These differences should not be barriers to a fulfilling relationship, but incentives to explore and grow with your partner more fully. By that I mean, your partner’s differences are there to make him/her continuously intriguing and fascinating to you – so you never get bored with each other.
The differences between the two of you are there:
● To keep you fascinated and interested in each other.
● To keep you learning and discovering more about each other.
● To help you develop a selfless and sacrificial attitude towards each other.
● To help you explore and appreciate each other’s unique qualities and virtues.
● To help you grow and mature as you learn to understand and adjust to each other.
Once you start to see your differences in this light, you will never again see your differences as a negative thing. Instead, you would see your differences as life’s way of stretching, maturing and polishing you in a number of areas of life.
You’ll also view your differences as God’s way of helping you to learn how to enjoy life outside of your comfort zone. You’ll see your differences as God’s way of purging you of pride and selfishness, and helping you to develop a sacrificial attitude – as you learn to embrace and love a very different personality from yours.
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” (Philippians 2:3.)
For example, in most relationships, you would find that couples have traits that are generally opposite in nature. The man may be fun-loving and out-going, while his wife may be very reserved. The woman may be well-organized and disciplined while her husband may be untidy, sloppy or carefree.
The man may be a big spender, while his wife is big on saving her money. My point is, neither spending nor saving is wrong, but for this relationship to blossom in the area of their finances like it should, the couple are going to have to learn to adapt a philosophy of finances that is somewhere in the middle.
For instance, 26 year old, Margaret has always been quiet and a bit shy. But when she met Toby, she fell head over heels in love with him. Toby was everything that Margaret wasn’t. And that was partly why she was attracted to him.
They got married a year later with hopes of a blissful future. Two and a half years into their marriage, Toby confided in his House Group that he wished he had married someone more like himself.
He complained that his wife didn’t like going out with him; and when she did venture out she preferred to sit quietly in the corner of the room. She never seems to have an opinion about anything; and she didn’t want him to throw her a 30th birthday party.
Finally, he bleated out in exasperation, “I think marrying an introvert was a big mistake.”
Now I don’t think Toby's problem is really his wife’s temperament, but his desire to make her into his image. And that never works in a marriage. God often brings opposites together so that both can contribute what makes them unique to the union.
Of course, it would be helpful if Margaret could move a little towards meeting her husbands need for companionship and fun. That’s what people who love each other do. They stretch beyond their comfort to meet their partner’s need because they love their partner. But marrying an introvert was not the mistake here. The mistake in this marriage was not adapting; not adjusting; not being patient; and not appreciating the personality traits of the other person.
“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honouring each other.” (Romans 12:10.) NLT
In talking to couples, I am never surprised when I find out that one of the main sources of conflict in the relationship has to do with the different ways the couple each respond to life issues or the way they have learnt to process things.
Thus, if the couple see something in their marriage as a problem to be solved and it doesn’t get solved, they believe that they have a problem that can’t be solved. If, on the other hand, they view that same issue as a stepping stone to greater intimacy and refuse to give up until
they achieve that intimacy, they generally do.
That’s going to take understanding, humility, maturity, sacrifice and even compromise on occasions. But, it is precisely this kind of dilemma in our marriages that God uses to stretch and transforms us – as we learn to see things His way.