Many times Patty and I see things similarly. That is to be expected as we have the same fundamental values, a similar type of social history, and the same Holy Spirit as the core of our identity. When we see things the same way we often feel a sense of confirmation and closeness.
However, when we don’t see things the same way we often find ourselves arguing, getting into fights, and sometimes storming off. I find myself feeling “out of sync” or restless. The interesting thing is that it is in these times that I grow the most. It is through times of disunity that we later find ourselves more unified. Why is that? It is because God uses these time for growth.
A few weeks back I went through a “values exercise.” I had to work through a deck of 50 value cards and identify my top five values: Love, truth, wisdom, loyalty and service. The last one was a shock. Me, a servant? If you only knew how self-centered I was (and still sometimes are) you would be shocked. But there it sat, number 5 out of 50.
God uses a lot of things to transform us into the person we are destined to be. In this case God used Patty, an amazing servant, to change my way of thinking. She naturally falls into service and has literally filled up all of her time in one type of service project or another. This ultimately resulted in us getting into significant fights as she filled one weekend after another with one project after another and dragged me along on each one. She would overcommit and I would get exhausted and then it was on like Donkey-Kong. Huge fight, she would cry, I would feel guilty and apologize, she would slow down for a time and then six months later the cycle would start over. This has been going on for years.
When I saw “service” in my top five values I realized that God had used my wife in a significant way to change how I felt about service. Additionally, God has used our fighting to teach her about rest. God has used our differences to change us. I am a person who loves to serve, but not overcommit, and she is a person who loves to serve but is learning the value of rest. We are both influencing the other, through our differences, to be more and more like Christ, who came to serve but understood the need for rest.
Of course, this is not the only difference I appreciate about her. She is intuitive and I have no sense of intuition. She connects emotionally; I connect physically. She likes to plan; I am more of a “fly by the seat of your pants” guy. She likes to recycle; I like providing people who work in landfills with job security. And the list goes on.
Husbands, this week take some time to think about and thank your spouse for her differences. It is these differences that bring value and variety to our lives. It is the differences that add excitement and depth to our relationship. It is the differences that God uses to shape us into the men we are becoming.