Monday, April 11, 2005

Thoughts on opposites

Opposites attract. While I realize there are exceptions to this rule, in marriage it tends to stand true. We fall in love with the person who possesses the traits we most desire in ourselves: our opposite.

If my husband and I kept a running list of all the areas in which we are opposite, it would certainly be a few pages long. He is a talker, I am a thinker. He is an athlete, I am a reader. He loves four-wheeling at the sand dunes, I love an afternoon at the art museum followed by a bookstore with a coffee shop. And on it goes.

The word opposite has some hostile neighbors in the dictionary: opposition and oppose. They are from the same root word as opposite and can easily become a part of a marriage if care is not taken. All that needs to happen for us to move from loving opposites to angry opponents is for us to begin to divert our eyes from God's truth about marriage.

A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24-25

Marriage is a relationship that needs to be defined by togetherness, not only in a physical sense, but also in a mental and spiritual sense. Since two people are to become one, the merging of two opposite personalities can be especially wonderful because our extremes put together can form a balanced whole. Rather than looking at our opposite traits as opposing forces warring with each other, opposites can be viewed like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle: the sides that fit together are an opposite image of each other, pieced together perfectly to form a clearer picture than the individual pieces did separately.

In my own experience, success in this area can be a hard-won battle. Consistent prayer is a necessary ingredient, along with taking a serious look at the reality in your relationship. Often the status quo is maintained because we choose to simply wish things were different instead of seriously going forward in an area God has prepared for us to find peace in.

A beginning step for me was to yield to the reality of my situation. There were aspects of my marriage that were bringing me regular struggle and insecurity, but once I accepted that I was fighting against essential parts of what God designed, I started walking on the path toward healing in my heart and peace in my marriage. I regularly sought God's will and I refused to give in to wishful thinking about the way things should be.

My husband's strengths are meant to complement my weaknesses, as are mine towards him. But I have to consistently choose to look at it this way or I easily fall into a state of opposition, warring against my husband. God placed us together, two opposites to form one whole, two puzzle pieces fit together to reveal a complete picture.