In at least one aspect, marriage is like football.   In a close game, the winning team is usually the one that made the most significant adjustments in strategy along the way.   That's what effective coaches do at halftime--give their players the key adjustments that will gain them the advantage in the final quarters.

A winning marriage requires the same mind-set.   A husband and wife need to recognize that surprises requiring proactive adjustments await them in their relationship.   Barbara and I were no exception.   Perhaps the biggest adjustment we faced early in marriage resulted from our differing backgrounds.   Barbara grew up in a nice suburban setting near Chicago and later in a suburb of Houston.   I grew up in Ozark, Missouri, a tiny town in the sticks.   Barbara came into our marriage a refined young lady.   I was a genuine hillbilly.   In some ways, we seemed to have come from two different countries, and on some issues, different galaxies.

Some issues triggering the need for adjustments in marriage are major: being raised in a dual- or single-parent family; being an only child or growing up with several siblings; coming from an economically challenged family or a family that had it all; growing up with parents who did not embrace religious faith.   The list goes on and on: opposite personalities, differing cultural backgrounds.

Minimally, a couple will have to adjust to differing traditions, values, habits, and rules learned in unique backgrounds.   As time passes, other adjustments to sexual performance, financial pressures, and job demands may be required.   And let's not forget a big adjustment in a small package--spelled B-A-B-Y!   That's right:   the first child.

Often the minor differences cause the most frustration and require the most creative flexibility.   Someone has said, "We are worn down less by the mountain we climb than by the grain of sand in our shoe."

One of those tiny grains of sand can be the toilet seat.   The husband may come from a family of all boys where the toilet seat's default position was up.   If this guy marries a girl from a family of all girls, where the seat remained in the horizontal dimension, you know the potential for conflict and the need for adjustment.