There are three major things men and women often misunderstand about each other: (1) that we’re different. (2) That the difference is from God. (3) That the differences exist to balance each other. (Unknown)
This week we’d like to revisit the subject of accepting and appreciating each other’s differences as husband and wife.
The main text for this message (in edited form) comes from a book titled, Marriage: Experience the Best by Dr Steve Stephens (which unfortunately, is no longer in print).
We are gleaning some of the ideas conveyed, building upon last week’s points. We hope they will be helpful for your relationship. Please look through the list below to assess which approaches apply to you and your souse, realizing that one style isn’t right and the other wrong (unless they violate moral/biblical principles) —they’re just different.
Looking at Differences
SCURRIERS VS AMBLERS:
Scurriers are always busy. They’re on the move from dawn to dusk, racing from one point to the next. Speed and efficiency are their watchwords—accomplish as much as you can as fast as you can. They’re similar to the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland who’s constantly checking his pocket watch and then rushing off to some very important appointment.
Amblers take their time. They stop and smell the roses. They don’t let the rapid pace of our modern world push them. Amblers set their own pace; they look and listen. Also, they relax and play. They might not do as much, but they enjoy what they do.
The author admits he’s the Scurrier and his wife is the Ambler. But he eventually realized they could both help each other in their approaches to life. As he said, “I need to slow down and look for lilac bushes more often. Tami’s ambling helps me to relax and enjoy life more. She encourages me to take my time and savor the moment. It’s a good balance; I slow down and she speeds up. In the process we’ve both come to appreciate and accept each other’s different paces.”
Do you recognize yourselves as having either of these qualities?
And then there are:
THINKERS VS FEELERS:
Thinkers focus on their head—seeking facts and principles. They seek truth and want to make sure they get all the facts straight. They base decisions on objective data and everything else is irrelevant. If they step on somebody’s toes or hurt their feelings, then that’s just the way life is. Truthfully, they probably didn’t even notice the impact they had. Thinkers tend to be task oriented and often see Feelers as overly concerned with pleasing others.
Feelers focus on people and emotions. They focus on their heart as they seek peace and harmony and want everybody to be happy. They base decisions on subjective information and show great concern about the impact on others. Feelers tend to be relationship oriented and often view thinkers as insensitive.
Which one of these traits do you have? What about your spouse?
In our culture, 75 per cent of men are thinkers and 75 per cent of women are feelers. Keep in mind that Thinkers have feelings and Feelers do think. It’s just that they process situations with a different focus.
Like so many differences, balance is the key. Truth without sensitivity can be cruel even a sensitivity without truth can be misguided sentimentality. We need both truth and sensitivity.
There are also:
DREAMERS VS WORKERS:
Dreamers are creative people who love to come up with ideas. They’re optimistic and oriented toward the future. They can drive workers crazy and frequently have their head in the clouds; whereas Workers have their feet firmly planted on the ground. Dreamers say, “Workers are stuck in a rut and have no vision. They’re wet blankets who emphasize the negative and tell me why something won’t work.”
Workers are practical. They like to take other people’s ideas and make them happen. But they also tend to be pessimistic and focus on the present. They can drive Dreamers crazy and discourage them. One Worker said, “She comes up with all these great projects, but never follows through and puts them into action.”
Dr Steve Stephens says that he’s a Dreamer who loves to come up with new ideas where his wife Tami, is a Worker. But they’ve learned to make it work for them in their marriage in the following ways.
Here are a few of them:
When “I tell her about my latest idea Tami has learned to humor and help me. She listens to my ideas then tells me what she thinks will work and what won’t.
It used to offend me when she wasn’t excited about my dreams. She’s usually not excited about certain ideas because they’re impractical, and she’s usually right. I’ve learned to trust her over the years. We make a good team.
I stretch her in creative ways she never imagined, and she reminds me of my limitations and responsibilities. She encourages me to dream; but like a kite, she keeps me connected to the ground. When the wind takes me too high, she pulls me back to reality. It’s a wonderful arrangement as long as we appreciate the differences.”
Additionally, there are:
COLLECTORS VS TOSSERS:
Collectors gather things. They love to go to garage sales. They hate to throw anything away for they know they’ll need it as soon as it’s gone. After all, lunch boxes from the 50’s are now collector’s items. Paisley shirts from the 70’s are popular again.
Tossers get rid of things. They have a philosophy that if something isn’t used within 6 months or a year, it probably never will be. They see the Collector’s treasures as clutter and love to have garage sales [to get rid of that which they view as unnecessary].
Which one of these are you?
Cindy: Again, balance is a key here to survival. You have to learn to negotiate and compromise or you can drive each other crazy. You can also become bitter instead of “better” in how you handle each other’s viewpoints.
Steve and I are learning to view our home as one that should work for us —rather than us working for our home. We try to be sensitive to each other’s views on what to keep and what we don’t. Matthew 6:19-20 is a great guide. But we caution you that when you read these verses together to make sure you don’t use them as a weapon against the other spouse’s sentimentality. Be loving and respectful in how you handle these differences.
JUGGLERS VS HOLDERS:
Jugglers are multi-channeled. They can balance many things simultaneously without missing a thing and enjoy the process. If they’re forced to focus on only one item or product, they become bored.
Holders are single channeled. They deal with one thing at a time and when forced to cope with more, they become stressed and overwhelmed.
CAUTION: Jugglers assume that their spouse can juggle as well as they can.
Many a Holder tries their hand at juggling only to find they can’t do it. They think it’s because they aren’t as organized, or need more practice, or if they were stronger they could keep up and do more.
Holders aren’t inferior to Jugglers; they’re just different. They need to finish one task before moving on to the next. They’re more compartmentalized. Keep in mind that juggling is an art and it has its place just as holding is important and has its place.
Do you recognize yourself and your spouse in these definitions? If so, talk about ways you can work with, and also honor those differences.
These are a few of the many differences that crop up between a husband and wife. Differences can be a wonderful strength to a marriage, if you view and use them as a strength. They create a balance if each spouse is willing to use them to work together as a team. We hope you will.
For additional help in your marriage you may want to obtain the book, 20 (Surprisingly Simple) Rules and Tools for a Great Marriage, by Dr Steve Stephens.
— ALSO —
The following are a couple of articles that might help you deal with your differences, as well:
We hope you will study your differences and use them in partnership with each other and with God.
Steve and Cindy Wright
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