Well, of course, that’s just one side of the story. Seems my "fun and outgoing" quickly started to get "annoying and loud," and the virtuous part of the virtuous woman Ken thought he married suddenly became judgmental and demanding.

I went into marriage certain I could, if not change, at least tweak the parts of Ken’s personality that weren’t quite what I’d ordered. I spent too many years on that frustrating project. I finally gave up. It was impossible. He was impossible.

With tears, and a lot of prayer, I conceded that, much as I loved him, I was stuck with a man who didn’t have a hospitable bone in his body, who didn’t share my deepest dream (to have twelve children!) and whose inner alarm clock didn’t go off until ten a.m., while mine rang sharply at six.

How could we have been so wrong about our compatibility? Was there any hope?

Long before we said, "I do," we settled one thing: we meant it when we vowed "till death do us part." So once the option of changing the other person was off the table, that left acceptance as our only recourse.

A funny thing happened on the way to acceptance. I woke up one morning and realized that not only had I slept in a bit, but Ken was already up and at ’em. Our clocks gradually continued to adjust, and for the past ten years, we’ve pretty much risen and gone to bed at the same time. A small miracle.

Our first (unplanned) son was such a blessing that Ken decided he wanted another one — at least one — right away. By the time we had four, it seemed like a dozen and I couldn’t have been happier.

And this woman who wasn’t content unless she had someplace to go and some people to see, now cherishes her time at home. So much so that my ever-more-outgoing husband sometimes has to persuade me to go out with him.

On the way home from church last Sunday, he planned a spur-of-the-moment dinner for twenty (twenty!) at our house, and as I questioned his timing — and the size of his guest list — I couldn’t help but laugh at how far we’ve come.

The Lord knew exactly what He was doing when He brought two very different people together. We just had to figure out how to work with Him.

Discussion:

Read Genesis 2:18 and Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

In what ways are you and your spouse opposites?

How did those differences cause you to be attracted to each other? Did marriage change your perspective?

In what ways do your differences cause conflict between you?

Have you seen ways that God uses your opposite traits to strengthen you individually? As a couple?
 
Originally posted December 30, 2005.


Deborah Raney's first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title. Her books have won the National Readers' Choice Award, RITA Award, Silver Angel for Excellence in Media, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. She and her husband, Ken Raney, have been married for 37 years. They have four children, and four grandchildren, and enjoy small- town life in Kansas. Visit Deborah's website at http://www.deborahraney.com.

Tobi Layton is a fifth grade teacher and freelance writer. Tobi has been married for ten years to Ryan Layton, a high school biology teacher. Tobi and Ryan have three small sons and enjoy a menagerie of goats, sheep, dogs, cats and deer on their farm in southeast Missouri.

Tobi Layton is the daughter of Ken and Deborah Raney. The Raneys and the Laytons share an August 11 wedding anniversary.