Ben and I have a wonderful friendship and marriage. I would say, 96.98455% of the time we are on the same page. That’s saying something considering how incredibly different we are. He loves sports, I hate them. He loves the outdoors, I prefer the comforts of home. He likes the shade, I like the sun. He likes meat, I like bread. The list could go on forever. Even the differences throughout the years have become things we have in common in a sense because we understand each other so well.
This is why I am always so shocked when something comes up between us that at first seems so unresolvable. Clearly there is a very deep and different understanding, perception, desire, or conviction, and it feels as if we will never find a way to carry on. I tend to panic when these issues arise. I find myself thinking horrible thoughts like, “Obviously there is something wrong with this guy. He does not GET it.” Or if I’m feeling humble, which is usually not the case when there is conflict, I might think, “I am a total idiot. I’ll never change enough to make this work.”
By the grace of God, we have always found a way to keep on loving each other.
Friendships can run into these obstacles too. Differences arise. Friends you once felt sure shared your opinion on most everything suddenly have a different understanding, perception, desire, or conviction about something. They have been shaped by experiences you haven’t had, and vice verse.
Sometimes all the differences pain me. Sometimes I panic and retreat from people who I know and love because I’m offended, or feel stupid, or hurt, or confused. Sometimes I hit Ben with plastic hangers. OK, I’ve only done that once, but still.
All that to say, unity is hard – in marriage and in the friendships of life. Making it a priority in my life means dying to self – a lot. It means holding a lot of what I think and feel with open hands. Perhaps my being right is not as important as allowing love to flow freely (and hangers to remain where they belong.)
So, thoughts people? How do we do this? Give me some bloggy love and share your stories of how you have learned how to do this well. I’m all ears.