“To share an uncommon love where we have uncommon ground – now, that’s marriage.”

Beth MooreFeathers from My Nest

“Now, listen up, everyone! Breakfast will be served at oh-nine hundred sharp!”

The words reverberate off the bathroom walls where I’m applying mascara. I step back from the counter and nervously ask myself,

“Oh-nine hundred. I guess that’s 9 o’clock?” 

I step out of the bathroom of my then boyfriend David’s family lake house. Mercifully, David walks by and I whisper to him only slightly panicked,

“Okay, this oh-nine hundred thing. That’s 9 o’clock, right?”

He grins big and nods.

The lake house was chock-full of his sweet family who graciously invited me to enjoy the weekend with them at their family reunion. It was also chock-full of more military brass than you could shake a stick at. As warm and welcoming as they were, their family lifestyle was quite the departure from that of my own artsy, free-spirited self.

Our early differences stemmed from more than military vs. non military families. David and I came from different church denominations. We voted for opposing Presidential candidates in the previous election. He majored in engineering, I majored in arts. And still today, our personalities sometimes clash. He loves change, I resist it. He’s a straight up thinker, I’m a feeler all the way.

Now married seventeen years, I’ve spent more of my life with him than without. I’ve been head over heels for this man since the first moment I laid eyes on him, but let me tell you: We are crazy different and it’s only by God’s divine plan we found each other and are together. Still.

When David and I think about how he and I became us, we see two people with a wild attraction for each other, a healthy sense of humor, and a divine smattering of super glue. Undoubtedly, God meant for us to be together.  And as lovely as that sounds, there are times when we both think the other is an alien. And depending on our mood, we find this hilarious or maddening.

Lately, there have been real differences glare obnoxious in our marriage. Not insurmountable differences, but not discountable ones, either. And if I might get super honest with you, there are times my thoughts run away and I’m sure we will never find common ground. How could we when we look at something from completely opposite points of view?

“Sometimes what is most important to us is not obvious and can be seen only by how we respond to our husbands in everyday life.” Linda DillowWhat’s It Like to Be Married to Me?

Too often, I let our differences get the best of me and I make unwise choices in how I respond to these differences. How I respond to my husband.

But I am learning. I am learning to quit fighting our differences, to put my fists down and open my hands to the mystery of Christ. Jesus revels in bringing uncommon people together for His common good. He is glorified when two people who under normal circumstances wouldn’t spend 5 minutes together actually like each other. Love each other.  When two people serve Jesus, love not only covers a multitude of sins, it covers a multitude of differences. Unlike any other, His love smooths the bumps, fills the gaps, and heals the wedges between two wildly different people.

There are a million I-am-for-you-and-not-against-you choices I can make for my man and marriage each day, and all those everyday little choices answer to this big one: In spite of our differences, I choose the same team as you, my husband. I choose you.

I choose us.

If you and your spouse {or another loved one} are two wildly different people, would you share a bit of your story with us? How are you different? How do you stay on the same team?

Several of you told me how you considered the Friendship Manifesto from my last post as it related to your spouse. Your comments gave me delicious food for thought, and I thank you so much. If you are interested in downloading a free printable form of that manifesto, please click here.

Kristen Strong, Chasing Blue Skies

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  1. 1

    Wonderful wise words here, Kristen. Thank you for sharing a peek into a marriage between perfect opposites. Such encouragement!

  2. 3

    Just what I needed today as we are struggling in our own marriage ♥ Thanks soo much ♥

  3. 5

    Thanks, Kristen. Always good!

  4. 7
    Victoria says:

    I needed this today!!!

  5. 9

    HERE HERE!!!! My husband and I are POLAR opposites too and let me say the first 10 years were not pretty. the poor server at the restaurant during our 10th anniversary (celebration?) was NOT ready for the buckets of tears I was pouring out while expressing to my husband that I felt not victorious but defeated.

