My wife and I switch out between who is driving our car or truck depending on the day’s activities. Each time I get in the vehicle that she used last I have to adjust the seat, mirrors and air back to where I had them when I was in that vehicle last. We are so opposite of each other….you name it and in about 80% of the cases we are different. Over the years those differences have caused serious strains in our relationship. To many we might not seem to be a perfect fit for each other. However, our 24 years together have also taught me to value our differences and to discover the beauty that is found in the uniqueness of my spouse. I will be forever grateful to have found the perfect fit for two imperfect people.
Somehow the transition from dating to marriage still comes as a bit of a shock to most couples. They feel like they know what they are getting into when rings are exchanged and promises made…promises such as to honor each other and to treasure each other and to be at each other’s side in sorrow and joy, in sickness and in health for all the days of your lives.
Why are there so many instances when those promises are not kept and families unravel before our very eyes? I think it comes down to a very simple principle and should not be a surprise to anyone. Marriages unravel when you begin to think of yourself and your needs instead of the person that you promised to honor and treasure. There are complicated circumstances that seem impossible to resolve and in some cases separation is necessary to protect the health and well-being of those involved. However, I think many marriages can be not only saved but treasured and magnified if those involved concentrate on the needs of the other instead of their personal needs. This is an imperfect science that takes maturity, effort, and patience but it is a skill that can be learned.
Children live in a “me me me” world. That improves a little as they grow up but teens still have a “what about me” mentality. As we mature and fall in love we think we have magically turned the corner and now mistake our romantic love for the other person as an altruistic change of heart. As the trials of life begin to pile up and the attentions and focus of each party become different there is a tendency to become involved in our individual pressures. Coexistence instead of a healthy and loving working together environment becomes the norm. This leads to discussions and differences regarding what is important and why one does not appreciate the other’s world with all of its challenges. Lack of interest and involvement lead us to once again, like a child, cry out “what about me”?
Here is the solution. You don’t want to be married to you. Opposites attract and there is a reason for this. A hand fits in the glove not because the glove is a hand but because it is a glove. The perfect fit for two people is not to marry a clone of yourself but to find someone whose life makes yours become richer by pushing you to somewhere you would not go on your own.
This is the ultimate journey of a lifetime and it is painful, humbling and hard…it is also a powerful and enriching journey I would not trade for the world. When two imperfect people come together and remember their promise to each other the journey towards selflessness begins. This does not come natural for most…but it is a skill that can be learned. The perfect fit…the perfect match is not a marriage that jumps out of a mold. It is more like a statue that takes shape only after the rough and jagged edges of selfishness are chipped away. Those who cannot see down the road very far and who concentrate on their own personal disappointments caused by the other party often times choose to just quit. The result is they never get to see the results of what they hoped for when they married because neither realized the work that it would take to get there.
Attributes such as forgiveness, patience, selflessness, kindness are characteristics that for most of us take time to develop. Marriage is the perfect venue to improve yourself and thereby bless the life of your spouse.
It is worth the effort. True love is not the reason for the effort…it is the result of that effort.
HighFive Your Life Principle: Marriage is the perfect venue to improve yourself and thereby bless the life of your spouse.