Marriage is the bringing together of two very different people in the attempt at creating what the Bible calls “one flesh”. There in, however, lies the challenge that keeps many marriages from thriving.
If you are a parent of multiple children, then you know how different your children are, even when raised in the same house with the same parents. How much more so the blending of two people from different family backgrounds and life experiences, that also happens to be anatomically different. Marriage is tough many times because of those differences.
One very simple practice (at least in theory) that will dramatically improve the communication and working relationship between a couple, is when the man and woman begin to give credit for who the other person is, who they are wired to be. When the differences are understood and valued rather than criticized and battled, the marriage is strengthened rather than hindered by those differences.
One example in my marriage is that I will never be as deeply emotional about life as Cheryl is. I can wish that I were, Cheryl can pray that I will be, but most likely Cheryl is always going to be the more emotional one of us. In the same way, Cheryl will most likely never see life from the rational perspective that I see it. I can get frustrated about it, try to force reality on her, but when she is emotional about an issue, she is not likely to see the black and white of life that I see. While this is challenging in building the relationship and often causes conflict, if we allow those differences to balance us rather than separate us, the differences have proven countless times to be a blessing to our marriage.
This does not mean that the person, for instance, that is intentionally hurtful should continue to be hurtful without attempting to change, but it does mean that the core being of who we are should be taken into consideration in building a healthy relationship. When differences are appreciated rather than fought against, it improves communication, limits tension, and strengthens the relationship. You will likely spend a lifetime together continuing to explore differences…make the journey fun rather than disruptive.
What are some ways you and your spouse are different? What are some ways you can make those differences work for your marriage rather than against it?
Share some of what you’ve learned here so we can learn from your experience.