When You Aren’t Feeling Compatible
By: Betsy St. Amant Haddox
I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.- 1 Corinthians 1:10 (ESV)
Some say opposites attract. Others urge couples to marry someone with whom they have lots in common. Regardless of how the relationship starts out, there will almost inevitably come a season in a couple’s life where they aren’t feeling very compatible. People grow and change over the years as individuals, so what perhaps started out as having a lot in common, morphed into having more differences than connections. This can be very discouraging for couples, and even turn into a frequent source of conflict.
In a very tangible sense, compromise is usually the key. If one half of the married couple enjoys science fiction or fantasy movies, and the other prefers documentaries or romantic comedies, take turns. Someone loves Thai food but hates seafood? Simply switch out who gets to choose on every other date night. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does require a generous and patient heart toward your spouse. You might not love the food or activity in question, but you do love your spouse, so there is always a measure of joy to be found in going along with what delights them or brings them happiness. When both people in the marriage do this for each other, unity can be found.
But some areas of differences in marriage don’t always get resolved so easily. Perhaps your frequent incompatibility with your spouse isn’t over surface level decisions such as what to eat or what movie to watch, but rather, are deeper issues of the heart, such as parenting styles, family relationships and even theology. These types of differences can grow wearisome—but take heart! You might not be quite as different as you fear.
Step back from the frequent arguing or disunity, take a breath, and ask yourself these questions.
Does my spouse love God? Do I love God?
Does my spouse desire the best for our family? Do I?
Does my spouse seek to follow after Jesus? Do I?
Does my spouse look to grow our children in the Lord? Do I?
Does my spouse desire unity in our home? Do I?
Does my spouse love me despite our differences? Do I love my spouse?
If the above answers are yes, congratulations! Start there. Instead of fixating on what you can’t change about each other, focus on where you do agree and build on that.
When Paul wrote to the church of Corinth in 1 Corinthians, he urged them toward unity. Not because they were arguing over the color of the carpet in the sanctuary, but because of their leadership and mentality. Some were saying they followed the teachings of Paul, others claimed Apollos or Cephas. Paul was reminding them to drop their pride and keep first things first. To stay united on what really mattered, to be of one mind and one doctrine.
We can learn the same lesson in our marriages. Running with endurance alongside our spouse is a sure way to keep our focus off petty differences and toward common goals. Pray together and ask the Lord to unite you in the areas where it matters most—on His kingdom.
Betsy St. Amant Haddox is the author of over sixteen inspirational romance novels and novellas. She resides in north Louisiana with her drummer of a hubby, two story-telling young daughters, a collection of Austen novels, and an impressive stash of pickle chips. Betsy has a B.A. in Communications and a deep-rooted passion for seeing women restored in Christ. When she's not composing her next book or trying to prove unicorns are real, Betsy can usually be found somewhere in the vicinity of a white-chocolate mocha. Visit her and see a list of books at http://www.betsystamant.com.
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