Being Different TOGETHER
-By Cindy Wright – September 15, 2012
I once heard someone say, “You may never think alike, but you can work to think together.” Those are wise words, if you ask me.
Throughout our 40+ years of marriage, I have to say that Steve and I have grown to think together in a lot of ways. We used to be SO different in almost every way two people could approach matters. But through the years, we’re finding ways to bridge those differences and make them work for us, rather than against us. Some of the ways we are different and yet we make it work for the “we” in our marriage is:
• Steve is more impulsive, I’m more careful.
• Steve is a real joker. I’m more of the serious one in the family.
• Steve is higher energy when it comes to playing around, where I’m higher energy when it comes to work matters.
• Steve’s approach to a work project is, “that’s good enough,” where I have a tendency to think it’s “not good enough.”
• Napping is one of his favorite past times. To me, it’s almost torture. Even if I’m exhausted, as soon as my head hits the pillow to try to take a nap, I start thinking of all the things that need to be done and eventually I just have to get up and start doing them.
• Steve can fall asleep in a few minutes, or less. It takes me a LONG time to fall asleep.
• Steve would eat mostly junk food if it were up to him. I’m into nutrition.
• Steve is a morning person (as long as it’s not too early). I’ve become a morning person and what’s funny is that now I’m usually up before he is.
• When it comes to having company over, Steve would prefer just a few. My philosophy is “the more the merrier.” I love a house full of people enjoying themselves.
• Steve isn’t much of a reader. I’m a veracious reader.
• Steve likes to listen to a minister who is more of a preacher. I like the teaching approach.
• Steve is all about comfort, when it comes to decorating. I LOVE comfort; but I also like things to look nice, as well. (I once wanted to be an interior designer.)
• Steve is not artsy, at all (even though his parents owned a high end art gallery). I love art. I was a watercolor artist and was an art major in college –wanting to teach art in elementary school.
• If we have company and the house is a mess afterward, Steve’s philosophy is “let’s go to bed. Tomorrow is another day.” Mine is, “lets clean it up now so we don’t have to face it tomorrow.”
• When it comes to conflict, Steve wants to hide from it. I want to deal with it and get it behind us. (This made matters tense through the years until we both learned to give and take on this issue.)
• Steve is a zippy driver —his car is his palace and he doesn’t want drivers to get in his way. I have a tendency to be cautious and give people their space.
• Steve is a homebody. I’ve learned to be a homebody and now I even work from home.
• Steve will say “yes” to committing us to doing something right away. I say, “yes” after giving it prayerful thought.
• Steve is a radio broadcaster so he enjoys being in front of the microphone or in front of a crowd. I’m not that comfortable in those spots and prefer to be a “behind the scenes” person.• I’m happy feeding Steve the info he needs to use for whatever public event he’s involved in, because I’m more of a researcher, where he’s more of a person who likes to “wing it.”
• For years, I was the one who would initiate the family gatherings, family phone calls, and family vacations and talks. Steve loved family, but wasn’t motivated to initiate anything. Steve is now a great initiator.
• As one Marriage Message revealed, Steve is a “Condenser” and I’m an “Amplifier” in our communication styles (See: Marriage Message #204).
Those are just SOME of the many differences we face, but as I said before, fortunately for our marriage, we’ve learned how to bridge our differences —even use them to our advantage as a couple. It took us a long time to learn to use our talents in ways so they help us rather than hinder us.
In the past we would compete with each other or think that our individual way was “better” than the other’s (see Marriage Message #217 – When the “WE” Breaks Apart). How ridiculous was that? Together, when we apply the “we” to our relationship, we’re much more productive, powerful, and successful in that which we apply ourselves to do.
If we really think about it, if we were both so much alike, it would almost erase our individuality –that which brings a bit of sparkle into our relationship.
I hope you’re able to bridge your differences and allow them to work for your marriage, rather than tearing against it.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)