    He’s an artist, “free loving” NON detailed thinker, I’m analytical, He’s affectionate, I’m not so much…he says it’s like hugging a cactus at times. I’m a HUGE communicator, he keeps things to himself, I’m a planner he likes to throw caution to the wind.

    When asked, he tells people – “some marriages are chocolate, vanilla – our is JALAPENO”.

    BUT GOD – He has taught us over the years to SERVE the other’s difference, and it totally takes our thoughts & grievances and transforms them into strength & passion towards the other.

    Thank you for YOUR encouraging story !

    • 10

      Jalapeno marriage ~ Oh my word, that’s awesome. And YES.

      And this right here, Christy: “BUT GOD – He has taught us over the years to SERVE the other’s difference, and it totally takes our thoughts & grievances and transforms them into strength & passion towards the other.” What a way to reflect Christ and His service. Beautiful.

  6. 11

    Great article! My husband and I are opposites and only God could have brought us together. Be blessed:)

  7. 13

    Excuse my chuckles at your describing your marriage — my husband is a retired law enforcement officer — I don’t do well with “authority figures” and came into our marriage out of an abusive marriage. We joked one time about how when I need to talk to him, if he has recently come in from work, he would have to go take off his gun and uniform because I could talk. The pastor who married us talked with us about our vows and we came to the “submit” and I started backing up. Whoa!! Coming from where I came up this “submit” stuff seemed to be a deal breaker. We have been married over 35 years. We are still DIFFERENT and I well remember the day I realized the importance of our differences. When I realized that he was what I needed and thanked God for sending the right man for me . . . the one who is my best friend and has been my biggest supporter . . . even when he didn’t understand me.

    • 14

      Becky, I love your story. And sometimes I think it means more to have their support *especially* when they don’t always get us…and vice versa.

      So grateful for you and your words today!

  8. 15
    Tracey H. says:

    How I loved and laughed reading about your marriage this morning:0)!! I have been married to my Mr.Wonderful for almost 20 years, we began dating at the ages of 17 and 19!! So to say we have grown up together, is so very real and in that process learned that we couldn’t be more different in just about everything, except our love of Jesus and learning more of Him daily!! We disagree respectfully on politics, our families are polar opposites, but we over the years have learned to laugh, embrace and sometimes fight through the differences!! Thanks for this post this morning, I also enjoyed your friendship manifesto very much!!

  9. 17

    This piece really speaks to the male heart too. We dont like the constant tension — the fighting for turf and authority and rights. The idea of letting go allows us to be men — thoughtful, courageous, protective, strong. It’s when we are bunched up with our differences that things get maddeningly crazy and the Big Drift starts. Well written.

    • 18

      David, I’m so thankful for your words here today. I always value a guy’s perspective – it helps me see things from my own guy’s point of view *and* helps me do my part to avoid the “Big Drift.” Thank you!

  10. 19

    Definitely opposites here too.
    God is truly the only reason we haven’t “hurt” each other (permanently). I laugh every time I think of Ruth Bell Graham describing her own struggles with marriage.
    She lovingly referred to it is being “happily incompatible” when anyone asked about her 64 year marriage. She said, “I’ve never thought of divorce but I have thought of murder!”

    I bet that could be said by many of us. Marriage is tough….and actually sticking with it through the thick and thin is something only God can help arrange.

    • 20

      I have never heard that RBG quote…love it! Ha!

      Here’s to being “happily incompatible,” Wanda. {grin} Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom here! They blessed me.

  11. 21
    Krysta says:

    S

  12. 22
    Marissa Williams says:

    Good Morning! Thank you so much for this….as everyone else agrees-totally what I needed today! I have a very superficial comment/question though….the picture at the top of the article with the man wearing the cuff—where oh where could I find that item??? I would love to purchase one not only for my hubby but also for my teenage son! Thank you so much for the encouragement today!!!!

