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.
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.
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.
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!
Lisa is the happily-ever-after wife of Matt Jacobson and together they enjoy raising and home-educating their 8 children in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She encourages women to embrace the rich life of loving relationships and the high calling of being a wife and mother. Lisa is the author of 100 Ways to Love Your Husband and her husband is the author of 100 Ways to Love Your Wife. Matt and Lisa are also the co-hosts of the FAITHFUL LIFE podcast where they talk about what it means to be a biblical Christian in marriage, parenting, church, and culture.