The beauty of marriage is the compatibility of our differences. Like puzzle pieces, the different shapes and sizes are essential for a whole picture. No matter how many pieces there are in a puzzle, finding how the pieces fit together is both the challenge and the reward. What may be a mound of chaos becomes one beautiful picture once it is figured out where each piece fit. Likewise, it is the differences of the individuals in marriage that make fulfillment worth pursuing. The Bible records that Eve was Adam’s help-meet. My understanding of this statement is that: Eve was to meet Adam where he needs help. In Adam and Eve we realize that marital productivity needs a relationship where one strength “fits” the other’s weakness and vice versa. So sameness in all areas is not only unessential (read this study), it may be a bad thing.
Your spouse’s nuances should be appreciated. Differences in culture, tradition, preferences along with other identifiers are the spice of marriage. Many couples get hell-bent on changing something in their spouse that, in reality, is the cornerstone of their spouse persona. They’re seeking to change this nuance so that their spouse can be like them. But marriage is not about changing what your spouse likes/loves, it’s about appreciating those things he/she likes or loves. Frustration can build on both ends if you continue to attempt making a square peg fit into a round hole.
With that said, there is, however, one area of sameness that you both must be attentive to in your marriage (especially if you were not attentive to it during your courting process): belief systems. Belief systems can be a powerful force for the good of your marriage or it can be its source of destruction. Belief systems can be a wedge that can slowly (or rapidly depending on the severity) put a distance between you and your spouse. Reason being: belief systems are not just who you are, it drives who you want to become. It is your internal governing compass for life. It will determine how you approach those whom you seek to influence like your children. Differences in your belief systems can mean the health or death of your marriage. It can be the difference between loving and leaving. Listed below are the areas that I feel you and your spouse need to be “one” in.
Let’s speak of it!
1. The value and merit of marriage.
What you individually believe about marriage can determine the passion, intensity, forgiveness and longevity of your union. Your thoughts of marriage must be the same. Is marriage “’til death do us part”? or is it “’til dilemma do us part”? Is marriage a sacred act that heaven is witness to or is it a human act that is only governed by the laws of the land? Is it a covenant, a contract, an agreement? or is it an act of convenience? Is divorce a viable option? Your collective answers to these questions, along with a few more, can determine what will make you stay or stray. What you both believe marriage is will inevitably lead to the effort or lack of effort you both give into keeping your marriage intact and strong.
2. The imperfection of your spouse.
Do you see yourself or your spouse as a hero or heroine who is not human or a human who is working to be a hero/heroine? How you perceive your own humanity (and the humanity of your spouse) can determine your grace towards each other. And grace is needed in marriage. When you do not give allowances for imperfections, you can readily become bitter against the very person you adore and admire. Your spouse most likely will not be the image of perfection that you envisioned them to be. You have to deal with that fact sooner or later. (I’m not speaking about of infidelity or this type of imperfection, although it can be.) Therefore, like I stated in another post, effort not perfection is what you should be expecting because what you believe you or your spouse is capable of doing or not doing can be the difference between going your separate ways or growing together.
3. You are right together.
No matter what challenges may bring or struggle may seem to tell you, you both are right together. This is not a comfort issue or a companion issue, this is an issue of heart to heart and physical connections. I think when couples believe that no matter what happens God had ordained them together; nothing in hell, heaven or earth can separate or break the marriage apart. Also, when you both believe that you’re right together, issues will not be about who’s right or wrong rather it’s about what’s right or wrong for the marriage. There are no enemies or combatants fighting against each other, there is a team that plays together. Though conflicts will arise and misunderstandings will occur, the sum of your marriage is greater than its parts. What you believe about the “rightness” of your relationship will determine the strength you have to withstand the ups and downs of your marriage.
Marriage is the art of putting the “puzzle” together. How you work on it will determine your happily, daily after.
Have you been blessed or challenged in anyway by this post? Please let me know by your comments. God bless. – Lemuel Jones A.
Great piece, PJ. And very well written.
–Anna Marie Dorelien
From an 'unmarried' point of view, I think its the uisralnetic expectations that lead to majority of the problems encountered later.
I truly believe a lot of relationship turbulence comes from the misconception that we can alter or change another person. Yes, behavior and habits can be changed or corrected, but the greater win comes from accepting and appreciating our differences.
Too often men and women get wrapped up in seeking or looking to create perfection, only to be disappointed when it never comes.
The problem with that is that life is imperfect – and that is a beautiful thing.
To be imperfect means we that we are truly alive and that must be embraced.
I so appreciate your addition to this conversation! Thank you!
Love this blog – glad I found it!
One minor correction – The bible doesn’t say “help-meet” but “helpmate”.
Julia, thank you so much. And you know, we’re glad you found us, too! :-). As for the Scripture, here’s the Biblical reference in different versions: http://bible.cc/genesis/2-18.htm
We are getting married in five months, lots of stuff to be stressed about. Somehow we are keeping cool heads. Great blog, God bless.
Very cool!!!! Congrats!
Hey, if I can–people always told me that the “first three years of your marriage are going to be the toughest” and I braced myself for that “fact” until the Lord dropped in my spirit this thought: you get what you expect.
So …, if you have ever heard any negative comments on marriage, especially the first three years, don’t accept it. Once God spoke that to me I decided I will expect the first three years of my marriage to be the best three years of our lives. And that’s what it was (and continues to be). (I guess I’ll have to blog about the reasons behind that.) Anyway, hope this little tidbit helps you guys as it helped us. 🙂
Thanks for following and commenting! God bless.