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The Same, But Different

“He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.”

Proverbs 18:22 (NIV)


When Bill and I were dating, I couldn’t believe how much we had in common.  While he introduced me to things I hadn’t experienced before or had little experience with (rollerblading and camping to name a few), our values and the things that made us who we are were spot on similar.

In anticipation of our marriage, we attended premarital counseling and were given a test to determine what areas we needed to work on: finances, parenting, in-laws, holidays, etc. Our counselor was surprised to see how similarly we answered each section.  She remarked that she rarely saw this type of compatibility between people.

We’ve been married over 16 years and while we have both changed and grown independently and together, we still have many similarities.  However, what fascinates me is that while we both agree on what needs to be done, our course of action to accomplish the goal couldn’t be more different.  It’s never anything earth shattering, just a matter of preference.

Different isn’t a bad thing… unless both people insist on their way.  Ask any of our children this question and you will get the same answer, “Who’s the big boss in our family?”  The unanimous answer is always, “Dad.”  They know that when dad isn’t around, I will exert my authority and they need to listen to my directions, but when we are both present, we defer to his judgment.

I choose to live my marriage that way.  I like living my marriage that way.  I have two jobs where I have to make decisions under two different bosses.  I know what my boundaries are and what decisions I’m trained to complete as well as what issues I need to present to them and ask for their preference before I proceed.  The same goes for my writing:  There are many decisions I make independently, but when it comes to the important stuff, Bill and I are a team and I value his input.

This past holiday season, I noticed again that while we both have the same goal in mind, we approach the steps to complete the goal very differently.  Our personalities are different and therefore our paths are different.  However, I would much rather defer to his path when he is around than insist on my own.  He doesn’t force me to defer.  I’m sure if I asked if we could do it my way and he would be fine with that.  However, I willingly choose his way because I love him.  We are on the same team.  I would much prefer him having the chance to be involved in the daily, mundane things then insisting on doing it my way. Making memories in the significant moments as well as the everyday life moments is what marriage and love is about.

If I had to choose between doing it “my way” and getting the privilege to join him in doing it his way, hands down I’m going to choose “his way with him there” every single time.

I want to encourage you as we step forward in 2016.  If given the choice, isn’t it more fun to make memories with everyone present, even if the path to the common goal looks a little different then what you envisioned?  You never know – you might find a new “favorite” way to complete the task.

© Cheri Swalwell 2015

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