Why Big Differences Make for the Best Marriages

Why Big DIfferences Make for the Best Marriages

You think by now we’d know.

I mean we’ve been married for years and years. Over two decades.

But somehow it hit us anew.

It all began with our son who is back east at college. He called to tell us about how he and his friends were all taking this personality test. And he thought we should do it too.

Oh, sure! That’d be fun.

So we sat down one evening and filled out the questionnaire.

A piece of cake.

Matthew took his and I took mine. The questions were simple and straightforward and we were done in less than 12 minutes.

But the conversation that followed lasted several hours.

 The personality test went something like this:

You need to retreat and have some “alone time” after spending some time talking to other people.

Him: Nope. Not usually. (Extrovert)

Me: Absolutely. (Introvert)

You often do things spontaneously or in a rush.

Him: Pretty much.

Me: Not if I can help it.

You would rather call yourself down-to-earth than a dreamer.

Him: More like Mr. Visionary.

Me: Down-to-earth and practical to a fault.

Keeping your options open is more important than having a to-do list.

Him: The more options the better.

Me: Love my to-do lists!

So you can see how it is.

Big differences.

We each have our own way of looking at the world. We think differently. Respond differently. Feel differently

Not necessarily opposites. But definitely not the same.

When we first married, I don’t think we factored in these differences. It didn’t matter all that much to us, but as the years went on the reality of these things became increasingly clear to both of us.

We were different.

Not just male and female, mind you.

But different in our personalities and perspectives.

You don’t need to take a personality test to discover you’re different though.

All you have to do is to watch how you each respond to certain situations. What appears to you as a disaster is merely a challenge to him.  What is an exciting possibility to you is an impractical pain to him. What fills you up, drains him and vice versa.

And so on down the list.

The world looks at this scenario and will declare you “incompatible”. The secular viewpoint considers this an impossible situation.

Irreconcilable.

But this is not how God views it. He has reconciled you. He says He is the one who joined you together (Mark 10:9). He is the one who makes you one flesh – not your similarities or common experience (Eph. 5:31).

God brought you and your husband together because of your differences . . . not in spite of them. Just think: God knows your husband even better than you do. He knows all too well how you both are made and how you are bent.

God put you two together because He knew what was best for the both of you. 

How Big Differences Make for the Best Marriages

You Can Make the Best Marriage Out of Your Differences

Appreciate his strengths. Rather than getting frustrated at how quiet or loud, relaxed or uptight, he is – decide to be thankful for how God has made Him. I can choose to be upset by the way my husband “ruins” my well-laid plans with his spontaneous projects . . . or I can be thankful for the fun that he brings into our lives with his wild ideas. The second response makes it more fun for all of us!

*How do you respond to your husband’s strengths? Do you let them annoy you or are you grateful for them? 

Grow in the areas you are weak. I said I can be “practical to a fault”. Well, my husband is a very generous person and that’s an area that I’ve needed to grow in. My “practical” nature can hold me back from giving as freely as God would have me give.

*What are some weak areas that you can grow in and learn from your husband? 

Develop similar interests. Rather than settle in your different camps, seek to do what things you can together. Enter into his world and invite him into yours. Talk about what activities you could both learn to enjoy together.

*What are some things that you both like to do? Activities, recreation, or hobbies?

Establish common goals. Maybe you see and respond to things differently, but if you’re both working toward the same goals? Then this helps you pull together to achieve those things that you’ve both set out to do. At least once a year, we try to get away for a few days and talk over our past goals and write out new ones. These goals can fall in any category—ranging from family to career, from spiritual to house projects.

*Have you purposed together what goals the two of you – as a couple – are choosing to pursue? 

So if you discover that you and he are rather different – with or without a personality test – then make the most of your differences.

Because big differences can be made into the best of marriages!

CHALLENGE: Rather than just saying to your husband that you love him today, tell him a few of the reasons you love and appreciate him (including some of those differences). 

Embrace Your Marriage - A Virtual Marriage Retreat

Every Monday in September, these five bloggers and I will be offering a word of wisdom and inspiration to encourage you in your marriage. I hope you’ll hop over to see each one of them!

And here are the topics . . . .

  • September 1 – Embracing Grace 
  • September 8th – Embracing Change  
  • September 15th – Embracing Your Differences  
  • September 22nd – Embracing Unity 
  • September 29th – Embracing Friendship 

I hope you are being blessed and refreshed by our Virtual Marriage Retreat!

