When Opposites Attract – Understanding Your Spouse

By Michael & Marlene Griffith, Contributing Writers

Sometimes a marriage can get to a point where no one knows what the problem is. It’s obvious that sin is the issue, but identifying the sin is slow to come. You seek out counsel, follow all the instruction and guidance, pray, pray together, read a book together about sin….

And then weeks later, you’re back to square one.

This was us, for what felt like decades. It was vicious cycle. And we were exhausted. We knew there was sin that was not being dealt with, but little did we know – the sin itself was its own cloak of invisibility.

For us it was because we never took the time to understand the other person. Most people suggest the focus be on things such as:

“Don’t point at the speck in their eye when you have a log sticking out of yours.”

“Look at your own heart first, don’t focus on theirs.”

While all of that is 100% true (we even suggest it to others) there is a possibility that you will miss out on an opportunity to understand and grow closer to your spouse.  There is no cookie cutter formula in dealing with things, each situation is unique.

We struggled for some time, until we realized what it was. One of us is an introvert and the other is an extrovert. It’s funny because this is one of the main things that attracted us to each other. These are the little nuances that brought us together.

The very qualities we fell for in each other were the ones that were draining our marriage. Sin is a sneaky thing, it oozes into our lives where we least expect it.

You may say “Well that’s no big deal, just deal with it” …. or “Well help the introvert become an extrovert”. Well, it’s not that simple, plus we are both confident that God made us this way for a reason; and we are confident it is all part of His design.

We are different. We function differently, very differently. There is no sin in being different, but because we did not understand these things about one another – sin entered into our marriage very quietly and in a very crafty way.

A good question is ~ What’s the bonding agent between these two extremely different people? What are two polar opposite people doing together? Here’s why:

Christ. Thanks be to Him. A husband and wife are one, as God designed it to be.

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24

 

“So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Matthew 19:6

 

How to get through core defining differences

Understanding your spouse provides more opportunities to pray for them, to love them and to serve them, to bear each other’s burdens.

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”Galatians 6: 2

 

In doing so you are solidifying that unity in Christ.

“I therefore, a prisoner of the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”Ephesians 4:1-3

 

Be patient with one another, especially if you do not understand the other’s ways. Remember, just as God created you as you are for His design, He also created your spouse the way they are for His design. Don’t be quick to point, but don’t be quick to retract into yourself either. Talk and gain understanding of your other half.

A husband and wife are one.

“So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Matthew 19:6

 

The moment we “get” our spouse is the moment we truly begin to become one with our spouse and fully realize that our battle is not with them, it is within our hearts. It’s not because of our personality differences, it’s how we allow those differences to justify our sin. It is how sin so creatively throws on that cloak of invisibility and crawls in when you are not looking.

Proverbs 16:16 says: How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.

God knows our hearts and thoughts and every detail of our inner self. Often times, we assume that our spouse does too, and are somehow shocked when they don’t!

Repent and pray for one another.

To be clear, we are not saying one should embrace the sin of their spouse and simply accept it or allow sin to be justified with “that’s just the way I am”, we are saying that it is essential to understand who they are and why they are that way – and through this is the only way you can serve each other as God intended.

Wrapping things up

The heart of the problem has to be identified in order to deal with it.

You can throw a band aid on an issue by walking through the motions of what you know to be right, but it isn’t until you dig the sin out of your heart and turn it over to Him that you can then replace it with something else.  And who better than you spouse to be at your side, in full understanding of your struggles, praying with you and encouraging you.

Are you similar to or different than your spouse? How do you reconcile your differences when it comes to growing in oneness?

Comments

  1. My husband and I are pretty different when it comes to our personalities. We just keep learning to really listen to each other, and get to the root of what the other one is saying. Communication is a constant learning process, but it’s nice to know we have the rest of our lives to perfect the skill. ;) Thankfully, we do agree on all the important stuff, and that’s what matters most!

  2. My husband of 1 year and I are also an introvert extrovert mix. I am the introvert (perfect example that he is out with a couple of friends right now while I have 100 open tabs of blog posts I have been meaning to read). Anyway we have been beginning to navigate the world of understanding each others temperaments and have found that step 1 is really understanding ourselves. I have known I’m an introvert for a while but didn’t know why and what it all means. I recently read a book, The Introvert Advantage, and had so many Ah Ha moments where my own tendencies made more sense. It was a great learning experience for me and in turn I was able to share the book with Andrew who says that it is helping him understand how our brains process differently and that different doesn’t mean one of us is wrong. We have different needs and we are learning how to better provide for each others needs.