find another lady who will understand your appreciation of the art if she says it's one or the other. You won't be happy if you chose her over the art for if the desire of the art burns bright in you, then it won't go away and you will be miserable which doesn't go well with a happy marriage. Good luck!
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Old 08-31-2007, 11:44 AM   #19
Jess McDonald
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Re: how to handle "significant other"/spouse who's not on board

My husband doesn't seem to give a crap whether I go to class or not...hmmm...I wonder what THAT means? Man, now you got me all thinking like a chick...making a mountain out of a mole hill. (us girls are pretty good at that; it's like a specialty or something)
Seriously, do you really even want her to come? I think part of a healthy marriage or friendship is to have totally separate things that the other doesn't partake in. me-aikido/gym...him-computers/electronics. I could give a rat's ass about his electronic fever and I think that's just fine. Don't get me wrong we don't diss on each other's hobbies but we understand them. These couples that do everything together (work,play etc.)...I just don't get. Anyway...LATE!!!
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Old 08-31-2007, 11:46 AM   #20
Dan Austin
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Re: how to handle "significant other"/spouse who's not on board

Quote:
Brian Dewey wrote: View Post
It's just that there's no legitimate iaijutsu/do in my area (that I know of), the seminar is within driving distance, the cost is reasonable, and it's an excellent opportunity in that this seminar is intended for the novice. Regardless, I'm going anyway.
Uh-oh, sounds like trouble.

She may just be totally disinterested in Aikido, which is fine. As long as she understands you were trying to include her, and she's OK with negotiating time spent on it, no worries. While we're all doing armchair analysis at a distance though, it's a little bit of a concern that you're not married yet and she wouldn't want to accompany you just to spend some time traveling. Usually people display the most interest in each other in the courting phase. So while you can't expect her to start liking Aikido, it's understandable that her reticence to show support and interest in *your* interest (not the Aikido itself, but the fact that you are passionate about it) would give you pause. In other words it's not about Aikido per se, but the fact that she's evidently not going out of her way to show her interest in what drives you. But, it's your situation and impossible to read from here. On the plus side she's honest, instead of faking interest now and then telling you what she really thinks after she gets a ring.
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Old 08-31-2007, 12:32 PM   #21
James Davis
 
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Re: how to handle "significant other"/spouse who's not on board

Quote:
Brian Dewey wrote: View Post
She's not opposed to my Aikido, nor does she want me to give it up. I realize that relationships are about compromise, and we have both compromised concerning Aikido, just as we have about her hobbies/interests. I suppose my real issue is that I'd like to involve her more in it, and thought that if I asked her to come along to the seminar, it'd demonstrate that she has a place in every part of my life (i.e. Aikido's not my way of "getting away" from her). The whole conversation wasn't a fight, but just my male brain-hatched idea backfiring on me, that's all. Thought she'd say "yes." Instead said, "no." She doesn't mind if I go, she just doesn't want to go.
My friend's little sister left for college before I started training in aikido, and was pleasantly surprised at the changed person that I was upon her return. She wouldn't have married the guy that I was nine years ago, but aikido changed me for the better. She's perfectly aware of how much aikido means to me, and that I have no intention of ever quitting. She's seen the positive changes that it's brought about in me, and she supports my decision to stick with it and share it with others, including our children.

But the fact remains, that she doesn't want to do it. She just has other stuff. That's it.

Sometimes, it's hard to understand why someone would skip something that I believe to be so wonderful. I suppose that the people to whom I offer the chance to train just aren't ready yet.

I'll keep the door open, though.

"The only difference between Congress and drunken sailors is that drunken sailors spend their own money." -Tom Feeney, representative from Florida
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Old 08-31-2007, 12:45 PM   #22
philippe willaume
 
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Re: how to handle "significant other"/spouse who's not on board

Quote:
Brian Dewey wrote: View Post
Hopefully I'm not posting in the dark here:

Anybody who struggles with a "significant other" and/or spouse who's not entirely onboard with your dedication to Aikido?

Real life scenario:

I have a serious girlfriend that I'm seriously considering marrying. She's open-minded about my dedication to Aikido (i.e. "boys and their toys" sort of attitude), but is not entirely "on board" with Aikido (or the martial arts in general) being simply more than a hobby like fantasy football.

