There are great benefits in encouraging your partner to pursue his or her own interests, whether it involves studying the ancient Greeks or learning how to para-glide. There is nothing more loving and irresistibly attractive than having someone support you and believe in your endeavors and efforts.
Encouragement also promotes a desire to reciprocate. When your partner encourages you to pursue your interests, you’ll want him or her to pursue his or hers, whether it’s hiking or exploring petroglyphs.
Feeling threatened by your partner’s growth and education is usually based on a fear that your partner will grow beyond you. Rather than discouraging your partner, use that fear to push yourself to improve and grow.
When you encourage your partner to pursue his or her passions, it enriches both of your lives. Taking on challenges builds a healthy confidence and vitality. Wouldn’t you rather be with someone with enthusiasm for learning—someone like Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who once said, “I have two passions: space exploration and hip hop,” than with someone who’s waiting for you at home weary and apathetic?
by Alison Poulsen, PhD