Thursday, April 26, 2012

Making Your Strengths Available to Her

There’s an old saying about relationships, which says that opposites attract. While that often causes us frustration, it is actually a rather important part of making a couple work well together. Unfortunately, all too often, we let the frustration overcome the benefits, allowing those differences to pit us against one another, instead of using them to benefit one another.

I remember the very first couple who came to my wife and I for marriage counseling. She started off by saying, “every time the Lord shows me something from the Bible and I share it with my husband, he comes back with something totally different.” My response to that was, “What a blessing.” You see, while she was seeing it as disagreement between the two of them, I was seeing it as a way for them to receive more. If she learned one thing from the verse and he learned another; when they shared what they learned, they’d have twice as much.

That short discussion illustrates so well the way that we typically approach our differences. Instead of seeing those differences as strengths that we can use to help our spouse, we all tend to see them as points of contention. As long as we’re busy arguing about our differences, we’ll never gain anything from them.

It takes time and effort to learn to understand those differences and how they can be a help. My wife and I have catalogued a whole list of differences between us. But, instead of me getting frustrated with her, because she’s not as organized as I am, we have come to realize that when it comes time to organize something, I’m the one to do it. I don’t berate her lack of ability, I use my ability for her benefit.

One of the areas in which my wife is much stronger than I am is in research. When I get on the Internet, looking for some data about something, I get lost. Rarely can I find what I want. On the other hand, my wife can find anything on the Web. Not only that, but she enjoys spending hours doing so. Me? I’m bored after five minutes.

Each and every difference, characteristic and ability that we find in ourselves and each other exists for a purpose. When we learn how to use those, differences to the benefit of the couple, then we start to become strong. Then we begin to see a multiplication of our ability. Then we truly start to advance.

When you see that your wife isn’t as good as you are at something, don’t belittle her for it; see it as an area where you can help her. I don’t mean helping her by teaching her how to have your strength, but by using your strength for her benefit. If your wife needs to us the computer for her work, but isn’t all that good at it, help her. Develop aids which will make it easier for her. Find better ways for her. Even do some of the work for her, if that’s what it takes.

You see, marriage isn’t about what you can do as an individual; it’s about what you can do as a couple. If helping her do something makes you more successful as a couple, then it’s worth doing; in fact, it’s probably more worth doing than what you do to make yourself successful as an individual.

Let her benefit from your strengths. Don’t just expect her to be a help to you; become a help to her. Is that romantic? You bet it is. It’s romantic, because it helps you to function as one in your daily life. 

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