Andrew Carnegie wisely states, “It’s a big step in your development when you come to realize that other people can help you do a better job than you can do alone.”
It’s easy to see how this concept works in business or teams, but what about our marriages? Do we welcome our spouse’s differences and personality? Do we grasp the greater purpose of our diversity? To take it a step further, do we truly see their differences as assets that make us stronger together?
One of the greatest opportunities presented in marriage is appreciating our spouse’s differences — not just tolerating them, but actually celebrating them. A couple decades ago, it would have spared us a lot of pain if we’d looked at our differences as strengths instead of weaknesses. Thankfully, we’ve learned to embrace Malcom Forbe’s definition of diversity, which is “the art of thinking independently together.” By God’s grace, we’ve come a long way. Today, we embrace and leverage our diversity in order to accomplish God’s higher purpose for our marriage.
Here are three ways to leverage your differences in marriage, rather than just tolerating them:
Ask Better Questions.
Many times, we ask the wrong questions (especially in our thoughts). We wonder things like, why can’t they be more like me? Or, why do they always have to do it THAT way? Why do they always care so much about _______?
Instead, ask questions that bring about productive answers. How do my spouse’s differences compliment me? What do I appreciate about my spouse’s differences? How do my spouse’s differences advance us towards our purpose?
2. Differ to One Another’s Strengths
When we first married, Julie’s eye for detail in financial matters seemed strange to Greg. She often questioned receipts or recounted the change to ensure accuracy. Believe it or not, we actually experienced heated arguments over this disputable matter. Eventually we realized neither of us was wrong or right, we were merely different. One day, Julie’s eye for detail saved us fifteen hundred dollars on furniture we were double charged for. Today, Greg happily hands final receipts or contracts over to Julie for review and appreciates her unique strength. Evaluate the quirks, cares, and skills of one another and trust each other’s unique design. Together, two are better than one.
3. Become Curious About Each Other
In his book, Positive Personality Profiles, Dr. Robert A. Rohm writes “If I understand you and you understand me, doesn’t it make sense that we can have a better relationship?” Dr. Rohm’s study of the four personality styles wasn’t designed to determine the best personality or to classify a personality as either right or wrong. Instead, his study promotes understanding between personality types. Once we seek to learn more about one another, to understand our thought processes and motivations, it brings about more appreciate and compassion for our differences.
Want to dive deeper into this topic, with a hands-on resources and exercises? Get out our book on Amazon here: Two Are Better than One.