Sharing Common Interests as Newlyweds
Myrtle Alegado: So you just got married and you’re basking in the giddiness of newlywed bliss. But have you thought about how to build that connection even more with your spouse?
In our last episode, we talked to a couple from Vista. Now let’s travel a few hours north on the I-5 and meet another California couple to discuss the importance of sharing common interests as newlyweds.
Welcome to Happy Life, a podcast brought to you by INC Media Audio that aims to help newlyweds navigate through the first years of marriage. I’m your host, Myrtle Alegado, and I’ve been married to my husband, Paul, since 1999. Later, we’ll hear some Bible-based advice through Brother Felmar Serreno, a minister of the gospel in the Church Of Christ.
Inspiration to make your marriage thrive, you’re listening to Happy Life.
Myrtle: On Happy Life today, I’d like to welcome Jasmine and Darryl and they’re from Oakland, California. They’ve been married since April of 2019.
Hey there, Darryl and Jasmine! We’re so glad you were able to join us today.
Jasmine San Pedro: Hi, thank you so much for having us.
Darryl San Pedro: Thanks for having us today.
Myrtle: So, you know, tell us a little bit about what life is like right now in the Bay Area.
Darryl: Gas prices are kind of crazy, but the weather’s fine.
Myrtle: Well, send some of that warmth up here to Vancouver please. [laughs]
So you know, if you can, tell us a little bit about yourselves and how you two met and then became husband and wife.
Darryl: Yeah, so we met in college. We went to UC (University of California) Berkeley together and we met there at a theater production.
Myrtle: So how many years were you just friends?
Jasmine: Um, since 2012.
Darryl: Yeah, I want to say 2012.
Jasmine: 2012, yeah.
Myrtle: Oh okay, so that was a pretty good, you know, three years of building that friendship before it became something more.
So Darryl, you mentioned you were both in theater production. Was that the common interest that brought you together?
Darryl: Yeah, we shared a passion for performing and that was actually what formed the basis of our initial friendship.
Jasmine: Yeah, it was really easy to talk to each other because we liked a lot of the same things and, you know, just have a love for music and theater.
Myrtle: And, you know, as someone who can’t act or sing, I find it so amazing that you’re both talented in those areas, so. You know, what do you love about having this common love for the arts?
Jasmine: Yeah, I mean, in a sense, we kind of speak the same language. Much of our life is shared, so we’ve really become in tune, pun intended, with each other.
There’s really a lot of work that is needed to be done with, like, your bandmates, or your castmates, when you’re in the creative space. So for me and Darryl, a lot of the time, we don’t even need to say a word to each other, and we learned to communicate with each other in that way, which is pretty cool. And I really just love the amount of time we get to spend with each other when we’re doing these types of projects.
Myrtle: Yeah, it’s funny when you hear couples say, he can understand me with just a look. I guess, you know, that’s pretty true for the two of you. What are, you know, some of the favorite things that you’ve worked on together?
Darryl: I would say our very first performance together will always hold a special place in my heart. I mean, essentially, that was when we met.
And I do enjoy reminiscing and laughing about some of our earlier shows and gigs in college. I can still vividly remember how, you know, we weren’t very polished and not always in sync back then. We’re still not very polished but, you know, at least we’re not polished together now in a sense. [laughs]
If I were to pick a favorite performance, it would also be the celebration of the Church Of Christ’s 50th anniversary in the West. We had just gotten engaged and I feel like performing in that event, and just being surrounded by so many people with really high levels of faith, helped us to grow in our faith individually. And you know, what we learned in that production really strengthened our foundation for our marriage.
Myrtle: You mentioned that what you learned in the production strengthened the foundation of your marriage. So what did you learn exactly during the production?
Darryl: Yeah, I mean, we definitely learned how to really trust in God when it comes to the process, you know. And we also kind of learned how to support each other especially, you know, in stressful times, yeah.
Jasmine: We also learned to be very patient. We had a lot of long nights and late nights preparing for that event. So that was, learning patience was definitely good for our marriage.
