It happens- opposites do attract. My husband and I knew that as soon as we started dating. He is a deep thinker – thoughtful, artistic, incredibly hard working – everything I am not. It was those differences that drew us together in the first place.
A friend once told me not to worry about whether someone was my same temperament, but to make sure we agreed on all of our priorities. That is certainly true in our marriage. We agree on almost everything, but it was such a new experience to see a fresh and exciting perspective on the same subject. It wasn’t always this way, though.
It’s one of the most natural things in the world to want to share your life with someone who approaches life as you do. It makes things easier. For marriage, the more you are on the same page, the better for all the practical things that make up daily family life, as well as for the path to eternal life.
In the first weeks of dating each other it became apparent that our differences in how we view the world might create some tension. The opposite qualities that we loved about the other had the potential to become irritants down the line. “Wow, he is so driven,” becomes “doesn’t he ever want to just relax after a normal day of work?”
Here are a few tips we have learned:
1. Pray Together
“Well duh,” you may think, but it is often amazing to us how just a little time spent in prayer can change the whole flow of a difficult conversation. We like to hold hands while we are praying to give each other that human connection. When you have a chance to reflect with the Lord on your shortcomings, you will often find the misunderstanding is now completely gone.
2. Pay Attention to the Little Things
Generally I get an F on this one. During the first six months of marriage, my husband would have some brilliant surprise to celebrate another month of marriage, and I would be mortified that I had forgotten it yet again. Finally, thanks to writing notes, calendar appointments, etc. I started catching up with him. Now it is a little game we play called “Who can be the first to wish each other happy x month anniversary.” What laughter and fun this simple game has brought into our lives.
3.Don’t Be Afraid to Cry Together
If you have a problem opening up to people, this one is for you. Anthony Buono sums this up nicely in a post on his blog 6 Stone Jars. he says “It’s very easy to say ‘Don’t worry, be happy,’ but it’s not natural. When we are hurt, we feel sad. And we need to be allowed that time to cry or get through the sadness. A person who allows you to do that is a person who makes you happy.”
4. Accept the Cross
This is the hardest thing about life in general. If you are waiting for “Mr. Right” and think your life will be a fairytale when he comes, you are in for a rough time. Pain accompanies us wherever we are in life. We just have to accept that things won’t always be perfect and learn to live with it. The real beauty in marriage is having your best friend to walk through the pain with you. As always, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI says it the best in his encyclical, Spe Salvi: “It is not by sidestepping or fleeing from suffering that we are healed, but rather by our capacity for accepting it, maturing through it and finding meaning through union with Christ, who suffered with infinite love.”
Last of all pray for each other. Pray for your spouse’s strengths, pray for their weaknesses. Your number one goal is to get your spouse to Heaven. If you don’t pray for your spouse, how exactly do you think you will accomplish that?