Readers–How Do You Cope With a “Mixed Marriage”?

I’m not talking about mixed religion, not even mixed race or nationality.  Then what?   I’m talking about readers who marry non-readers. Can there be any bigger divide!

I love to read.  I read a lot, always have and, God willing, always will.  I read on a wide variety of subjects and genres.  I was the kid who read the backs of the cereal boxes as I ate my cold cereal before school. When it came time to give a book report (which I hated doing–it ruined the book), I had to decide which of the many books I’d recently read that I would do the report on.

I never read while driving a car, nor can I read while riding in one–motion sickness.  I must confess that I sometimes read in the bathroom. I read magazines in waiting rooms.  While I was still working and earning a regular income, I subscribed to about 10-15 different magazines.  As soon as one would come, I would sit down and devour it in about half an hour to forty-five minutes, depending.  Much of my spending money went to buy books.  When I received a Kindle for Mother’s Day a few years ago, I found another reading medium! (Now that I have a Kindle, I buy many fewer books, but I don’t read any less.)  Reading was and is a daily constant in my life.

So what’s the problem?

My DH (Dear Husband) is not a reader.  Oh, he reads a little, but he feels that fiction is a waste of time.  He rarely reads anything but nonfiction, mostly devotion-type books.  And that, Dear Reader, brings me to my problem.  Don’t get me wrong.  My DH is a good man, but since he doesn’t read, he has a non-reader mindset.  He thinks buying books is a waste of money and reading them is a waste of time.  (Strangely enough, he is fine with my WRITING books.)  He complains that I read too much and spend too much money on books/magazines.   Now sometimes I can just let all this scolding slide off my back, but sometimes it gets to me.  So, I’m asking you readers out there who are married to non-readers.

What are your methods for coping with the great reading divide?




About Sue

From the time, as a young girl, when Sue read the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, she was hooked on fantasy. She loves to read fiction and write within many genres, but she always winds up going back to fantasy. For years she has had fantasy stories spinning around in her head and now that she is retired from many years of teaching, she is putting those stories into book form. She has many interests, including quilting and playing the mountain dulcimer, but writing is the most satisfying of all. Sue lives in the great state of Maine with her husband of 38 years. She has been a factory worker, a waitress, a librarian, and a teacher. Her biggest job was being a mother and she has three grown children. Now that she is a grandmother, she is enjoying that role immensely.

Posted on March 19, 2014, in Authors - Sue Santore, misc and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I’m nearly in the same boat. My husband mostly reads non-fiction if he has the time to read at all. And my father has told me a couple of times that buying books is a waste of resources. I never let it bother me. Non-readers will not understand regardless what you do. Just sit through the tirade and get a new book.

    BTW, my father changed his opinion when he started reading my books. He’s still not big on fiction but at least he dropped the attitude. And my husband at least understands my need to read although he just doesn’t get the fiction angle. But with the knowledge he accumulated reading non-fiction so much, he’s a good starting point for any research I need to do. 😉

  2. Oh you poor things. Luckily my DH is an avid reader as well, as was my father and my mum but my kids (adults now with their own families) seem to have missed that gene and would rather watch the telly!

  3. The first time I entered the apartment of the young lady who would become my lovely wife, I instantly spotted books that I had read in college on her bookcase. Medieval history, philosophy: I turned to look up at her (stairs down to a basement apartment) and I said “Let’s elope”. We laughed but it was another brick in the wall of my forming good opinion of her.
    Dorie doesn’t get the time to read as much as she would like, and neither do I anymore. But the very idea… “waste of resources”? That would be one good way to get your face slapped off around my house. (Genna is an avid reader, praise God for peace in the home-school!) Mostly Dorie studies the bible, and I’m sorry to say she’s read up on health topics to the point where doctors ask where she went to med school. I wish she had time to proof my tales because I know she would have a very valuable perspective.
    I think we need to make a space in our attitude for “video”. Yeah, it’s NOT reading, no question there- but a person who takes in movies or follows a TV show is addicted to narrative in the same way that readers are. We all have our preferences, and that’s fine. But raise your hand if you wouldn’t want to see your book made into a major motion picture, or else have a seat.

    Persevere Sue. He likes YOU, and that’s what matters!

  4. Lucky you, Will!

    Cat, I love your advice: “Just sit through the tirade and get a new book.”

    Fortunately, all three of our children developed a strong reading habit early on, they were very receptive to the idea of buying me books for birthdays and Christmas presents.

    As to my DH, he does have many good qualities, so he’s a keeper, despite his lack of understanding the reading mentality. 🙂

  5. Since he’s fine with you WRITING books, tell him your purchases are a business expense – you have to keep up in your field of endeavor *lol* (Can you tell I’m married to a CPA?)

  6. LOL, Debbie. A business expense—that’s it!

  7. Aren’t you supposed to find out you’re dating a non-reader before you get married? That was a dealbreaker for me. I’m a reader, and I wasn’t willing to marry a non-reader.

    • The thing is that if two people are so different in their desire to read, to get engrossed in good stories, they are often not really compatible in other areas too. While I wouldn’t ditch someone who doesn’t read just for this reason, often I found that there were other issued I had for not liking that person much.

  8. Yeah, Matthew, that would be the ideal situation, but at the time I really didn’t know he didn’t read. It is annoying at times, but I’ve lived with him for forty years, so I think I’ll last ten or so more. At our age, that may be all we have left!

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