Myrtle: Oh yeah, those are great qualities to learn early on in your relationship.
Darryl, you mentioned that you had just gotten engaged. Do you mind sharing a little bit about your proposal?
Darryl: Yeah. Actually, the theater where we did our first production together, I was able to propose on that very stage. So, I was trying to think of what would be the perfect place for us to do that, and I was able to, you know, pull some strings with some friend who worked at that theater and decorated it with some of our memories and proposed on that stage.
Myrtle: Oh, wow.
Jasmine: Yeah, it felt like it went full circle.
Myrtle: That would definitely be a memorable place for your engagement to happen. Let’s go back to you, Jasmine, your favorite performance that you’ve done together.
Jasmine: Yeah, I would say my favorite performance we’ve ever had the privilege to be a part of was the play called ‘Steadfast’ and it was for the INCenterstage (the stage production platform in the Church Of Christ) in the District of Northwest California. The auditions were actually on the day of our wedding. So, we recorded our virtual auditions the day before in the hotel where we were, like, prepping, and we sent the videos in on the day of our wedding. And we were blessed to be casted in roles of husband and wife in the play.
And in the play, our characters went through like these different life challenges alongside their son, and they got through it as a family by prayer and with God’s guidance. And our entire first month of marriage was pretty much spent on that production, and I felt like we were acting out what the rest of our lives would essentially be like.
Myrtle: Oh, wow. And I have to say, the fact that you auditioned the day before your wedding and sent in the video auditions just shows how much, you know, the love of performing means to you both. Those two occasions must have been incredible and I was actually at INC50West in Sacramento. And I applaud all the performers on that day because it was absolutely amazing and incredible.
I’d just like to share something I read on www.psychologytoday.com from Dr. Stephen Betchan. He said that it’s not just hobbies that should be considered as interests. A Pew Research in 2016 found that: “44% of adults surveyed said that shared religious beliefs are important for a successful marriage.”
Now going back to your shared passion, what do you find attractive about your spouse when they’re in their “creative zone?”
Darryl: Jasmine can get pretty scary and intense when she’s in her zone. Like when she’s songwriting, I know I can’t talk until she’s done. She always puts her all into whatever she’s working on. I also really liked that she sets the highest standards for herself. Like she pretty much won’t stop until it’s perfect.
That amount of drive has always been something I admired about her. And it also extends to other facets of our lives, not just the creative part.
Myrtle: Okay, but on a scale of 1 to 10, how scary is she when, you know, she’s in her zone?
Darryl: I would say like 12.
Myrtle: Uh oh
Jasmine: I’m not that scary. No! [laughs]
Myrtle: How about you Jasmine? When Daryl’s in his creative zone, what do you find attractive?
Jasmine: You know, sometimes it’s a little bit hard to fully appreciate the other’s talent or artistic choices when we’re performing together, because sometimes we’re so focused on our own self. But when Darryl is like playing in a band without me, or acting in a scene that I’m not in, or if he’s even just playing on the guitar or the piano at home, while I’m like scrolling on my phone in the other room, sometimes I’m taken aback and I’m just like, “Wow, that’s my husband!” I mean, I know the amount of work and practice it took for him to get to that point. So that perseverance is definitely attractive, and of course I love seeing him have fun.
Myrtle: So, Darryl, did you know that she secretly thinks that to herself when she watches you?
Darryl: No, I always thought that she just wasn’t paying attention. [laughs]
Myrtle: So, as creative as you two are together, and when those creative juices are flowing and you’re playing off of each other, are there times when you want to perhaps delve into your own creative space and just focus on that?
Jasmine: Oh, we’re getting candid. I would say sometimes, yeah. But it’s not so much that we don’t want to spend time with each other. It’s more that there’s nothing to really talk about. You know what I mean?
Darryl: I know what you’re trying to say. So, essentially, I think what she’s trying to say is that we’ll enjoy each other’s presence and maybe it’s silent but we’re working on our own things together. So for example, Jasmine might be working on a sewing project while I’m reading a book or playing guitar. Sometimes it’ll be like 3 hours of straight silence, you know, and then the 3 hours are up and then we kind of look up from what we’ve been doing and we’re like, “Oh yeah, you’re here.”
