My last posting predictably veered off … into a more interesting—and dangerous—topic. The not uncommon lament about the inability to understand our opposites. Stan Baldwin today posted a comment on my blog which offered a ray of hope. He commented thusly: “… In our now nearly 64 years of marriage to each other, Marge and I have at last come to (mostly) recognize and accept our personality differences. Sure makes our lives together a lot better!”
Well, first of all, Stan and Marge, congratulations on keeping your marriage, through good times and bad, for over six decades! Amazing!
What Stan is saying is that marriage requires hard work. I believe him. No, I don’t think he’s bragging; in fact, he qualifies it with the rather unique “come to (mostly).” There’ve been times I would have felt presumptuous to say even that. Then a minor breakthrough and I felt good about what we’d done.
Stan gives himself considerable leeway with the bold declaration that he “recognizes and accepts (her) personality differences.” Do any of you out there in Radioland (remember, I grew up in the ‘50s) recognize the personality differences of your mate? Do you know what Stan is saying?
Acceptanceis an entirely different ballgame. From that, we see how we complement one another, because we’re different. Acceptance doesn’t come all at once—more like baby steps. Remember, a baby doesn’t
travel in a straight line and certainly not without stopping and looking around, maybe playing in the dirt, some steps backward when he gets turned around, a diaper change along the way …
My wife, who’s our church librarian, collects donated books for worthy causes, such as the monthly men’s breakfast at our church. In Gloria’s treasure trove of books, last Saturday morning I found two copies of Dobson’s What Wives Wish Men Knew About Women. They were eagerly claimed by two of the brethren, who shall remain anonymous. Excellent resource; I highly recommend it. A writer named John Gray won a spot on Oprah some years back because he’d written a book whose title explains it all: Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.
If you’ve read this far and think ol’ Sam is going to inveigle you with uncanny insights into the mind and emotional state of your beloved, I’d have to say that you’re in need of counseling. All I know for sure about the weaker sex is that they ain’t. A distant relative of mine said that any man who’ll stand up and proclaim he understands women bears watching—he’ll likely siphon gas out of your pickup and steal your pet goat, too.
Mostly, I’d like this posting to generate some encouraging comments. We’re tempted to become as cynical as my relative or want to give up when the hard times come. We men figure we can fix what’s broke if she’d just stand back and let us do our thing (Key word is “fix.”). God made us complex creatures. The basis for man/woman relationships, of course, goes back to the book of Genesis but that requires a deeper read than what we remember from Sunday School. Hopefully, we’ll have more to say about that in a future posting.
What about you? Any insights on how to recognize and maybe even accept the personality differences between you and your spouse? How have his/her differences provided balance and growth in your marriage over the years?