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Miracle or Mess?

Marriage is a marvelous miracle. However all too often the differences can quickly deteriorate a miraculous marriage into a mess.

 

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by Greg Brezina

 

Marriage is a marvelous miracle. To see two people of the opposite sex, frequently differing in personality, and usually from very different family backgrounds joined together in a beautiful, harmonious union is truly amazing.

 

However when a Christian couple chooses not to live out of Christ’s life, all these differences can quickly deteriorate a miraculous marriage into a mess.

 

Connie and I had a messy marriage from the start. The person who married us told us that our marriage wouldn’t work. He believed that because our personalities were so opposite and our backgrounds were so distinct we would have great difficulty communicating well in our marriage.

 

We went to this person to marry us, not to hear his discouraging comments. We figured that he didn’t understand that our dream was to marry so that we could be with each other and communicate 24 hours a day. We dreamed. We married.

 

Looking back, our marriage would have ended quickly had we not become Christians and listened to the Biblical advice of other Christian couples like Chuck and Barb Snyder. This dear couple claims to be the world’s most opposite couple and authored Incompatibility, Still Grounds for a Great Marriage. Their book is full of wit, wisdom and humor. They guided us into understanding and dealing with our opposite personalities and distinct family backgrounds which greatly helped our communications.

 

Connie and I definitely have opposite personalities, and we come from two very different family backgrounds. On paper, we look very incompatible. Here are some ways we are opposite and distinct.

 

Connie is active/social, and I am more quiet/reserved. One of the things I really like about her is that she compassionately carries the conversation.

 

I am right-handed. Connie is left-handed. I like the toilet paper on the right side of the toilet. She wants it on the left side. She puts knives in the drawer for a lefty to easily access. I put them in the drawer for a right-hander to reach.


I like to go to bed early and get up early. (Why doesn’t everyone want a cup of coffee at 5am?) Connie likes to work late into the night and then sleep in. Can you imagine the conflict and frustration that is possible when I go to bed at 9:30pm and Connie starts vacuuming the house at 11pm?

 

I always look for faster ways to get to destinations. I like to find shortcuts. Connie prefers the paved roads. It can be difficult on a relationship when a sure shortcut dead-ends at the end of a dirt road.

 

I like competition. When I play games, I play to win. I go for the goal. When Connie plays games, she plays to have fellowship and strengthen relationships. Everyone knows the goal for playing games is to find out who wins. Right? People don’t really play games just to build bonding relationships. Do they?

 

Connie is very detailed. She organizes daily and in alphabetical order. If our car came in a box, the box would be in the garage, and, we would drive the car into the box inside the garage. I organize monthly in piles, sometimes in order.

 

When Connie writes a check, she immediately writes the amount of the check in the checkbook. Sometimes I write the amount in the checkbook, and sometimes I don’t write anything down. I don’t like waiting in lines. When I’m in the store, I don’t want people holding me up in line, and I don’t want to hold them up. So, in the interest of not holding people up in line, I postpone writing the amount of the check in the checkbook. Later, usually when we are trying to balance the checkbook, I try to remember what I wrote the check for, to whom, and for how much.

 

I like to make decisions so that we can get on with life. Connie doesn’t like to make decisions unless she has “all” the facts or if it may hurt someone’s feelings. Frequently “all” the facts are not available, and many times someone is going to get their feelings hurt because another made a decision.

 

Connie likes to eat breakfast when she wakes up. Seldom do I eat breakfast. Connie’s mother fixed her a hot breakfast every morning before she went to school. My dad died when I was seven. Mom worked full time. If I ate breakfast at all during the week, I ate a quick bowl of cereal, drank a glass of milk or grabbed some fruit as I left for school.

 

Connie loves her food hot right off the stove or out of the oven. I like my food lukewarm or even cold. I have no problem with eating cold chicken, lasagna, etc.

Connie grew up in a home with two parents who divided their labor. Her dad labored outside the home, and her mother labored inside the home. Dinner was ready at 6pm sharp every workday. Dinner was an important fellowship and bonding time for her family. Therefore, her expectations of meal times when we married were for everyone to eat at the same time, the food to be served hot, and everyone to share how they spent their day.

 

I grew up grazing with one or two of my siblings or by myself. Mom managed the school cafeteria. Back then, she was allowed to take some leftovers home rather than throw them away. So when I got home, I grazed on cold leftovers whenever I felt like eating without telling anyone about my day.

 

These and many other opposites, distinctions and differences have been a part of our arguments, unkindnesses and hurts. It has taken us years to learn that our opposite personalities, distinct family backgrounds, and male and female differences are not the source of our arguments. Rather the source of our unkindness and arguments is from not choosing to live out of Christ’s life or believing that we are abiding in Christ.

Every time we choose to live out of Christ’s life the unkindness stops, and we do not sin against one another. The miracle of marriage happens. On the other hand, when we choose to walk after our flesh, there is unkindness, anger, and the absence of peace. Our marriage then gets a little messy.

 

Abiding in Christ enables us to ask forgiveness for our sin and also to forgive one another. I cannot over emphasize how huge forgiveness has been for us in experiencing the miracle of marriage.

 

For the last 28 years, Connie and I have been co-laboring in Christian ministry. Our dream that we had when we were engaged has come true! We are with each other almost 24 hours a day in person or on the phone being best friends, romancing, praying, ministering to others and forgiving each other. Marriage is indeed a marvelous miracle that any couple can experience when they choose to live by the Holy Spirit.

 

To hear more of our story on marriage and some tips on improving communication, listen online to our Grace-Full Communication. You can also order the CD if you would like your own copy.