Jasmine: Nooo, I mean…..
Darryl: But it’s also, like, in those moments we’re still enjoying being together while still doing our own thing, if that makes sense.
Jasmine: Yeah, I mean, we’re both very creative people, and sometimes it’s creative in different ways. You know, whether it’s sewing and he’s reading or, you know, he’s doing something else. So, I think it’s also important that even though there are parts of our creative space that don’t overlap, that we still make time for that.
Myrtle: Well you know, in your opinion, how important is it for newlywed couples to have a common interest or hobby together?
Darryl: I think it’s essential. You know, with marriage, you’re merging your two worlds and like if you imagine the two of you and your lives as different circles in a Venn diagram, sharing fun hobbies, passions, interests—I feel like it really helps solidify that center portion, you know, when it overlaps?
Jasmine: Yeah, I mean, life as a newlywed is already so chaotic, and you have to learn how to allocate your time for yourself versus time for each other. And having a shared interest, it helps you work on yourself and your relationship at the same time.
Myrtle: What other hobbies or interests of your spouse did you adopt or try together in the first year of marriage?
Jasmine: Well, I have always loved music, but I’ve never been a huge fan of jazz music, which that’s Darryl’s jam. I ended up learning about all these like different jazz musicians, jazz standards, music theory, because, you know, that’s something that he was passionate about.
He’s also weirdly very passionate about his coffee and I learned a lot of the different brewing styles and the different notes in the coffee that I never knew existed. And yeah, we even go out to small coffee shops everywhere we go now.
Darryl: Yeah the funny thing is, for me, I always used to hate shopping. [laughs]
Myrtle: Typical, typical husband, hates shopping. [laughs]
Darryl: But Jasmine introduced me to thrift shopping and she’s pretty much a pro with that. With her, it feels more like a treasure hunt rather than like a regular shopping trip. And it’s something we do at least once a week now, and I’ve learned to really enjoy the hunt too.
Myrtle: But did you truly adopt the hobbies as your own or you just wanted to join in and spend some time with your spouse to strengthen your relationship as a newlywed couple?
Jasmine: I mean with the jazz and the coffee, some of it I learned passively just because I was constantly exposed to it, but some of it I learned intentionally. I kind of wanted to understand why Darryl would get so excited about certain things. I feel like I just didn’t want to get left out.
Darryl: Yeah, thrift shopping was just to spend time together at first. I was like okay, “I’ll try it, see what happens.” But then I learned to love it myself. Like I still don’t have the same amount of patience and stamina that she has while we’re in the thrift store, right? But Jasmine can stay in the store for hours and go to multiple stores in one day, but now we usually have to go get some coffee before we go thrift shopping. That helps.
Myrtle: Ah, so you combine both interests on, you know, one little trip so that’s kind of awesome.
At this point in the discussion, I’d like to turn to what the Bible has to say about how to strengthen the bonds of marriage. Here with us again is a minister of the gospel in the Church Of Christ, Brother Felmar Serreno. Hi again, Brother Felmar. How are you today?
Brother Felmar Serreno: Hi, Myrtle. Hi everybody. I’m doing well, thank you, and I was just enjoying how Jasmine and Darryl described how they learned to like each other’s hobbies or interests. And it brought to my mind a Bible verse that I’d like to share with everyone today. It’s found here in the book of Ecclesiastes, chapter four, the verses are nine to 11. Here in the New International Version, I quote the following:
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?
[Ecclesiastes 4:9-11 New International Version]
Brother Felmar: So what can we gain from this Bible verse? Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. So the Bible is teaching us that much can be achieved when two or more cooperate. But since our podcast is about marriage, so in our discussion we’ll stick to two—husband and wife.
