One of the biggest mistakes I see made in marriage, and one my own marriage suffers from at times is:
…forgetting that men and women are not made the same way.
I was reminded of that fact again this morning by reading the story of a man in the Bible named Elkanah and his wife Hannah. (1 Samuel 1) Hannah had been unable to have children and it was the deepest pain in her life. (I wrote previously about that pain HERE.) Every year (and perhaps every day) Hannah would go to God begging for a child. God eventually blessed Hannah with a son, but in the midst of that story is one of the saddest, but funniest verses in the Bible (my opinion). It certainly illustrates the great difference that exists between most men and women. Here is the verse:
Elkanah her husband would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?” (1 Samuel 1:8)
Do you see the mistake? Elkanah could never fully comprehend the depth of Hannah’s emotions. To him, life was good the way it was. He had other children through another wife and he and Hannah were free just to be happy with each other. He couldn’t sense the depth of pain that was in Hannah’s heart. To him it made sense that as a couple they were enough. Hannah, I suspect, could never fully comprehend how insensitive Elkanah seemed to be.
Therein lies what I believe to be one of the largest mistake men and women make in a marriage. Whenever I believe Cheryl completely identifies with me or I completely identify with her, we are bound to run into some conflict. I will never understand the depth of emotions Cheryl is capable of producing and she will never understand the shallowness of emotions I am capable of maintaining. Neither of us is right or wrong, we are just different, and as I look at the situations we have handled together in life, I see why God allowed the uniqueness in each of us. To make our marriage strong, I must be careful never to place expectations on Cheryl for her to be like me and she must do the same with me. I have to learn to be more sensitive of her sensitivity and she has to learn to be more patient with my insensitivity.
This is just one issue among many where Cheryl and I are different, which makes marriage a consistent challenge. With awareness, communication, commitment and a willingness to humble ourselves and give grace to each other, we can allow our differences to work for the betterment of our marriage, not to the detriment.
In what ways are you different from your spouse? How do you see those differences working for the good of your marriage?
For more thoughts on marriage click HERE.