by Pastor Bruce Goddard
When a young couple gets married, they have no idea how many situations will arise that will expose the glaring differences between them. I am not referring to physical differences, but to ALL of the elements that comprise life in general.
God wants us to merge into a like-minded couple in one accord.
Romans 12:16 “Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.”
1 Corinthians 1:10 “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”
Random differences will amaze a young, married couple:
• Closing cupboard doors
• Spelling words correctly
• Speaking too loudly late at night or early in the morning
• Putting the toilet seat up or down
• Washing the car, inside or out, or both or neither
• Being on time, rushing around and being late, or being very early
• Common cleanliness (Cleanliness is not common! Who says what is common? That which you consider to be common is the definition you were brought up to know it to be. • You might be a total freak who was reared by a sanitation zealot!)
• Washing clothes or cleaning floors, dishes, the top of the fridge, sheets, and of course, cleansing your own body (which really makes a difference once you are married)
• Driving too fast or slow; parking close or far from the destination
• Where clothes are put after wearing them
• How often should a towel be used before washing
• How full can the trash get before someone empties it
• Sleeping with a dog or other irritating object
• Where to put the wet dishrag
• How to fold the towel, clothing, bedding etc.
• Put-it-away issues in the bathroom: toothpaste, soap, shampoo, conditioner, comb, brush, curling iron, razor, and on and on and on…. then cleaning up the whiskers in the sink,etc.
• Put-it-away issues in the kitchen: leaving the ingredients out after preparing a meal or putting everything away; cleaning up before eating or after, or the next day; washing dishes after each use or when there are no more dishes in the house; leaving dirty dishes in the sink full of soapy water… for days before washing them, etc.
• Bedtime: one person takes thirty seconds to be ready for bed, the other bathes, flosses, brushes, uses mouthwash, cleanses skin, removes makeup, shaves, sets out clothes for the morning, pre-makes coffee, reads in bed for however long; one person goes straight to sleep and the other lies there awake; intimacy leaves one awake and talkative while the other passes out instantly.
• How to make a bed (and if it even needs to be made)
There are many sleeping issues too:
• Too many blankets
• Wanting it absolutely dark or keeping a light on
• Too many clothes or too few clothes
• Wanting the room cold/hot
• Wanting to sleep without contact or completely wrapped up in each other
• Needing a fan running all night
• Wanting the house closed up or every window open
• Chatting into the night or instant sleep
The list could go on: the yard, the garage, the in-laws, etc. But for the moment, accept the fact that you two are going to be different — everyone is different. Peace comes when you are kind, patient, yielding, and willing to let the matters of life settle slowly; remember, not everything has to be done your way.
Do not insist that your way is the RIGHT way. Do not act as though your spouse is an idiot because he or she does not think like you do. (You are the idiot — you married that person.)
Find ways to avoid conflict:
1. Divide up duties: she cares for the shopping and kitchen, while he cares for the car and the yard, or reverse it. One should not be the ultimate boss; that is stupid.
2. Do not vocalize your shock when you discover a difference. Act as though you like each other. A person with low self-esteem can only tolerate so many comments such as, ”What? You don’t do this …” or, “That’s not how you do it…” before they start thinking that you do not like them. You do like them, but you can drive them into a security corner and have a frustrated home.
3. Be willing to do something another way if possible. Some expectations are not possible for you to fulfill, but whenever possible, do it their way — HAPPILY.
For example: sleeping without anything on may be hard to get used to, but it certainly is not a right or wrong issue (and usually a man thinks it is awesome) — you CAN get used to it. The same is true with those who like to sleep with no one touching them; relax, get used to it, and sooner or later you will be so tired that you will fall asleep even though you married an octopus. You may push your spouse away and hopefully they will get used to sleeping inches from the one they adore without touching you, but to be honest, that is a sorry way to make someone live.
4. Seek out conflict resolution. If your spouse leaves the top off the toothpaste and leaves it “yucky,” then buy your own toothpaste and keep it in a separate place; his and hers will often help (towels, combs etc.). Do not try to force your spouse to do things your way.
5. Do not EVER mock your spouse’s lack of training or experience. They can not change how they were raised or what they were not taught — mocking says, “I do not love you.”
Philippians 2:3 “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”
vs. 4 “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”
Constantly express love and kindness and be patient in finding ways to agree on life; work on doing things the way your spouse would like them done. Do not be so foolish as to insist that everything be done your way. People who think this way are usually divorced at least once.