This past weekend at Ginghamsburg, Pastor Mike talked about something that I found both scary and enlightening. He talked about how we tend to put Jesus into our own worldview, meaning that we want to make Jesus more like us and less like who he really was. As I spent time wrestling with this concept, I came to the clear conclusion that I do the same thing in my marriage.
I (and, I suspect, most of you) have the tendency to want my spouse to do what I would do in any given situation. Sometimes I get frustrated by the fact that she doesn’t see the simple solution that I do at that particular moment. A great example is how we handle preparation for events at our home. I have a list, I accomplish the list, and I do nothing else. I am efficient, task-orientated, and 90% of the time I will finish with more than enough time before our guests arrive. My wife, on the other hand, operates different. When we are having people over, she begins to work like a woman possessed by The Flash. While she may start with a list, she also will do anything and everything that she feels is important at that moment. She gets motivated and gets things done, but it is chaotic and doesn’t feel very organized to me.
I, on the other hand, begin to fret about the fact that this particular task was not on the list. “Why? Why does this need to be done two hours before people start showing up at our home?” I find myself wrestling with these questions and have decided there is only one thing I can do with those questions: answer them with the fact that we are different.
While I don’t always like the way she does this or that, if I were married to myself there would be no excitement in my life. Truthfully, if I weren’t married I wouldn’t have anything nice, or things hanging on the wall, or any of the special touches that have turned our house into a home. While I may not always appreciate the ADD nature of Karen’s pre-party ritual, it is a part of who she is and what I need to do is turn it into gratitude rather than a gripe.
I wonder how many of us wrestle with the personality of our spouse because we are too busy hanging on to our own worldview, rather than just letting our spouse be who God created them to be. Understanding and celebrating our differences is what will keep our marriage fresh and eliminate tension from the reality that while we may be different we are still on the same team.
A serious relationship is a celebration of differences. Maturity in that relationship is giving up the expectation that we are ever going to be the same.
What is the most frustrating ritual your partner does?
How can you celebrate that? How can you turn that gripe into gratitude?
What does your partner bring to the table that would be absent from your life if he or she wasn’t there?