When I asked her this afternoon if she wanted to accompny me to a iaijutsu seminar in Michigan (i.e. I packaged it as a roadtrip for both of us to see a part of the country neither of us have been to), she turned me down cold. Even after I told her that the seminar itself would last only 3 hours. The rest of our weekend would be sightseeing.

Anybody else with a similar sort of situation? Any advice is welcome.
You mean that she is not with you because she likes to go somewhere to stare at the empty place you should have been whilst dumping her to train?

you know the good old day of do as you are told woman are gone, so welcome to the snake and ladder game of life mate.

You see wife/girlfriend tend to see that kind of idea as a blatant declaration that she comes second after aikido.
For a gender that keep pestering us on how they are good at multitasking, they seem to be totally hermetic to the concept that one can do several things that he likes on a given week.

A ratio of week end martial art = a week with here somewhere should make a happy and fluffy again. And she will go to seminar once and while.

I know what I am talking about I have been married for 10 years to a Swedish woman, and I train 4 time a week and joust in the week end… But all that is an improvement I used to train much more when we meet….
That being said, I do the washing up every day, I cook, and clean the bathroom every week and the house relatively often. And I cut down on the pub after training once and while. (And I am still shit at the A ratio of week end martial art/joust = a week with here somewhere)

In summary get brownie points in advance for when you hit a snake…and basically do not talk to us, talk to her. (And not joke about coming and second, that will go down as a tone of brick)

Phil
Shihan in relationship self defence.

One Ringeck to bring them all and in darkness bind them,
In the Land of Windsor where phlip phlop live.
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Old 08-31-2007, 01:29 PM   #23
phitruong
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Re: how to handle "significant other"/spouse who's not on board

It's ok if you asked and she turned you down. The mistake would be assuming that she would turn you down and not ask. I found that ladies like to have the chance to say "no". Deprived her of that chance at your own risk, because there is no ukemi known to man to be able to handle her technique. Well maybe with chocolate, champagne, bubble bath, follow with foot massage might get you out of trouble.

Remember that it is all about

timing (wait until she's in happy mood)
distance (be in a non-extradite country if she is mad)
appropriate amount of applied energy (chocolate, champagne, bubble bath, foot massage)

and most of all, noticed all non-obstructed exits.
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Old 08-31-2007, 03:22 PM   #24
barron
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Re: how to handle "significant other"/spouse who's not on board

My wife has seen me in action (on the mat !!!!) twice in the last 7 years. She does not enjoy/appreciate Aikido. I watch her play soccer and squash , but I am interested in these sports. I give her her time , she gives me mine.

Aikido isn't for everyone.

Cheers

Andrew Barron
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Old 08-31-2007, 04:12 PM   #25
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: how to handle "significant other"/spouse who's not on board

wow.
that is a big question and there is so much to relationships. I've been in the well and in the stream in my relationships during my aikido life. My previous partner, who I am no longer with in the same respect, although I do consider him to be my very best friend ever, was on another spiritual path when we met (maybe the same path as you were before, Brian) and he veered into my life and into aikido in exchange for that path at the time. He was the best friend I have ever had (did I already say that) and my relationship with him was a reflection of my training completely. He was amazing, fun, centered, loving, spiritual, kind, strong, a good balance of masculine power and feminine receptivity and he was youthful. My training has changed nd matured since that relationship and so have I. In some respects I believe I coud have stayed with him my entire life and I woud have been very happy doing so. In another respect I see the wisdom in looking out toward the horizon and envisioning the ways, based on previous maturing, that I might change and mature in the future. Knowing myself now, I'm not sure I could have integrated the development I've experienced into that previous relationship. I don't know if I would have grown in the ways I have had I stayed. It isn't absolute, but it is a reflection.
My aiki path is the truest path I know. It sets the tone and stage for everything else. I no longer look at whether people will spend time with me at the dojo, but whether they can spend time with me in my practice within, as it effects everything on the outside. That is the question I'm asking myself in the face of a new relationship with a person who is himself an athlete, but not an aikido practicioner. What is the harmony (Wa) life expectancy of this model? For my part, I'm feeling positive.

I know you'll find a way to make these questions more accessible to your own wisdom. The answers are in your practice.
Good luck brother!
Lots of love to you,
jen smith

Last edited by jennifer paige smith : 08-31-2007 at 04:18 PM.

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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