  13. 24
    Krysta says:

    I’ve enjoyed reading about your amazing marriages and how despite your differences yall still love each other so much. I’ve been married 3 years and been dating my husband since I was 18, I am now 25. We have 2 wonderful children together and 1 stepson. Lately it seems as if our differences are pulling us apart, how do I overcome them when they go agaisnt my faith and the ways I’ve grown in loving God. I’ve recently had a radical heart change in my faith that I didn’t have when we first got together. Now I’m trying to raise my children in loving God and following after Him and I myself have become more passionate about these things as well. Yet our differences lie in the fact that my husband doesn’t like my change, doesn’t want to change his heart and follow after God the way I do, and his idea of my requirement as his wife now hurt my heart, it was the old me. How do I overcome these differences? I know prayer but in the meantime give into to his desires even though it hurts me in the long run? Sorry for such a troubled post in the midst of so much joy. I just feel lost and disconnected from God because I don’t know what to do.

    • 25
      Heather says:

      Krysta,

      I’m so sorry to hear such hurt. Do you mind sharing what things he expects of you that you feel run contrary to your faith? Often it can be difficult for your spouse to accept personal change in you when you’ve grown up together because it forces them to look at themselves and ask if they need to change as well. Yes, continue to pray, dear sister. Also, as Paul says, be an example in your life, your love, your respect of him. Even if he is doing things or making choices that you don’t agree with, ask God to help you respect him as the leader. Often, as our attitude towards our husbands change, their attitudes toward us soften as well. Praying for you, friend.

      • 26
        Krysta says:

        Most arguments arise from Him not setting a good example for the my boys by attending church with us. My oldest often asked me why do I have to go if daddy doesn’t ? He has made me feel inferior to himself because he is very consumed with his own body image. He also grew up in a very sexually perverted atmosphere. So his idea of marriage is me meeting all his sexual desires even if I don’t feel comfortable doing them often times I’m referred to as boring if I refuse to entertain his desires .

    • 27
      Shelley says:

      Hi Krysta. Thank you for sharing, and you don’t ever need to apologize for your story, and especially here where we are are here for you with open ears, hearts, and minds. You are a child of the Most High Living God, and you are a beautiful gift; His gift. I’m rejoicing that you’ve had a radical heart change and that God is the reason for it! Continue in prayer, and pray all in Jesus name, for your husband, yourself, your marriage, your boys; your family as a whole. Dig into the Word and pray the words as they are written; when we speak (pray) the Word, then we are saying (praying) exactly what God says about our circumstance(s); it will not return to us void. Isaiah 55:11 says “So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it” (NAS). Strengthen and protect yourself everyday by putting on the armor of God (this is found in Ephesians 6:10-20). For your husband, pray everyday Ephesians 1:17-23. Recently, I found and have been praying for my husband “Praying for My Husband from Head to Toe” by Renee Swope, at ReneeSwope.com (it’s awesome!). Claiming the blood of Jesus as a hedge of protection around you, your husband and your children is crucial, because the devil flees in terror when you do, and the light of Christ prevails. In reference to your husbands sexual desires, try to appease him in ways that you are comfortable doing. For example, purpose yourself to hug, kiss, and carress him in a non-sexual manner; speak lovingly and kindly to him about his good qualities; remind him of what it was that made you fall in love with him. Do non-sexual favors for him without him asking you; such as “honey-do’s” you know he’d appreciate your help with, greeting him with his favorite drink when he arrives home from work (my husband’s is iced tea), cook him his favorite meal, give him a shoulder or foot massage as he unwinds from work, bake him his favorite dessert, etc., and communicate with him every chance you have. Talk to him and be open, honest, gentle, and loving. Take interest in his thoughts on matters, listen to him, and encourage him when he has “healthy” thoughts or ideas. I find that when I do these things with my husband that the beauty of our sexual relationship is strengthened and the fleshly desires are put off. We, as women and wives, must put into our relationship that which we desire to have, and as we live and walk as an example of that, our husbands will follow. Change is a process. There is no set time for it to reach completion, but it will occur. As we continue to strive for that change in ourself, our husband, our marriage, and/ or our children, we will grow in strength and faith. I’m standing and believing with you, Krysta, my sister, and I know that “Faithful is He who calls you, and He will bring it to pass”
      (I Thessalonians 5:24).

