When Jean and I first entered premarital counseling, we knew that we were meant for each other. We enjoyed most of the same things and were alike in almost every way.
When we finished our last session a week later, that had all changed. We were both thinking, “Wow, we are nothing alike!” And we were wondering, “Are we going to be okay?”
At some point, every couple recognizes their differences, and something strange happens when they do: The whole idea of “two becoming one” gets turned into, “My spouse should become more like me.”
When author and blogger Melanie Shankle realized how different she and her husband were, she had a revelation. Instead of resisting his differences at every turn, she decided she could treat him with the same grace that she would her best girlfriend.
And grace is what “becoming one” is all about. No couple knows ahead of time what “in sickness and in health” means until one of you actually gets sick. You won’t know what “for better or for worse” means until your spouse does something unlovable, and you choose to stay committed to your marriage anyway.
To become one flesh, embrace your mate’s differences, rather than fight against them. Healthy marriage is about discerning which hills are worth dying on and which ones are worthy of compromise.
If you and your spouse are getting stuck in your differences, we can help you get unstuck on our Focus on the Family Broadcast “The Joys and Challenges of Marrying Your Opposite.” Melanie Shankle not only shares excellent advice, but she’ll also give you a few laughs along the way. She’s fun, and I know you’ll enjoy our conversation.
I also encourage you to take a few moments to try our free marriage assessment online tool that will help you quickly determine what’s working well in your relationship, and areas where you may need some improvement.
Melanie’s book, The Antelope in the Living Room: The Real Story of Two People Sharing One Life: A Memoir, is available for a gift of any amount. Visit our website or give us a call at 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).