If you have been married for any time at all, you have become keenly aware of the differences between you and your spouse. I am talking about the kind of differences that drive you both bonkers. For example, maybe one of you makes decisions quickly and decisively and the other makes them slowly and methodically. This kind of thing drives you both crazy. Or, maybe one of you gets your feelings hurt easily and the other never seems to feel anything at all. Maybe one of you is very punctual and respectful of other's time and the other one of you seems to have little concept of time and is always running late. Have I nailed at least one of your differences yet? There are certainly many more possibilities.
The truth is that we all have differences between ourselves and our spouses. Some of those differences are fairly easy to roll with and some of them are not. And the problem is NOT what you think it is. The problem is not with your spouse.
The problem most often lies with how we view or perceive these differences. We can view these differences from our own selfish perspective (as in "I don't like how this effects me") or we can view them from a team perspective (as in "How does this change our marriage?"). If we don't view these differences in a manner that works best for the team (our marriage), then we are not doing the team (or ourselves, for that matter) any favors at all.
Let me break this down for you. In our marriage, I am the one who makes decisions quickly and decisively and Tami is the one who make decisions slowly and methodically — some of the time. For some choices in our lives, this decision-making process is the exact opposite; I become the slow and methodical one and Tami can make a decision much quicker. And most of the time what we really need is something right in the middle. We need a balance of thinking things through, but not dragging them out. We need to make a decision, but one we can both live with. And here is the beautiful part, this is exactly what our "balance" allows us to do.
We have learned to see our differences as a healthy balance, not a threat to her way of doing things or mine. We have learned to see that we are better together. SO. MUCH. BETTER. And we have learned that if we truly want to be happy together, we need to value this kind of collaboration and compromise. We must live with an obligation towards collaboration in our relationship.
“We must live with an obligation towards collaboration in our relationship.”
More often than not, a husband or wife will view the other one's approach as the problem. This kind of thinking works fine if you are single — or want to be! Because marriage requires a much deeper level of collaboration and grace, we need to adjust our thinking to see the strength in this balance of differences.
Besides, blaming your spouse for any differences is like saying, "Hey, your side of the boat is sinking!" And this is just foolish! If you are in a boat together, your spouse's challenges ARE your challenges. Do you see the point? You simply must learn to appreciate your differences and help each other through them. John Wooden, one of the most famous and revered basketball coaches of all time, put it this way:
“Be most interested in finding the best way, not in having your own way.”
If you would love to learn more about being a team player in your marriage, please consider buying the book we wrote for that purpose, called Ready to Surrender. For a limited time, you will find a 1/2 off promo code at the bottom of the linked page about the book.
If you have any comments or questions about this post, we would love to hear from you in the comments below.
By Brad & Tami Miller. Contact us at brad@TandemMarriage.com. Copyright © 2017