April 24, 2017
Do Michelle and I have differences?
You bet. We certainly do!
I am mostly logical while she is rich in emotions. She is generous while I am, shall I say, careful with spending and giving. She is gregarious while I used to be serious. I tended to care more for myself. Caring for others is her God-given gift.
There are also differences that originate from how we we were brought up; in our views of life, value system, habits... Believe me, the list goes on and on.
Hey, we are two unique creations of God after all.
Notice that I have used the past tense in describing some of my character traits. Michelle and I are glad to say that, by God's grace, we have worked around most, if not all, our differences. And let me add,mthe reward is priceless. Love changes a person for the better!
I was just sharing this with a friend who felt that the differences between him and his wife had caused him great grief. He loves his wife but does not feel that his wife loves him in return. And I dare say that his wife thinks exactly the same way.
Husband and wife (and their children) will always have differences between them. No one can avoid them. The issue is not with the differences. The crux is how spouses handle them when differences manifest. In my experience, they do manifest rather frequently. If not handled properly, they hurt the marriage and the family.
Like me, all of us want to be accepted for who we are. This is very human. We all want to be accepted because acceptance, especially by our spouse, is fuel and energy for our lives.
Michelle and I have learnd that the first thing we must do to handle our differences is to accept each other as unique creations of God. This means that we also have to accept the different character traits, habits and even idiosyncrasies of each other. Michelle knows it well.
But being able to accept your spouse for who he or she is, is certainly the most basic step and yet the most difficult step to take in building a great marriage.
As much as I want to be accepted for who I am, I must first accept Michelle for who she is. And it must be an acceptance without conditions. That means, even if she does not change in the way I desire her to be, I must still accept her.
The bible records this for us. Jesus lived it. He accepted all his disciples as they were, including Judas Iscariot, who eventually be trayed him. And in Ephesians 4:2-4 NIV and Romans 12:10-18 NLT, Paul emphasized this:
It is difficult to accept another person unconditionally. It requires one to give up personal rights; you have to accept the other person's "unacceptable ways" but you cannot expect your gesture to be returned. And even if he or she responses negatively, you still have to keep accepting.
Someone commented that only Jesus Christ could do it. He is probably right. The good news is that with His gift of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, we can call upon Jesus' power to do the same.
Michelle and I have done it. Praise the Lord that the same power the Holy Spirit gives to us is available to you too. You can be the great lover that He meant you to be!
Get started. Call on the Holy Spirit to give you the power to accept your spouse for who he or she is. This is your first step to successfully handling differences between you and your spouse. This will lead to the prevention of conflicts. It will then help you to build each other up, eventually making both of you great lovers.
Remember, great lover makes his or her spouse a great lover by being one first.
Be the great lover that God has intended you to be!