    • 28

      Darling Krysta, never feel the need to apologize for sharing troubles. We sisters here are a safe place for you, and we all choose messy real over plastic fake. Your Father in Heaven does, too. I echo the sentiments of Heather and Shelley here…may you know in your heart of hearts your Father hears your anguished cries, that He is for you and not against you, and He will help you in this time of need {Psalm 118:5, Psalm 46:1}. May God renew your strength as you keep on keeping on.

      Krysta, when one person in a marriage is an unbeliever, no doubt you face twice the battles. May I suggest a website that comes highly recommended? It is http://www.ecounseling.com. From this website you can put in a zip to find a counselor who’s close. It was set up by the American Association of Christian Counselors. Maybe some kind, listening real live ears can offer further encouragement to your heart and marriage? Get some godly perspective on how to best approach your husband’s wishes that make you uncomfortable? Just wanted to put that out there.

      In the meantime, know your sisters are holding you tightly in prayer, and we will continue to be a safe space for you. Much love…

  14. 29
    Bonnie Jean says:

    What do you do when you are total opposites and only one of you is Christian ? When it sometimes feels like Satan is sitting across the table from you ?
    When your Christianity is “restricted” by your spouse ?
    When he does not allow you to give as you feel lead ?
    When you disagree on every single thing except that you both hate the Yankees ?

    • 30

      Bonnie Jean, my heart aches with yours. I’m so sorry for the difficulty you’re facing. When your spouse is not a Christ follower, you undoubtedly face challenges beyond those described in my post. Did you see Krysta’s comment right above yours? Her story may be of some comfort to you as well as the supportive comments written in response.

      I’m praying for you, cherished one, that God would show you when/how to act and when to quietly wait. He loves you so much and cares for you deeply. Your sisters here do, too. Much love.

  15. 31
    Tracy in NJ says:

    Yes polar opposites! And not at all in the same place spiritually but the Lord has promised me my husband will love and serve Him one day. He also let me know (heavy sigh) it would NOT be soon, so still praying for Go to change His mind on the second point. Sometimes the hardest thing for me is helping my husband realize we are on the same team and everything does not need to be a battle. I try to compromise on everything that is not essential and explain my point of view when I can lure him out of fightin’ mode. I’d like to recommend a great book that addresses this very topic: Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. Wish I had read it 20 years ago!

  16. 32

    Chrid and I are alike in many ways. We parent similar, we both love books and mostly we love traveling together. However our love languages are totally different. He needs to hear my words and I need to see his service. After 13 years of marriage we still have many days where it feels and looks like we are on different planets. But through Christ our marriage works and Christ works through our marriage.
    Thanks for sharing your heart.

  17. 33
    Sarah H. says:

    My husband and I are VERY different. I was raised, sort of baptist, but mostly with no religion at all. My family is full of free spirited people, who drink, and have very little marital success. We are loud and like to have parties. I grew up drinking and taught to “play the field”.

    Then their is my husband, he is from a strong Pentacoastal family. He was 21 and never even been to a bar! He was raised to save himself for marriage, and was so socially ackward, that most people told me to let him go.
    We have been together for 10 years and married for 8. We are still very different but have found some comprimises. But mostly, we each have openned our hearts to hear each others thoughts and stories. Even though we have different ways, ultimately we are both trying to accomplish the same tasks. I don’t think election years will EVER be easy for us! But in the end we are both working for God.

