(Photo by Natalie Reed)
By Iain Dick
We’ve all done it at some point. Looked at a couple, and thought “…really?”
None of us will want to admit it, but we’ve all seen a couple who have just started as an item, or are even married, and been surprised at the pair.
My wife and I have a bit of a guilty pleasure that we do when we are at a restaurant together – we’ve done this since we started dating – we discreetly look around at the other couples, one at a time, and play a guessing game of “If they are together, and if so, for how long.” Ok, it may sound a little superficial, but those of us who enjoy people-watching will understand this to be a simple game of observation. Body language, conversation style, eating habits; all of these are factors.
The reason I bring this up is that I can imagine what people say when they see my wife and I together, or at least when we were dating. They’re probably thinking, “they don’t look like they’d be a couple.” The truth is, when we got together, we were nothing alike, we didn’t have the same opinions on fashion, and we were not each others usual “type.” We tell this part of our story to people a lot because it’s part of what makes us unique as a unit. The fact that we are so individually different, yet God, in all of His wisdom, brought us together to fully complement each other.
Personality-wise, we are both quite different – verging on opposite. I’m a proud introvert, who thinks a LOT, doesn’t naturally enjoy being around large groups of people for long periods of time, and is very comfortable being alone. My wife is more outgoing, is very bubbly and caring of people, loves opening our home to friends to be hospitable, and enjoys connecting with people.
Yet, what I love about this is that in our 10 years of marriage, we have grown more accustomed to each other, and at times, like one another. My wife has started to really appreciate the perks of solitude, and I’m getting better at being more verbal and hospitable with our home.
I suppose that was God’s original plan for marriage in Genesis 2:24, where it says, “And they shall become one flesh.” Like a lot of things that God planned for us in life, marriage is something you grow towards, enter into, and continue to grow together in.
I’ve come to realize that there are things you can prepare yourself for whilst considering marriage, but there are things that you will never be fully prepared for. But as One Flesh, you walk through life together, in the same direction.
Ephesians 4:16 says, “(Jesus} from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love” (NAS).
Real Biblical marriage is a living embodiment of the relationship Jesus has with the body of Christ (the church). With the husband held accountable as the responsible head of the household, and the wife held accountable as the helper. Both roles of husband and wife carry weight and are necessary for us to understand for marriage to work properly.
Marriage is equally sacrificial and beneficial. Whether it’s laying your life or your will down for your spouse, or putting their needs before your own – Biblical Marriage is a true reflection of sacrifice, love, and respect.
So here are 5 tips on how to embrace your distinctness in marriage:
- Get to know your individual strengths and weaknesses.
- Get to know your spouse’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Get to know your strengths and weaknesses as a couple.
- Get a “role model” couple with who you can be real with.
- Make space for you both to outwork your gifts
Being an active part in the local church is a great opportunity to check all 5 of these. Family, friends, and even Pastors can help you recognize things you maybe didn’t notice. Both as a couple, and as an individual, God has made you distinct, and my encouragement for you is to find, and do what God has made you to do. Not only will you feel good that you’re outworking His purpose for you, but just watch how your life will continue to bring Him glory.