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August 7, 2017
Marriage is hard. I know you’re thinking, “Thanks, Captain Obvious,” because you already know this full well. But one of the reasons marriage can be a little difficult because the two of you are different. You are unique individuals from different backgrounds, different lifestyles, different ways of folding the laundry, fixing the bed, handling your finances, or even sneezing. And let’s face it, everyone is unique in their own way–even identical twins don’t have the same thumb prints! But you two may seem a lot more “separated” than that! Working through your differences in marriage can be difficult to navigate, and I’ll speak from experience, they can cause a lot of conflicts over things that may seem so trivial. But I strongly below that it’s HOW you work through what makes the two of you unique, that will bring you together that much more! Follow along as I share my tips on how to work through your differences within your marriage!
1. Accept Your Differences
How does that song go? You like “potato,” I like “poTAHto.” You like “tomato,” I like “toMAHto.” But there’s no reason to call the whole thing off (see what I did there? :-D). Like I said earlier, you’re two very different people. And you know what? That’s okay! It’s completely okay to be different, and in fact, what makes us different will set us apart in the world, and is probably what attract you to each other in the first place. Maybe it was his sense of adventure or the fact that he likes surprises. Maybe it’s her ability to take things at face value, and plan every detail of the day to a T. If those characteristics helped take you far as an individual, just imagine how fruitful you will be when you put them together as a unit! No pea in any pod are exactly alike. But when they grow together they create something so incredible (and quite delicious in this case! :-D)
2. Embrace Your Differences
This is where the hard work begins, but it can also be fun! Get to know your spouse on a deeper level and begin immersing yourselves in each other’s lives, desires, hobbies, families, joys and sorrows. A great way to do this when you first get married (or anytime) is through a flirty game of Random Questions. It’s simple-one spouse asks any question that pops into their head, then the other answers it, and vice versa. See? Easy peasy. Ask light and fun questions to start, and as you grow, dig deeper and get to know the inner most parts of your spouse’s heart and personality. When your answer questions, be genuine, and honest. Josh and I played this game all the time when we started dating, and almost five years of marriage and two kids later, we still play it! When you’re taking a break from the game, enjoy spending some time doing something that your spouse loves doing, even if you may not enjoy that activity. For example, Josh LOVES video games and Marvel movies, and I’ll admit that before I married him I wasn’t that big a fan of either, nor did I know anything about them. But I spent time with him while he played games, and went to so many Marvel movies together, and now I’ve come to enjoy it! Don’t get me wrong, I won’t be going to Comic Con anytime soon, or picking up a controller either. But I realize, and I hope you will too, that it’s not about the things you do–it’s about the intentional time you spend together. Plus, when you immerse yourself in your spouse’s interests you get to know them that much better, and I’m pretty sure you’ll get some awesome brownie points in the meantime! Everytime you spend time together is an investment in your marriage.
3. Find Grace In Your Differences
Forgiveness is so…SO important in marriage. I can’t even say that enough. By now you realize that your differences can sometimes cause a little tension and friction in your marriage. He may like to do things one way, while you like to do things another way, and you’re both stubborn (come on now, admit it) and want it your way or the highway. But this is marriage, not Burger King, folks. Working through your differences helps your relationship, your trust in one another, and your love for one another grow so much. Love takes sacrifice. Period. And so much of being in love, staying in love, and working together as a couple relies on the requirement of the two of you to constantly look outside yourself to accommodate and embrace the needs and desires of the other. So maybe instead of going to your favorite place to eat, ask your spouse where they would like to go instead. Instead of arguing over duties in the house, make a chart and help each other with responsibilities without feeling the need to micromanage. Instead of fighting about your conflicting schedules, share a calendar and coordinate your schedules so you can find time do things together. Find a happy medium and compromise, but in the few cases you can’t, get a little flexible and don’t be afraid to bend every now and then. It will totally be worth it in the long run.
Robert Dodd says it best:”The goal of marriage is not to think alike, but to think together.” You two are so different in every way. But always remember your common ground–the fact that you love each other and choose each other every single day. It’s a major commitment, and I’ll tell you first hand that it’s a lot of work. But having the gift of spending each day with the one you love most is priceless.
Have some marriage advice or a story you’d like to share? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to be a contributor for our Marriage Monday posts!
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