  18. 34
    Amber Kemp says:

    I love this-my husband and I are very different in a lot of ways, but our differences have brought about a newfound appreciation for just how amazing God is in finding someone that “balances us out” and knowing exactly what we need in a spouse. Learning to embrace the differences and not allow them to lead me to anger/unwise choices. Enjoying the journey. <3

  19. 35

    We’ve held together by the grace of God for almost 33 years (the 17th of this month). I once heard grace defined as the Glue God uses to fill in our gaps. My husband and I have more gaps than I can count due to our differences. The road has been extremely difficult, some from our differences and some from our family of origin issues, Like a nasty zit, things came to a head 3 years ago and almost destroyed us. But once again, the Glue held us together as God did amazing things in our hearts and minds and used amazing people. We are closer than we’ve ever been, and we’ve enjoyed INTIMACY I’ve longed for; not sexual, but emotional and spiritual.

    So thank you, Kristen, for sharing about your marriage and reminding me how blessed I am.

    • 36
      Trudi Stigge says:

      A little funny story here…….Jim and I were basically all but advised NOT to get married after our pre-marriage counseling with Pastor Behrend (at the time). The biggest point loss on our “test” was due to the fact that Jim was the oldest in his family, and I was the youngest in mine. I have to smile and laugh at the memory, because, yes, we were different in so many ways, but the devotion and love we had for each other would never have been broken in 20 lifetimes. Reminiscing over the 40+ years we shared, I think it may have been the differences that kept us going. Neither one of us were the kind to “do everything together”, and I think that would have destroyed us. We were happy to do our separate interests and then excitedly come together for our joint interests. I still chuckle remembering when one of the janitors at East ran into Jim the first time after school when he was coming to see me after work……………..She absolutely could not fathom that Jim and I were a couple–he in his welder hat (possibly on backwards at the time!) and Nomex work clothes AND me in my professional teacher attire. She actually was leery that he might be an intruder to the school building!!! Little did/does she know what a beautiful relationship we shared!

  20. 37
    Heather Bireley says:

    My husband and I are complete opposites. I am such a Type A with capital letters and he is such a Type C . He is so very passive. I struggle so much. I think the thing that keeps me here is that I know that I do love him no matter what and when I can think clearly enough to remember that, I can work through the issues. Our biggest struggle is his daughter from a previous marriage. She and I do not always have the best relationship. She has been with us since she was 4 and she is now 17. I am trying to hear God talk to me with this relationship as I know how much it hurts him to see us fight. He loves both of us.

  21. 38

    As I read some of the responses I realized something that my husband and I strive to practice — it is to celebrate the differences . . . I depend (most of the time) on his “monotonous/seldom get excited–ness” to keep my “tigger-ness” grounded. God brought us together for a reason and I think this is a small part of it.

  22. 39

    Interestingly, we were very different before marriage. But as we became one in marriage, we began to be joined in other areas…religion, politics, interests…We still have our differences and are NOT exactly alike, but we have to deal with differences less and less every year.

  23. 40

    Wow, Kirsten. I have been searching for the past two years for another person to put into words this experience of loving someone so very different than yourself – and then marrying them. My husband and I didn’t meet in church or at college – we met salsa dancing. He’s Mexican and Catholic. I’m an American mutt and a non-Catholic Christian mutt, too. He speaks Spanish first, and I speak English first. We get a kick out of each other a lot of the time, but sometimes, it’s downright maddening. What resonates so deeply with me is this statement: “Jesus revels in bringing uncommon people together for His common good. He is glorified when two people who under normal circumstances wouldn’t spend 5 minutes together actually like each other. Love each other. When two people serve Jesus, love not only covers a multitude of sins, it covers a multitude of differences.” Amen to that! We do have more than a few things in common, but I’m learning that the most important commonality really is love for Jesus, because He is the superglue that holds our love together and shows us the way of love through a maze of differences. And we can’t really take credit for that love! But, like you, we often have to remind each other that we are on the same team. We are FOR each other, for US. And God is FOR us. So we can’t fail.

