When my husband and I married in 1997 there were a lot of people who thought we were clowning around. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.) Seriously though, we were very young and very different.
I was raised in suburban north east Ohio. Cleveland and Akron were my stomping grounds. I wasn’t raised in church and had a morally depraved period in my early teens. My parents were divorced and I was an only child.
He was raised in a river town in the West Virgina panhandle. His parents had been together since he was born. He was raised with a sister in church.
I grew into a rather conservative Christian whose heart was in obedience and mission work.
We did both attend the same small Christian college but we had very different goals and reputations. While I was focused on making the most of every bible class, devotion and seminar I could attend, he was… well… on a different track.
Actually, when my dorm parents found out we were engaged I thought I was going to have to administer CPR.
But when we finally committed our lives to each other, we had one major thing in common. We both loved Jesus.
Here we are, all these years later, thriving in a healthy marriage even though we are still different in a lot of ways.
- I would never wear a shirt with his face on it.
- I stress about being organized and on time. He does not.
- I would be illiterate without spell check. He won the 8th grade spelling bee. (I added this one for him.)
- I hate dirty junk. He loves it.
- I am a frugal saver. He is a spender.
- I schedule daily rest. He works til he drops.
- I will wear my mask. He rebels against it.
- I think the War on Drugs is devastating. He thinks ending it would be devastating.
The differences in personality and ideology go on and on. So how do we disagree and still maintain relationship?
Remember Ideology isn’t Theology
Even though we differ on thoughts politically and socially, we agree that the Word of God is the source of all truth and we surrender ourselves to it.
But even in relationships with differences in theology, peace is possible. Look for common ground, it may not be God’s word yet, but build on commonality to foster unity.
If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Rom. 12:18
Good grief we need to stop defending a position. Stop exhausting ourselves on trying to convince someone we are right. Just stop talking.
“The prudent keep their knowledge to themselves, but a fool’s heart blurts out folly.” Prov. 12:23
Sometimes the high energy discussions in our home challenge our ability to listen. We have to make intentional effort to listen with a desire to understand what the other person is really saying. Listening to rebut, refute or retaliate is detrimental to relationship every time.
Yet Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen… Ex. 7:13
Nothing engages my defense mechanism like assuming what I think, believe or what I am saying. I want people to stop pigeon-holing me and assigning a belief to me that I don’t have.
I have to offer that same courtesy back. By simply asking,”Can you tell me more?” lines of connectivity start firing and relationship is strengthened.
Through presumption comes nothing but strife. Prov. 13: 10
Recognize the Real Enemy
Whether it is in marriage or with total strangers, we have to drop the enemy image and adopt God vision. Remember:
God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created them male and female. Gen. 1:27
No two people are more different than man and woman and yet both are in the image of the divine.
That person who believes differently is made in the image of the same God I was. They are not inherently evil or inevitably in opposition to me.
I believe that the physical world is only a small part of what is real. I believe there is a spiritual world where things are happening heavenly places that are invisible to us. There is a war raging and the spoils are souls (Eph 6:11-12).
We have to stop seeing polictial or social movements and start seeing people. We have to start seeing people who are saved or lost. We have to find ways to reach lost souls in BLM and the KKK. We must convince people to see beyond political parties and election victories and start seeing victory in Christ (1 John 5:4-5). We have to stop progressing an agenda and start sharing the only good news there is.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, because He anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, and to set free those who are downtrodden, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord. Luke 4: 18-19