Different ideas, perceptions and methods of action threaten to tear a partnership apart. Just as equally, however, these differences can fortify the relationship in a manner of holy respect for each other—and finally respect of God, who mandated the union.
What God’s calling partners to is listening, and no judging in that.
Open-Mindedness Even in Marriage
Giving people the scope for freedom of view is a luxury we offer the stranger but one we’ll deprive a life partner for fact of control.
Of course, this ‘open-mindedness’ that’s offered to the stranger isn’t really open-mindedness at all—it’s just a wise respect for the relational distance between them and us. Listening is pretence. They’re not ‘heard’ at all.
There’s a better standard—that of putting the partner’s (and the stranger’s) views on an equal footing with our own views. This is not difficult to do when we’re cognisant of God’s inimitable Presence because we know it’s an expectation of God that we treat others equal to ourselves.
It is even more important that we don’t take our marriage partners for granted; not only are they ‘in it for life’ with us, God’s granted us permission to care for and minister to their needs. That’s a special privilege we don’t take lightly.
The Anatomy and Physiology of Difference
Knowing this fact helps. No matter how similar people are, fragments of difference polarise. In other words, even slight differences can make two people seem violently opposed.
This is what difference looks like; it’s the fractional variation of minute degrees. No one can see the world as we see it. Why should expect people to agree?
How difference works is it divides or it integrates—commensurate of either exclusive or inclusive mindsets that drive the mode of thought. It is just as easy to decide to support someone with a different view as it is to deny them our support.
Letting Differences Be
This is simple concept. Not everything’s challengeable. Some ideas, thoughts and expressions are just that; there’s no correspondence to be entered into, no judgment, and they just hang there without recourse to reaction.
What a place to be! Home with a partner and not just by physical position, but home-free and able to hold the views we really hold, is the picture God has for marriage.
The ability to allow another human being—a life partner in this instance—to hold their unique views on things is holiest action of love; the ability to let go and let God in the lives of significant others.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.