  24. 41
    Beth Williams says:

    My hubby and I are opposites in many ways. He is introvert and I am a little extrovert, love to travel–he would rather stay home.

    We’ve learned over the years to compromise and make this marriage that God put together work!

    AMEN Great post Kristen!

  25. 42

    I wouldn’t call us complete “polar opposites” as far as personalities go – we have differences, but we also overlap in some areas. So while we do have conflicts, we also balance each other in a wonderful way.

    The biggest difference we have is in our family backgrounds. I come from a large, laid-back family. He comes from a small, extremely close-knit family. Our ideas of what constituted appropriate boundaries with our parents were TOTALLY opposite when we got married! It took a couple of years for us to get on the same page in that area. Lots of fights, lots of heartache, lots of drama. Especially around holidays. Good LORD how I used to dread the holidays! It’s getting better as time goes by.

    The thing that really made it click for us was the “Boundaries” books – you can’t change other people, the only person you can change is yourself. They put it this way in the books: “You don’t put a fence around your yard to tell your neighbor what to do with his yard!” That made SO much sense. Really helped us figure things out.

  26. 43

    I love this! It’s such a relief to know I’m not the only one married to a man who is very different from her. We agree on most of the important stuff, but we DO everything differently. We’d screw in a lightbulb differently if we could! Sometimes it’s frustrating, but after 27 years it’s almost comical.

  27. 44

    I’ve been in a relationship with a wonderful man I met at my church. By God’s design we’ve been dating almost two years this month. We are both older (47 and 50) and set in our ways, such that polar opposites barely graze the surface of our differences. Kyle embraces those differences and I, quite honestly find myself in a personal battle with myself some of the time. This is such an encouraging post and speakers to my heart in many many ways, as we are talking about getting married. No official proposal. But I know it’s God’s Plan for us. Thank you for showing me a little more solid ground. As I grow in my faith God reveals his message and devine design for my life. You are ALL a blessing to me.

  28. 45
    Debbie Martin says:

    I’ve been in a relationship with a wonderful man I met at my church. By God’s design we’ve been dating almost two years this month. We are both older (47 and 50) and set in our ways, such that polar opposites barely graze the surface of our differences. Kyle embraces those differences and I, quite honestly, find myself in a personal battle with myself some of the time. This is such an encouraging post and speakers to my heart in many many ways, as we are talking about getting married. No official proposal. But I know it’s God’s Plan for us. Thank you for showing me a little more solid ground. As I grow in my faith God reveals his message and devine design for my life. You are ALL a blessing to me.

  29. 46

    I am a new wife of just over 1 year… this past year has been spent fully realizing how incredibly different we are and allowing those differences to either make us fiercely in tune or fiercely disconnected… I am confrontational, he hates any conflict. I need to be organized and he barely notices if the house is a disaster. I need solitude to rejuvenate and he loves people… I need days off, relaxation, vacations, and he feels great when he is working really hard… These have been a challenge to say the least and it is so good to hear that this is not unusual and continues to be a struggle for people married longer than us… But yes it is in the moments that we choose each other over ourselves that we become a little more like Christ and a little less like we were before… *Thank you*

  30. 47

    I love this article! My husband and I are complete opposites. He is very introverted and hates small talk and is very quiet when around people he doesn’t know. I can talk to anyone about any subject. Jonathan likes to play video games and hates anything dramatic. I love to watch dramatic shows and read books full of drama. The only thing we really have in common is Jesus. We approach everything from a different angle, but I choose to look at our different natures as a blessing. We balance each other out in most areas of life. He’s teaching me to be more laid back, and I’m teaching him how to be more comfortable in social situations. When faced with a problem, we’ve learned to ask for advice from the other person because we know that we will get a completely different point of view.

    By celebrating our differences instead of fighting them, we have reached uncommon common ground. I enjoy that he is not exactly like me. I like that we have different views because ultimately we line up completely in our faith. We both love the Lord and want to serve him which is all that truly matters. Thank you for this article. :)

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