Maybe you've heard this modern fable: God told a certain man he could have anything he wanted. The man said, "I want a bridge from the mainland to Hawaii, so I can drive there." God said, "That's an awfully big order!" So he said, "OK, God, then help me to understand women. I want to know what makes them tick, why they do what they do, everything about them." And God said, "So ... do you want two lanes on that bridge, or four?"
The old saying "Opposites attract" is often true; it's the differences between men and women that attract us and draw us together. When a couple complains, "We're so different," I tell them, "That's probably what attracted you in the first place." But it can be a two-edged sword. Those differences can confuse us, and cause much grief. After a while she may say something like, "Men ... can't live with them, can't live without them. I don't get them." He might say, "Women ... I don't understand them; they're so strange."
Some people believe these differences are due to culture and upbringing. But they're wrong. It's much deeper than that. Men and women differ physiologically, psychologically, in the way we communicate, the way we show affection to each other, the way we handle temptation, in stamina, in sensitivity, and on, and on. The American Institute of Family Relations said, "Men and women differ in every cell of their bodies."
We shouldn't point fingers at each other and say, "You're different; you're weird; I can't figure you out; you should be just like me." No, he (or she) shouldn't. It's all part of the tension that goes on between the sexes.
And you know what? You'll be happier in life if you recognize that, instead of trying to fight it. Instead of saying, "Why is she so different?" or "He's so weird," understand those differences, don't blame each other, and learn to adjust. Or in Peter's words, "live with them with understanding" (see 1 Peter 3:7).
Couples have a mutual responsibility to understand each other -- their strengths and weaknesses, their joys and fears. Embrace the differences, understand them, and adjust. When we don't recognize and embrace the differences we have with our spouses, there's a lot of tension, bickering, and pain.
But our relationships can be different. We are not perfect men and women; we are redeemed men and women. Because our lives have been changed by the blood of Jesus Christ, because we've been forgiven by God, we should be quick to forgive one another. We should humble ourselves and say, "I love you. I'm sorry. Forgive me." That's the action of redeemed men and women.
Dwell with your spouse with knowledge, with understanding, and with humility. Be quick to say, "Honey, I'm sorry. What can I do to make your life better?"
When you put two lives together, any two lives, there's going to be friction. Every person on earth is incompatible with every other person on earth, eventually. The issue becomes, "What do we do now to maximize the relationship?" And the answer is mutual understanding and mutual submission. That's the oil that keeps the relationship running smoothly.
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