Differences in Marriage: Not A Bad Thing


“I know there are differences but I’m going to change him.”


With all the slogans promoting marriage oneness (“Be of one mind,” “Two shall become one flesh,” “How can two walk together unless they be agreed?”), it may come as a surprise to hear that differences in marriage can be a good thing. Look over the following statements and pick several to discuss with your mate. Get ready for some possible differences of opinion!

1. When “two become one” it means “one flesh” (sex, kids) not “one soul in two bodies.”

2. Jesus said marriage only lasts until death and that there is no marriage in heaven.

3. Technically, your partner is not your soul mate. You were complete even before you found your other half (a term I’m not especially fond of). You are a whole person whether married or single.

4. Allowing no difference in a marriage means either one forces the other to merge, or one voluntarily merges with the other. In both cases, the individual is lost.

5. When we die and go to heaven as individuals not as a couple.

6. There is a rhythm in marriage, get close and be separate. We need to be separate and connect; not get stuck in either extreme.

7. If one person loses them themselves to merge with the other, at some point they’re going to say, “Hey! When do I get a say in our decisions?”

8. If being in a relationship means you having to no longer be you, that defeats the purpose. If husband and wife are identical, one of you won’t be necessary.

9. Many marriage problems occur NOT because the couple is too separate but because they’re too close. There are no emotional boundaries. One person never gets to separate and miss the other person.

10. Couples that are emotionally fused (like a blue and yellow crayon melted into one green blob) never feel connected. There’s no place where they can emotionally touch each other since they’ve merged.

11. Boundaries not only separate two countries, they are also the place where two countries touch, like the US/Canada border. Emotional boundaries are where two people touch. But if you’re fused there’s no place to touch.

12. Individuals eager to eradicate differences between me and my partner never learn how to tolerate differences.

13. People who fear abandonment hate differences.

14. People who fear being engulfed hate fusion.

15. How we deal with differences is more important than what those differences are. If one partner wants differences and the other wants no differences, there’s a difference! And thus a conflict!

16. To some, differences sound like criticism or betrayal. “If you really loved me you’d agree with my ideas, tastes, and opinions.”

17. Some are so afraid of isolation that they refuse to talk about differences. Conflicts focus on the details of some issue rather than the more global and philosophical discussion of the existence (and importance) of differences. A good question to discuss, “How many differences can this marriage handle?”

18. Many a partner claim to be okay with differences…until their mate makes a decision contrary to the unspoken rule, “We must agree on everything.”

19. To remove differences we either say, “I’ll become like you and lose me,” or “You become like me and lose you.”

20. Fights usually aren’t about surface issues but the more subtle issue of whose view of differences will prevail.

21. Some differences in marriage shouldn’t be tolerated. If one thinks infidelity, drug abuse, addiction, or abuse are good and the other thinks they’re bad, that may be a difference too large to tolerate. What are the deal breakers in your relationship? Unconditional love and sacred marriage vows do not mean any misbehavior can be tolerated. Best to hash this out prior to marriage.

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