In His grace,
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100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

How a Little Yes Can Change a Big World: A Review of Rhinestone Jesus

Rhinestone Jesus
Sometimes saying yes is the hardest thing you’ll ever do.

I know. Because I’ve said a yes or two and it felt a little like jumping off a cliff.

Something of a free fall.

But some of the most challenging things in my life . . . have turned out to be the very best things too. Maybe you know what I mean?

So that’s why I was immediately drawn to this newly released book: Rhinestone Jesus: Saying Yes to God When Sparkly, Safe Faith Is No Longer Enough by Kristen Welch

If you pick it up, be prepared to be challenged. Convicted, even.

And, no, Kristen doesn’t just ask us all to go to Africa.

Instead she tells the story of how God inspired her and her family to start Mercy House, a Christian home for pregnant girls living in the streets of Kenya.

It’s truly an amazing story.

Mercy House Kenya
But it’s not the only amazing story in the book.

It’s also a touching story of love and forgiveness in her own marriage.

We knew it would be the greatest battle of our lives–this choice to walk in freedom and forgiveness–but we decided in the middle of our devastation that we would fight for wholeness in our marriage. ~ Kristen Welch in Rhinestone Jesus

It’s an inspiring story of motherhood and family.

Looking at my life, some people would say I have gotten to do some big things for God. But the most significant thing I’ve done for Jesus is to love and serve my family. Motherhood becomes me, and God uses it daily to refine me and draw me closer to Him. ~ Kristen Welch in Rhinestone Jesus

It’s a story of God’s miraculous provision.

God is constantly reminding me to look behind, to look at how far He has brought us, how many miracles He’s performed along the way, how many mountains He’s moved on our behalf, how many times He’s rescued and healed, how much hope He has given. ~ Kristen Welch in Rhinestone Jesus

Mostly it’s a story of the Gospel walked out by an ordinary wife and mom.  It’s beautiful.

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)
Club31Women Book Reviews1Kristen has an engaging writing style that is easy to read—sprinkled generously with her wonderful sense of humor and refreshing honesty. Wherever you’re at in life – young or old, married or single – I think you’ll find her message compelling and inspiring.

After all, isn’t it encouraging to see how just one little “yes” can impact a big world?

Here are a few of the chapters titles you’ll find in her book:
· When Motherhood Becomes You
· Finding Beauty in the Broken Pieces
· The Yes That Changed Our Family
· Defeating My Biggest Foes
· Start Small Today

So if you’re looking for something wonderful to read this summer? This is one of those at the top of my list.*

You can pick up Kristin’s book here (click the link below):

Rhinestone Jesus: Saying Yes to God When Sparkly, Safe Faith Is No Longer Enough

You can also visit Kristin over at her blog, WeAreTHATFamily, where she writes on marriage, parenting, ministry and more.

The Welch Family of We Are THAT Family

I hope you’ve found this Club31Women Book Review helpful and inspiring!

In His grace,
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*While I might not personally adhere to every view presented  in each book, my recommendations are based on what I believe to be – on the whole – an edifying, encouraging, and/or challenging read for the Christian life.

95 Moments That Add Up to I Love You

95 Moments That Add Up to I Love YouIt’s true. We’ve experienced some sweeping moments in our marriage.

Like when we exchanged wedding vows on a lovely September morning.

When our first precious child was born.

Or when we learned that our fifth child would never walk or talk.

When he threw me that fabulous party for my 40th.

Or when I found him unconscious on the bathroom floor. Praying that God would spare his life.

Oh, we’ve had some big moments to be sure.

But there are many days, weeks, and even months in between all those. Sipping coffee, heading to work, running errands, making dinner, putting kids to bed, and snuggling into each other at night.

Little bits of love tucked into the everyday of our lives.