What else do we learn from the Bible based on the verse we read? We learned that two can help each other up, and two can help each other keep warm. Now how can this truth help our marriage? So let’s always be supportive of our spouse. Let’s be sensitive to our spouse’s interests. As long as the idea, or proposed new hobby, or dream is not against the will of God, why not do your genuine best to support your spouse? Wouldn’t you agree, Darryl and Jasmine?
Jasmine: Oh, yes, for sure.
Darryl: Yes, definitely.
Brother Felmar: That’s why I mentioned earlier that I really enjoyed listening to you two describe how you both made the effort to learn about each other’s passions or hobbies. Because Jasmine could have been like, ‘I like music, but I don’t like jazz. Live with it.’ Or Daryl could have said, ‘I hate shopping, so don’t even try to convince me.’
But think about it, everybody. That’s not a very warm way to react to something that your spouse enjoys doing. In fact, it’s quite cold. Also stopping your spouse in his or her tracks, when your spouse is trying to express to you about a passion or hobby that he or she has, well there is no additional warmth or positive connection that the relationship gains from that.
At the very least, why not show your spouse your sincere support for their interest by giving it a chance or trying it out, rather than just saying ‘no’ right off the bat. Speaking of saying no, who all the more should we not reject, especially when we are being called for a higher purpose? Let’s listen to what Apostle Peter wrote to the members of the Church Of Christ, here in the book of I Peter, chapter four, the verse is 10. We’ll stay here in the New International Version. First Peter, chapter four, the verse is ten. I quote the following:
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
[I Peter 4:10 New International Version]
Brother Felmar: What did Apostle Paul encourage all members of the Church Of Christ to do? To use whatever gift we have received from God to serve others. Isn’t that the same message we receive in the Church of Christ today through our Church Administration? That’s why at times, right, our resident minister, or local head deacon, or maybe one of the youth group officers, approach us, approach brethren, to do what? To invite us to hold a duty inside the Church so that we can use our God-given talent to serve or help others.
And Darryl and Jasmine are great examples of this. They’re gifted in music and the performing arts. But not only have they allowed their talents to benefit their relationship, but they have allowed their talents to be of service to the Church and our brethren, through events like the 50th Anniversary in the West, INCenter stage and the like.
Well, what if others are asking, “Well, me and my spouse, we’re not musically inclined.” That’s okay. We all have different strengths. Like those of us who are good with numbers, take up a duty in the finance department; those of us who are keen on data processing, join the secretariat; the tech savvy amongst us, take an office in the TSV (Technical Support for Videostreaming) or the district multimedia bureau.
The point is, if we are being called by God to hold a duty in the Church, to use those strengths or talents He gave us, let us not refuse God. So, let’s support our spouse in taking up a duty. Even better, if both husband and wife take up Church offices, for not only are we supporting each other and helping each other grow in faith but we are also, as a married couple together, helping the Church and being of service to others.
Myrtle: Those were great Bible verses, Brother Felmar, and we thank you so much for sharing them and those words of advice with all of us and our Happy Life listeners.
Brother Felmar: Well, like we learned, we are here to help each other, to be of service to each other, so that’s always a blessing, that’s always a wonderful privilege to do. So, thank you again to everybody and see you next time.
Myrtle: So, Darryl and Jasmine, how has your common interest or passion helped you in your faith and in your services to God?
Jasmine: Well, first of all, we’re so thankful that the Church Administration has allowed so many projects and initiatives within the creative space. We’ve had so many opportunities to partake in these projects and, you know, help grow and share our faith. And I’d say we really try to be good examples for the youth and, you know, show them how you can connect your passion to your faith.
Myrtle: Absolutely! The creativity and talent of Church Of Christ members all over the world, it’s incredible. And just seeing, you know, the INCMVs (Iglesia Ni Cristo/Church of Christ christian music videos) and other projects that are out there; the INCinemas (the film production platform of the Church Of Christ), and you know INCenterstage, all those things. Those are all amazing platforms for performers.
What would your advice be to newlyweds who are trying to find a hobby or activity to do together?
Darryl: I would say to have an open mind. Because if your spouse is excited about something, even if you’re not super excited about it initially, at the very least you’ll enjoy spending the time just doing something that they enjoy. And then eventually you might find that you grow to love yourself.
