Maybe you and your spouse are in the same boat as my wife and me. In fact, I’m pretty sure you are. We are different people. We have unique strengths and interests…which makes keeping the marriage boat on course a tricky venture at times. In our case:
- I am an introvert. My wife is more of an extrovert.
- My wife acts decisively and gets things done right away. I move slowly and think long before I even start.
- My wife likes olives. I like brussel sprouts.
- My wife loves a “chick flick.” I watch horrible “b-rated” Scifi movies & fantasy movies.
- My wife loves photography. I love music.
You get the idea. We are different people. We each have unique interests and unique strengths. Those differences have the power to shape our relationship. They can pull us apart or pull us together. If we each go our separate ways to pursue our unique interests and goals, our differences will pull us apart. But if we share each other’s interests and goals, they will tie us more intimately together. In fact, our unique strengths and interests provide fertile soil for nurturing growth as an individual and as a couple. For instance, my wife and I both enjoy hiking, but she moves much quicker than I do. Now, she takes her camera to photograph our experience, which slows her pace some. As a result, our paces match up more easily and we both enjoy nature and conversation on our hike together. On the other hand, my wife accompanies me to some music “meetups” where I can enjoy playing along with the group and she enjoys listening. We enjoy our time together in both experiences.
Our differences also allow us to learn and grow as individuals. For instance, my wife’s extroverted nature has taught me to enjoy a get together—the joy of talking with people and learning about them. Her ability to plan has allowed us to have more experiences on a vacation than I would have ever had alone.
Our differences also present a wonderful opportunity to express our love for one another. We can do things “just because” we know our spouse will enjoy it. I can plan a get together for my wife…just because she enjoys a get together and I enjoy seeing her happy. I can watch the “chick flick,” just because she likes a “chick flick” and I enjoy spending time with her. I can purchase photography equipment for my wife’s birthday just because she likes photography and I enjoy watching her create. She does the same for me, enjoying things I enjoy just because I enjoy them, and she enjoys spending time with me.
Our differences have the power to nurture a deeper relationship. By appreciating and enjoying our spouse’s different interests, strengths, and goals, we express our love for one another, learn about one another, and become more intimate with one another. How will you enjoy your spouse’s unique interests and goals today? How will you allow your differences to draw you into a more intimate relationship with your spouse?