95 Moments That Add Up to I Love You

1.    Telling him about my day. The ups and the downs.
2.    Hearing all about his happenings too.
3.    Holding hands. Any chance we get.
4.    Saying hello with a kiss.
5.    Not mentioning the bad breath. Either his or mine.
6.    Curling up against his warm back at midnight.
7.    Sitting next to him in church.
8.    And nudging each other when the sermon particularly applies.
9.    Warming up his side of the bed.
10.   Or grateful when he’s already warmed up my side.
Red heart ribbon, isolated on white 11.   Sharing a cup of coffee. In the early morning hours.
12.   Calling in the middle of the day. Just ’cause I miss him.
13.   Taking turns getting up at night. With a fussy baby.
14.   Waking me gently. With his soft touch.
15.   Laughing at his jokes. Even if I’ve heard them all before.
16.   Smiling. Because he’s come home early.
17.   Heading upstairs together to put the kids to bed.
18.   Thankful when he’s the one who’s willing to tuck them in.
19.   Texting a sweet little message.
20.   Or maybe a slightly suggestive one.
Red heart ribbon, isolated on white 21.   Cleaning up the kitchen dishes together.
22.   Standing by him. When he needs a friend.
23.   Staying up ’til midnight wrapping Christmas presents.
24.   Bringing him an aspirin. Because he refuses to take ibuprofen.
25.   Winking at me. From across the room.
26.   Folding his t-shirts. Just the way he likes them.
27.   Helping me zip up the back of my dress. A little too slowly, if you ask me. *wink
28.   Making love. Even when we’re both rather tired.
29.   Admiring his good looks.
30.   And hearing his “Hello, Beautiful” too.
Red heart ribbon, isolated on white 31.   Allowing him to take the baby. So I can get some much needed sleep.
32.   Kissing him on the lips. And staying there maybe longer than necessary.
33.   Graciously overlooking that mistake somebody made.
34.   Falling asleep in his arms.
35.   Waking up by his side.
36.   Praying over me. While going into labor with each child.
37.   Hearing him announce, “It’s a boy!” and rejoicing together.
38.   And, “It’s a girl!” and rejoicing again.
39.   Staying up late watching a romantic comedy. My pick.
40.   Attempting to stay awake for his action flick.
Red heart ribbon, isolated on white41.   Making French Press coffe for me.  Every single morning.
42.   Listening to his goals and aspirations.
43.   Sharing my hopes and dreams with him too.
44.   Asking God to bless him mightily.
45.   Laying my head on his shoulder. Because I can. And want to.
46.   Cheering him up. When he’s had a long day.
47.   Fetching a bowl for me. When I lose my breakfast….for the 3rd time. Morning sickness. Blah.
48.   Wiping out the whiskers from his sink.
49.   Offering his coat to me at the restaurant. Because I forgot mine.
50.   Taking a hot shower. Together.
Red heart ribbon, isolated on white 51.   Thanking God for this man in my life. 
52.   Rescuing me in the Target parking lot. Since the car battery died. Again.
53.   Telling me I’m gorgeous. When I’m wearing sweat pants and a ponytail.
54.   Spreading toothpaste on his toothbrush. Or he for mine.
55.   Sneaking a bowl of mint chip ice-cream. After the kids go to bed.
56.   Offering a prayer for me. When I’m anxious in the middle of the night.
57.   Scratching his back. Although it’s not my favorite thing to do.
58.   Warming up my feet. With his own warm skin.
59.   Wrestling with the Thanksgiving turkey. When it’s too big for the oven.
60.   Kissing the top of my head. Even when I’ve been snippy. No, especially when I’ve been snippy.
Red heart ribbon, isolated on white 61.   Throwing pillows at me. Just for the fun of it.
62.   But getting him back laterBecause that’s fun too.
63.   Hiking to the very top. Then looking down at the world together.
64.   Scouring the oven. Because I’ve let it go far, far too long.
65.   Believing in me. When I just couldn’t see it.
66.   Staying up all night at St. Charles hospital. Wondering if his father will pull through.
67.   Making plans for his mom to move in with us. When she no longer remembers who we are.
68.   Soaking in a deep bubble bath. The two of us. Or sometimes just for me.
69.   Taking the little boys for a hike. So I could have a quiet morning at last.
70.   Asking God to give him the strength. When he’s hard-pressed with a deadline.
Red heart ribbon, isolated on white 71.   Getting away for a few days. A romantic escape.
72.   Stroking my hair. When I’m troubled beyond words.
73.   Listening to him sing old Billy Joel songsDon’t Go Changing.
74.   Slipping away to a nearby cafe. An Americano for him and a lavender latte for me.
75.   Letting him hold me. When I can’t help but cry it out.
76.   Sharing a Scripture verse. When I really needed to hear it.
77.   Running out into a hailstorm. Trying to save the tomatoes from certain disaster.
78.   Holding the screaming child in my arms. While he speeds all the way to the Emergency Room.
79.   Feeling the immense relief. When we find out he’s going to be okay.
80.   Taking me for a scenic drive. When I’m desperate to get out of the house.
Red heart ribbon, isolated on white 81.   Saying goodbye to our eldest son. Knowing that this is what we raised him for.
82.   Handing me a tissue. As I weep on the flight back home.
83.   Attending the family reunion together. Wondering who’s the crazy one.
84.   Reading aloud to each other. When it’s just too good to keep to yourself.
85.   Sitting on the porch swing. Saying nothing at all.
86.   Playing cards with his folks. Because it means something to them.
87.   Saying I’m sorry. Because I really, really am.
88.   Laying awake on the hard dirt ground. Questioning how he talked me into camping in the first place.
89.   Waking up by a still, blue lake, green woods and a small campfire. Admitting it was all worth it.
90.   Forgiving each other. For the hundredth time.
91.   Then letting it go. Another hundred times.
92.   Hitting the snooze button. And pretending for a few minutes that we’ve nothing better to do than snuggle in bed.
93.   Telling the world how thankful I am to be married to him.
94.   Celebrating each anniversary. Truly grateful for every year we have together.
95.   Saying I Love You. Every day. Because I do.

