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Chris Fane's Student Ministry News

A youth ministry blog consisting of a collection of articles and notes related to
student / youth ministry. Gathered by Chris Fane of egadideas.com

Winning At Home: Married To The Wrong Person?


As a teenager, I came from a youth group where our youth pastor and his wife weren't happy and he ran off with the assistant secretary. I saw this and thought it was appropriate and applicable to student/youth ministers.

A few days ago, newlyweds Elizabeth and Jon sat down to do their taxes together. The experience was one of a long line of marriage "firsts" for them, and like so many others, it forced a moment of clarity.

When it was time to sort through their files and forms, Elizabeth carried her paperwork to the table in a nice, sturdy box. She had made sure she bought the fireproof model that locked with a key-she wasn't going to take any chances with her important documents.

Jon, on the other hand, was storing his financial records in a Tupperware container. No locks, no keys, no fire-resistant coating for him. "At least it wasn't one of those expandable plastic folders," says Elizabeth with a laugh. "But his stuff could still go up in flames."

When they first met, it was differences like these that attracted Elizabeth and Jon to each other. She was drawn to his laid-back nature, his adventurous spirit, and his rational approach. He was refreshingly unlike her.

In a similar way, Jon liked the ways that Elizabeth was different from himself. She was responsible and independent, yet she thrived on spending time with other people. Compared to what he was used to, those things were certainly a welcome change.

So over time, Jon and Elizabeth fell in love and decided to get married, differences and all. That's when (as she explains it) some of their differences became a little irritating.

"In the time leading up to the wedding," she says, "I began to wonder if it was really right." In many areas of life, she and her fiancé were polar opposites. He was an avid adventurer-caving, hang gliding, and bungee jumping; she was claustrophobic and afraid of heights.

He liked to sit and relax, often procrastinating his way through life. She was task-oriented and got antsy after being still for just a few minutes. He based decisions on logic; she ran on emotion.

They were so different in so many ways-how could they ever be right for each other? Were they making a mistake? Were they about to get married to the wrong person?

Well, no.

If differences are all it takes to make two spouses "wrong," then there's not a single marriage out there that's right. In any given marriage, differences abound.

Take your pick: the husband wants to golf, the wife would rather shop. The husband wants to go out, and the wife prefers to stay home. He's a spender, she's a saver. He's an early riser, she likes to sleep in.

On and on down the list they go-he's one way, she's another. He's in one category, she's not. He wants one thing, she wants the opposite. But that doesn't mean they're wrong for each other. Eliminating marital differences is not the key to marriage success. After all, it is a weak love that requires sameness all the time. Marriage success requires a strong love, a love that can survive what threatens to divide us.

When it comes down to it, much of what makes you and me different is precisely what can make us better. You'll teach me to stretch outside my own tried-and-true limits. I'll teach you to move beyond what you've always known.

Your strengths can compliment my weaknesses, and my strengths can make you stronger. I'll sacrifice some things, and you'll sacrifice some things, and we'll both be better for it. Besides, there's no use storing the tax papers in two different places anymore.

And speaking of IRS forms, that reminds me: Elizabeth and Jon are working to build a love that surpasses their storage preferences. In fact, they've talked about purchasing a lockable box that will accommodate all the important household paperwork from here on out.

Elizabeth's old box is full, you see, and although Tupperware worked for Jon in the past, it isn't exactly fireproof.

Winning At Home, Inc. is a nationally-known organization designed to assist and encourage people of all ages and stages of family development. Dan Seaborn, founder, wrote this article in conjunction with Winning At Home's staff editor Lisa Velthouse. E-mail your questions or comments to hometeam@winningathome.com.

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