This is part two of a two-part series of guest posts written by my friend Andrew. My friend Andrew has thought a lot of the issue of marriage and he and his wife have really done an amazing job. I thought we could all benefit by absorbing his tips and experiences.
Some Thoughts on Marriage (Part 2 of 2)
Continuing on from my Part 1 post, here are a couple more things that I have learned about marriage that I don’t think I really understood before (at least not to the same extent) I was married:
Men and women are different…and that’s okay!
In general, men are logical and physical, and women are emotional and relational. Taken to the extreme, men can be cold and uncaring, and women can be led purely by their emotions and inappropriately compromising. By coming together in marriage men and women can really work together and learn from each other. In marriage, expect each other to be different, and expect to learn a lot from your spouse.
If I’m very frustrated, my normal reaction as a male is to kick something. Something like a steel door or a brick wall. If my wife is frustrated or overwhelmed, her normal reaction as a female is to cry. As a man, I only cry when something is really wrong…like my both my arms and legs were accidentally amputated. As a woman, my wife would only consider hitting something if the situation was really desperate. God made men and women special, equal, complementary…and very different.
Now that my wife and I have children, I have discovered just how much the difference between the sexes is innate, and not learned. Last week my wife took some food over to a friend of hers who had undergone an operation and was out of commission. She brought our two young sons with her, who played with her friend’s three young daughters. My wife later told me what she had overheard: Girl to her sisters and to my son: “Let’s play princesses. We can dress up in our princess dresses. You [to my son] can pretend to be a prince!”. My son’s reply: “I don’t want to be a prince, I want to be a tiger-shark!”
Two different people = different expectations.
Though it is obvious enough, it helps to realize and acknowledge that in marriage the husband and wife are two different people. Two different sexes. Two different backgrounds and upbringings. Therefore you should expect to have different ideas of what the different aspects of your marriage will be like. One spouse might expect to have three children because they came from a three child family, the other doesn’t want children. One spouse expects to celebrate Christmas Day with their family, the other expects to alternate. And so on.
This brings us back to two things that I have come to realize: One should enter into marriage with an open mind and realize that there are many ways to do things, and often it doesn’t really matter as long as husband and wife can agree on which way works for them. The other thing is premarital counseling – it will help you both to identify your expectations as well as areas that might lead to conflict in your marriage. By the way, it’s never too late to go for premarital counseling, even if you’ve been married for several years. And on that note, a word of caution: if you are having difficulties in your marriage please don’t harden your heart – seek help before it’s too late. Contrary to popular understanding, divorce makes things more difficult, not easier. Many church pastors are professionally trained to provide marriage counseling.
UPDATE: I spotted this related post on the importance of marriage on Hot Air.