Quite honestly, most of our marriage is been made up of these ordinary times.

Small moments that simply say I Love You.

*Do you have an “I love you” moment that you can share? Please do!

In His grace,
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My Husband is My Real Hero (and I hope he knows it)

My Husband is My Real Hero

The Lone Ranger lives on.

No, really he does.

I know this because most every weekday our little boys run next door and watch him save the Western Frontier over at Grandpa’s house. It’s 3:00 in the afternoon and the whole house shakes as they come pounding down the stairs and go flying out the front door.

Slam! Slam! Slam!

Three boys. Three slams. Without fail.

And even though this event takes place nearly each day, it’s still a special occasion. The Lone Ranger. Grandpa. And Fruit Snacks. Our boys’ world filled with goodness and heroes. Just the way it should be.

But boys aren’t the only ones with heroes.

Girls can have them too.

It’s a fact. Because this girl is married to one.

Oh, I’m not saying that he can leap buildings in a single bound or save the big city from an alien invasion.

He’s more of an everyday hero. An ordinary, hard-working, honest sort of guy. Taking care of his wife and looking after his children. Standing up for what’s right and watching out for those who are in need. Following God.

If you ask me, those are the best kind of heroes.

And probably the kind  of guy you married too. Simply doing what must be done. No one would ever guess that he’s actually a superhero in disguise.

Even he might not guess it – but it’s evident to you. So it might be about time to reveal his secret identity. He’s your hero.

You might as well let him know….

You need him.
Like I need mine. Not too long ago I was looking for a rescue. It’s not that I couldn’t handle the situation on my own; it’s that I didn’t want to. Some bad guy went on the internet and started flinging insults. Against me. Personally.

So I brought my laptop over to my husband and showed him what he’d written. In his opinion, the whole thing was rather ridiculous (not me, the guy’s accusations), but he went out there and defended my honor. I loved what he said and how he said it. But mostly I loved the way he protected me from this big Internet bully.

My hero. Girly sigh.

You lean on him.
And why not? It might sound out-of-step with today’s independent woman, but – as capable as we are – I’m thankful to have a man I can rely on. He’s the first one I’ll call if there’s an emergency or disaster. He’s slain mice in the pantry. Mopped up overflowing toilets. Calmed down an out-of-control neighbor. And he’s held me in his arms while I sobbed my heart out over a deep and devastating loss.

A true hero. Quietly loving me.

And you’d be lost without him.
Maybe this feels a bit over the top? It’s not. My oldest daughter would likely have died if it wasn’t for him. When she suddenly stopped breathing miles and miles away from any medical help, his quick thinking and fast action kept her going until LifeFlight could arrive. I could see it in the headlines:

DAD KEEPS DAUGHTER BREATHING. While Mom Watches and Weeps.

He never made it into the papers that day. But he should have.

A great hero. On the front page of my heart.

So in this day when the world is desperate for goodness and heroes, make sure your husband knows he’s just the kind of guy for the job. Doing what he’s doing. Honest. Hard-working. Looking after his wife and family. Standing up and watching out. Following God.

An everyday hero.

The kind you and I need. And certainly the kind this world could use right now.

He’s a real hero.

In His grace,
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