Dealing with differences in marriage is a stepping stone to having a fulfilling marriage. The more time you spend with your spouse, the easier it is to recognize these differences.
In this article, we’ll help you discover, work together, and reconcile your differences so you can complement each other, enrich, and strengthen your marriage.
Have you said any of these statements before?
We are so different! We don’t have anything in common. They just don’t get me.
You probably have. The truth is: every human being is different. We hear it time and time again. But do you completely understand how this can effect your marriage?
Because without accepting that we are all unique individuals, it will be harder for you to reconcile the differences you have with your spouse.
When you first start dating your spouse, everything is new and exciting. You have no problem going the extra mile, being extra patient, and overlooking certain things.
After the newness wears off, you settle in because you are more comfortable with each other. And then you start noticing some of the little (or even unnecessary arguments) you have with your spouse is because of your differences.
The most common differences in marriage:
⇒ Personality differences.
One of you may be an extrovert and the other an introvert. One of you may be a jokester while the other is more serious.
One of you might love spontaneity and the other likes plans and spreadsheets.
⇒ Different preferences.
You will both probably have very different ways of doing the most basic things like folding the laundry, washing dishes, keeping things organized (or not), and even how you spend your free time.
⇒ Cultural differences/Family background.
What cultural background does either one of you come from? Marcus is from a Ghanaian background, Ash is from an American background.
Growing up in two different families is similar to growing up in two different cultures.
What we enjoy eating, the holidays we celebrate, how we view life, style of dressing, etc. is based on our cultures.
⇒ Religious differences.
We both shared a common belief. But, then years later in our marriage, Ash divorced religion altogether. However, at the core, we still have the same values.
In some marriages, both couples come from two very different religious backgrounds.
⇒ Age difference.
One spouse can be older than the other.
Age differences can add very different points of view when you make certain decisions. E.g. When to retire.
⇒ Financial differences.
Together, do you agree about your views on money?
The most common difference when it comes to finances is deciding how you spend your money.
You might both have very different ideas on how much money you should save, spend, or invest. One of you might be all for getting out of debt, while the other sees it as a natural part of life.
⇒ Educational difference.
One spouse might have a Higher Education than the other. Or, you may have an education in very different fields or subjects.
⇒ Sexual differences.
Yep, statistically speaking, one spouse will most likely have a higher sex drive, and the other lower.
Sexual interests, fantasies, and desires may differ too. These things can usually be worked out with effective communication, empathetic listening, and compromise.
⇒ Political differences.
Politics is becoming one of the top irreconcilable differences in marriage.
Especially when one spouse supports Party A, whereas the other supports Party B.
It’s okay to have differences.
Your differences make you who you are. A unique human being.
By respecting each other’s differences, and finding a compromise that works for both of you, you can not only reconcile these differences but create a stronger partnership in your marriage.
Sometimes you have to just accept your personality differences.
For example, Ash will never be a morning person, and she likes to get outside and socialize and go on adventures. Marcus prefers to stay home and has no problem getting up in the morning.
These differences could create a rift between a couple, or you can do what we did. Accept each other’s differences for what they are, a part of WHO your spouse is. See them as a balance to your personality, a Ying to your Yang.
Furthermore, you will have to agree to disagree. Because in certain situations, there is no “right” way of doing things, just your way and your spouse’s way.Your differences make you who you are. A unique human being.Click To Tweet
Now, use the steps below to discover and reconcile your differences, so you can build the fulfilling marriage you both desire.
How to discover and reconcile differences in your marriage.
Have a conversation and verbalize the differences you each see.
Discuss how you differ from each other. Then observe these differences.
Make a list of your similarities and differences. By doing this you will be able to communicate them better and see how you compliment each other.
You can start by focusing on your unique talents, personality, and skillsets.
How can you support each other’s weaknesses with your strengths?
Talk about how you can reconcile your differences. Find where you balance each other out.
From our experience, being married is all about finding middle ground and figuring out how to work together as a team.
Like if one of you is an introvert and the other an extrovert, talk about how many events you would both be willing to attend together, and individually in a given month.
