IN order to safeguard the marriage institution, it is needful to stress the need for couples to embrace compromise in handling their individual differences, so as to prevent such differences from snow balling into irreconcilable ones. With each passing day in my work as a marriage counsellor, it has become the established fact that, in order to stem the tide of divorce and separation confronting the marriage institution, compromise must take the central place in the hearts of married couples.
Couples have differences due to their different backgrounds when growing up. It is these differences that play out in the marriage. These differences are diverse, and of different shades and colours. They cover a wide range of habits such as eating, sleeping, spending, greeting, parenting. Hence, they need to be properly managed by each married couple. In managing the differences, two things are essential, and I will borrow them from the following excerpt:
- Recognize differences.
You first have to know them,but you have to give grace for your uniqueness. No two people in the world area like and that’s never more evident than in a marriage relationship. The more you understand those differences the bette you will be able to grow the strength of the marriage. And, if you live in the grace of marriage you will spend a lifetime in discovery… never believing you have got this person completely figurdout,but always dating, always exploring new dreams together, always learning about each other.
- Respect differences.
It is not enough just to know the differences, you have to accept them. Respect them. This does not mean making excuses for them but fully embracing the other person’s uniqueness as a gift to the marriage and allowing them to work for the marriage rather than against it. I am an introvert. My wife is an extrovert. I can’t always be introverted and respect her extroversion. And vice-versa. I need to talk and listen sometimes for her. She needs to allow quiet sometimes for me, but when we blend the two differences together, we become a power couple for the ministry God has given us.”
Having done the above, the next thing is to make allowance for the differences through compromise. This means employing “give and take” measures in handling such differences. Couples should know that each of them cannot always have his or her ways. Each must be ready to accommodate each other’s differences so as to make the marriage work, and work well. Each couple must be able to harmonize their differences, and arrive at the positive outcomes for the survival of the marriage. Anything short of this will always make the marriage to crash on the altar of irreconcilable differences. As a matter of fact, my position on the issue of irreconcilable differences is that, it is the failure to embrace compromise that gives birth to it. Where we are ready to make compromise, irreconciliable differences will not become an issue. It is when compromise fails that irreconcilable differences succeed. But, couples who desire success in marriage must do all to sustain compromise in the marriage.
In ending this piece, let me also state as a way of encouraging married couples, that our differences are not a minus to us, but a plus. Their is strength in our differences. They should actually make us achieve better results in life. Where one is weak, the other is strong. So, instead of allowing our differences to divide us, we should rather celebrate them as a source of strength in the marriage. It is this realisation of the strength in our differences that makes the issue of comprise an easy thing for us to handle, without feeling being used.
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