Jasmine: Or you might also grow to both hate activity and bond over that. But I’d say start small. Your shared passion or hobby doesn’t necessarily need to be anything big like an elaborate play or production. I don’t know, try board games, karaoke, painting, running even. But like Darryl said, it’s about the time spent, not necessarily the activity.
Myrtle: Well, personally, I’m passing on the running but everything else… [laughs]
Darryl: We pass on the running too. [laughs]
Myrtle: But are there any other possible hobbies or interests that you want to delve into together now?
Darryl: We’re getting older, so we do want to get more involved in healthier habits like cooking and exercising. And of course, everyone reminds us that we’re not getting any younger, so we should want to be in the best shape when we’re starting to have kids.
Jasmine: Oh, yeah, I’m not the most active person. So, even if it’s not something I’m particularly passionate about, I definitely do think we need to start working on building healthier habits. My older sister actually just got married and she and her husband are like #fitspo, #ironchef. They’re always sharing their workouts and their meals in our family chats, and they’re a huge inspiration for us.
Myrtle: For, you know, couples who might not understand yet, how would you describe how this common passion enhances your marriage and love for one another?
Jasmine: Yeah, so I would say imagine all the things that you would do with perhaps your best friend or your siblings that you just really genuinely enjoy. And imagine that—but exponentially better. I feel like sharing an interest or passion together is like having another love language, essentially. And in fact, it pretty much covers all of the other five love languages. It really just gives you, as a couple, more opportunities to express your love for each other.
Darryl: Yeah and because we are both so passionate about music, there are some times when we are very strongly opinionated about certain things, and sometimes our opinions do clash. So for example, like, deciding what genre a song should be, or I want this melody to go up versus she wants this melody to go down, and sometimes neither of us wants to budge. But we always find some kind of solution or compromise, and many times what we end up with is better than what either of us individually wanted to do in the first place.
When we are facing challenges in finding success, we make it a point to be prayerful. You know, if we feel stuck, we acknowledge that we don’t know everything and that God will help us on our path. Even before we got married, we would have our own devotional prayer and, you know, we would always ask God to guide us so that any decisions we make would not compromise our faith or our duties.
Myrtle: Well, definitely turning to God in prayer to ask for help in the challenging times and even to thank Him for the successes is integral I’d say.
What are your future goals together to further your love for the performing arts?
Darryl: Well, while we don’t yet have any kids, we do want to work on some original music. Even if it’s not to, like, put it out into the world, it would be nice to just have a somewhat tangible form of our art.
Jasmine: Yeah, it would be super special to be able to share this with our kids one day.
Myrtle: Absolutely, I think it’s a great idea! And I can’t wait to hear you know when your album drops. [laughs]
Well, Darryl, Jasmine, thanks so much for sharing your experiences with us today and for also sharing your love for music and the arts.
Jasmine: Thank you so much for having us.
Darryl: Thanks for having us.
Myrtle: Well, keep being creative over there in Oakland.
Deepening the love and bond you have with your spouse is something all newlyweds should strive for. Finding activities and hobbies to bring you closer as a newlywed couple can go a long way in helping to achieve that.
If I may share, when I first became a newlywed, I couldn’t understand my husband’s love for golf. But I finally gave in one day, and I joined him on the course. Lo and behold, now it’s become something we love to do together!
So, hopefully we’ve given you some inspiration to talk to your husband or wife to suggest a new hobby to try, or even to maybe just get back to an interest you already share together but haven’t had time for. Make that time and build some memories together!
That brings us to the end of our discussion today! To learn more about Christian relationships please visit www.incmedia.org. If you’d like to say hi, send us a question, or see who our newlywed guests are, you can visit our Instagram account @happylife.podcast.
Please also remember to share our podcast with your family and friends and all the newlyweds that you know!
Thank you from all of us here on the Happy Life team. We’re so glad you joined us today, and hope we’ve all been reminded about the blessing of marriage.