How to Celebrate Differences in Marriage
I’m happy to have Sarah Geringer on the blog today! She is full of wisdom and insight and has an amazing #wifehack to share for all of those who feel discouraged by differences that pop up in marriage. I hope you are encouraged and blessed! Welcome Sarah!
Have you ever seen the classic movie “The Odd Couple”? Two men who couldn’t be more opposite must learn to get along as roommates, without killing each other in sheer frustration.
That’s the story of my husband and me.
When we were dating, our opposite traits seemed charming and delightful. He was bold and driven; I was quiet and content. He liked constant variety; I liked constant routine. Our friends told us we were a great match, because we balanced each other so well. He and I felt like we had found our missing halves.
We had no idea yet how our differences could become SO annoying. We said our vows with stars in our eyes, and they blinded us to the sometimes painfully funny truth that awaited.
Take our first road trip as a married couple. In our ten-hour drive home from New Orleans, we spent several hours debating on who was “right” about our social preferences. Isn’t a vehicle just the worst place to have a fight, because there’s no escape?
The emotional temperature was pretty hot inside the cab that day. He thought I was rude to leave a party before it was over; I thought he was indulgent to stay all the way to the end. We were stubborn in our own viewpoints.
It took several more public embarrassments at Super Bowl parties and barbecues before we figured out the truth: he’s simply more extroverted than I am. He likes a big party with lots of action, and he flits around, trying to absorb all the fun he can. I plant myself in a corner and try to have one or two quality conversations amid all the hubbub, and I max out at three hours.
We hadn’t yet learned that our differences were simply differences, not matters of right or wrong. We were still in fix-it mode, trying to change the other person to our liking.
Celebrating Our Differences
A few years into our marriage, I started digging into the Bible for my own personal growth. I spent a lot of time studying the Psalms, and one Psalm that helped me most was Psalm 139. This verse stood out to me:
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14 ESV
I began to realize I was well-crafted by God to be introverted, quiet, calm, and contemplative. God chose me, before I was born, to be who I am.
I also began to realize my husband was well-crafted by God to be extroverted, loud, energetic, and fast-paced. God chose him, before he was born, to be who he is.
I looked at this truth from a perspective I’d never really considered before: If God made my husband to be this way, who am I to think I need to change him?
The odd couple #wifehack I’ve learned is this:Start appreciating your husbands God-given differences and stop trying to change him. Click To Tweet
God knew we were different, even opposite in most ways, before he allowed our paths to cross. He knew our differences would both attract and repel us, and he also knew they would refine and shape us to be better people.
Uniting in Our Differences
In the beginning of our marriage, we were like the squabbling Corinthians, who thought one person’s role was better than another’s. Even though Paul was writing to the church, I feel like these verses apply to our marriage too:
“The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’” 1 Corinthians 12:21 ESV
If my husband is the head, he still needs me as the eyes in our marriage. He needs my hands as his helper; I need his feet to keep us moving forward.
“But God has so composed the body…that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.” 1 Corinthians 12:24-25 ESV
My husband and I had to learn to unite rather than divide over our differences.
In time, we learned to appreciate each other’s opposite traits and even use them to our mutual advantage. He asks me to handle a testy situation with our children because I’m gentler and less likely to explode. I call on him when extended family situations needs more strength and resolve than I can muster on my own.
Now, when we discover a rare common trait, we add it to our (very) short list. But most of the time, we rejoice in our differences. They certainly keep our marriage interesting!
What’s your #wifehack?
Do you have a #wifehack that has made a world of a difference in your marriage? Share it below and you’ll be entered into a giveaway! To read more about the giveaway, click HERE!
Sarah Geringer is the author of three self-published books and blogs regularly at sarahgeringer.com. She loves writing in the morning, reading in the afternoon, and enjoying family time in the evening. Sarah lives in her beloved home state of Missouri with her husband and three children.