Find out how much alone (and socializing) time you each thrive on and desire. The extrovert can stay in sometimes for the introvert. And the introvert can sometimes go out with the extrovert. And sometimes you can both do your own thing!
The key here is finding a balance that you are both happy with.
Never try to guilt your spouse into doing anything your way.
You may not even realize you are doing this, so be aware of the words you choose to plead your case.
Avoid “You never/always” statements.
Respect your spouse’s answers, and their right to say no.
Yes, your spouse can say “No” to you! Just as you can to them.
Because boundaries within your marriage are necessary for a healthy relationship to thrive.
Find a way to have fun with your differences. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Add some fun. 🙂
Come up with 3 creative things you can do to celebrate your differences this year. E.g. Teaching your spouse one of your hobbies, or taking part in one of their hobbies.
Reconciling your differences may not be easy.
In fact, it can be very challenging for many married couples to shift their mindset from viewing their differences as hindrances, to seeing them as strengths.
But having differences is a very important element of a healthy marriage with an equal partnership.
It will, therefore, take some time to adjust and synergize your differences.
4 Ways your differences strengthen your marriage
1. Enriches your marriage.
You can use your unique qualities to achieve and accomplish more by becoming a great pair. 🙂
For example, Ash writes better than Marcus, but Marcus is more tech-savvy. We’ve combined our talents to bring you this very website, as well as become Romance/Women’s Fiction Authors.
By combining our unique talents and world views, we are able to write and publish insightful marriage articles like this one for you.
2. Promotes unity.
Knowing your differences will help you to stop competing against each other by fostering unity in your marriage.
You don’t have to be the best at everything.
Let your partner take the lead where their strengths come into play and you do the same when you’re better at the subject.
3. Encourages gratitude.
Your individual differences also help you to support and appreciate your spouse especially in the areas you aren’t skilled/competent in.
Your spouse becomes your helpmate and is always making sure your blindspot is covered.
4. Grow together.
Due to your differences, there is something new you can learn from each other.
Simply by discussing and learning more about what makes you two different, you will be strengthening your bond and growing together as a couple.
Also, your spouse can teach you something you have little knowledge about, but they are well versed in it. And vice versa.
A common personality difference in marriage.
One of you is a night owl, and the other is a bright and cheery morning person.
In the beginning, you had no problem messing up your sleep schedule and daily rhythm to spend every waking minute with your spouse. But the lack of sleep has caught up with you.
You start noticing certain things that didn’t bother you before give you headaches now.
You may find you aren’t as quick to offer help with something or have as much patience as you did in the beginning. Maybe you start taking each other for granted.
These are just our natural different personalities that come to light – not that things such as patience can’t be worked on.
Examples of areas were we differ as a couple.
Ash: Likes spontaneity, is more empathetic and emotionally intelligent, and jumps headfirst.
Marcus: Likes to plan, is practical, analytical, and detail-oriented. He likes to think of all possible outcomes to weigh the risks before making decisions.
Do you see how different we are?
Yes, this has been the cause of many arguments, until we learned that each of those traits, complement each other and balances one another out.
Ash helps Marcus loosen up, enjoy life, and take a leap. She helps Marcus learn how to identify what he’s feeling and then communicate that, in turn helping him become a better communicator.
Marcus helps Ash squeeze the breaks and think through possibilities she might not have considered before.
Keep this in mind:
Your differences can change over time.
One of us is an introvert, and one of us is more of an extrovert. Although sometimes it just depends on the day or event.
Will this change? Possibly.
As married couples, we should all be growing together and changing throughout our life. That’s one reason why you should never stop pursuing to know your husband or wife.
Even if you have known them 5, 10, 20 years, there is always something new you can learn. Always!
Sit down and work together with your spouse to figure out how you can harmoniously embrace and use your differences to strengthen your marriage.
And of course, your life.
Because if you don’t handle your marriage differences well, it would add stress and unwanted fights or heated arguments to your relationship.
Now, go celebrate your differences. It’s what makes you and your spouse unique!
How different are you from your spouse?
How are your differences making your marriage stronger?
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