So Different…So Blessed

Have you ever been introduced to a married couple and thought, “I wonder what she sees in him?” or, “I wonder what he sees in her?” I must admit that among our friends and acquaintances the old adage, “opposites attract,” seems to be true.

And that goes for my husband and me as well! When we dated we believed we were SO similar. What John liked and wanted to do, I enthusiastically supported and what I enjoyed, he participated in wholeheartedly. It wasn’t until after the wedding ceremony, when we began to settle into daily routines, that we discovered we were vastly different from each other. Not only did we have gender differences, but cultural, background, and personality differences as well. It didn’t take long until those traits quit drawing us closer, and began to drive us apart. They were no longer “attracting” us to each other at all.

Looking back, we both realize that our differences existed before marriage and did undoubtedly serve to attract us to each other as we dated. He was analytical and detail-oriented. I was trusting and creative. He was serious-minded and unafraid to speak the truth. I was light-hearted and sensitive to the feelings of others. Intuitively we were drawn to the qualities each of us were lacking… although at the time we were unaware of this dynamic.

In the nitty-gritty of married life however, the very traits that had been like magnets pulling us to each other, began to repel us. I wished my husband could be more like me… to see life my way and to find joy in the things that gave me pleasure.

One day, in desperation I blurted out some rather accusatory questions to God… “So, why did You make us SO different? Do You just get some kind of sadistic pleasure out of making us miserable?”
I have never heard the Lord speak audibly to me, but that day I heard what I believed was His quiet response surfacing in my thoughts… “No, Sharon. I didn’t make you and John different from each other to frustrate you. I made you different because there is no better way for you to learn the incredible joy that comes only through giving.”

In Acts 20:35 Jesus is quoted as having said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” It took me years to realize that Jesus did, in fact, know what He was talking about. He knew that the greatest pleasure in life does not come from being pampered, catered to, or showered with attention. Rather the most meaningful moments are those focused on giving in some way to others. Marriage and family certainly provide me with daily opportunities to be either a giver or a taker because not only do I have a husband who is different from me in so many ways, but four children who each have their distinct likes, dislikes and unique personalities. Every day I can either resent the challenges they bring, or choose to thank the Lord for each one and look for ways to help and encourage them. Then, as Proverbs 11:25 says, “He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”

Recently John and I have realized that some of the qualities that most irritated us in our early years of marriage have actually “rubbed off” on us. I’ve become more organized. He’s become more relaxed about life. I’ve learned to be more direct with people. He has become more tender-hearted and tactful. How like a loving heavenly Father to put two very different people together for a life-time… not as some kind of torturous endurance test, but so each of us can improve and enjoy life more fully.

What an intriguing thought… if I become like he used to be, and he becomes like I used to be, we still won’t be the same… we’ll still be SO different! Which means of course that the giving, and the blessing can just keep on going indefinitely! Now that makes being married to an opposite very attractive indeed!