I talk to a lot of couples who are dating or engaged. Often I hear the same lines from many of them: “We are so much alike.” “We like all the same things.” This is usually good and is probably one of the things that has attracted them to each other. We need to have things in common if we are going to make a marriage work.
But what about differences? In every relationship they are there. We just don’t see them, or we minimize them, or we think they will disappear after we get married. The truth is that we all have our differences. We are not alike. We can like the same things, but we are different. The idea is not to try and marry someone who is just like you. First, that will never happen. Second, it would really be pretty boring. Differences are a part of life. The key in marriage is how we handle our differences!
We have two choices. We can let our differences pull us apart and allow them to be the source of conflict, or we can embrace our differences. I happen to believe that God made us all unique and different and it is those differences that make a marriage truly unique. My wife, Nancy, and I have a lot in common—especially after forty-plus years together. But we also have a lot of differences. Unfortunately, we spent too many years early on in our marriage trying to change each other. That was miserable. When we finally decided to accept our differences and even to see them as strengths for our relationship, most of our conflict stopped.
Try this: Make a list of the ways in which your spouse is different from you. Then write two positive things underneath each of them. It may be a small step, but it starts you in the right direction of accepting your spouse’s differences and moving toward an “awesome marriage.”
7 Secrets to an Awesome Marriage is full of great ideas to take your marriage to a new level.