Embracing the Differences

The saying goes that opposites attract.  This is very true in marriage.  What goes unnoticed is the reason why.  You have been hanging out with yourself your whole life and frankly you’re pretty bored with you.  This makes someone different even more attractive than they might be otherwise.  Our being overly familiar with ourselves presents a couple of reasons why your spouse looks so good to you.  It’s as simple as strengths and weaknesses.  We are infinitely aware of what we don’t do well.  For me, my strong points are not cooking and fixing things.  When looking for someone to do forever with, if she didn’t cook, it was going to be a lot of pizza delivery and eating out.  Truth be told, I don’t make enough money for food to be that big a percentage of the budget.  That is one of the many reasons God saw fit to put me with Melisa, who by the way, is an amazing cook.  In the same vain, Melisa is not the most touchy, feely person you will find.  She doesn’t throw around atta boy’s easily.   It isn’t as if I can’t feed myself or that Melisa can’t tell someone what a great job they have done, but together we don’t have to operate out of our weaknesses.  As a team we can work from place of strength.  The Bible addresses this in a couple of places.  Genesis 2:18 says “God thought it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone so He made him a helpmate.  God didn’t make him a twin, not a mirror reflection but a helpmate.  The reason they are called a helpmate is they help you do what you can’t do on your own.  People say being Christian is being Jesus with skin on.  In a way, your spouse is grace with skin on because they help you do what you couldn’t do on your own.  The other passage that shows this pretty clearly is Eccl 4:9-12 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.  For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.  While we want to cover up our weaknesses, we don’t want to do duplicate strengths.  I have heard it taught that if a husband and wife were identical, one of them would be unnecessary.  There is a famous line from the movie Jerry McGuire where Tom Cruise says, “You complete me.”  More accurately he should say you complement me.  You didn’t marry me for what they couldn’t do, you married them for what you couldn’t do.  Changing them to be more like you defeats the purpose.  Here is a practical example of differences at work.  Take a look at child’s birthday party.  Someone needs to invite the kids, talk to the parents, schedule the time, and clean the house.  Another person may have to bake a cake, decorate the house, entertain the kids once they get there and maybe even design a costume or make balloon animals.  Two very different mindsets and skill sets.  Different strokes for different folks.  Very different very necessary.  The need and value of this diversity isn’t any clearer than in 1 Corinthians 12:12-30 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.  For the body does not consist of one member but of many.  If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.  And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.  If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?  But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.  If all were a single member, where would the body be?  As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.  The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”   On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty,  which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it,  that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.  If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.   Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.  And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues.  Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles?  Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?

This passage tells us the only way to be healthy is to be different.  If you have ever heard that someone is all thumbs that is not a good thing.  If a marriage between two people whose part in the body of Christ was to be the thumb, you would have a hard time shuffling a deck of cards.  So when you realize you married a list maker or a free spirit, don’t frown or gripe, and for heaven’s sake don’t run away!  Realize that what they are is what you are not and it is how God planned it.  It’s the best for you, it’s the best for your marriage, and it’s the best for the church.  When your differences stare you in the face, don’t run from them run to them, and give them a great big hug.