How Differences Help A Marriage

The Differences in Marriage are the reasons you came together…they are also the reasons you fall apart.

“Why do you want to divorce?”  Gets the same cliche answer: “Oh…gosh…we are just so different…”

My single response to my coaching clients is: “So….”

You knew you were different when you married….why then did things change?  One reason may be because couples failed to do the one thing they promised when they took their vows:  To 100% love & accept each other exactly they way they are – all the difference included.

marriages are couples who are differentYet men and women both assume everyone does things the way THEY would do it….and when they see their partner say or want to do something a different way, it is confusing…sometimes troubling.  Because they are not you and you are not them. Everyone does things their own way.  So whenever you get troubled or puzzled or frustrated as to why the heck your partner did what he or she did…well…it’s only because you forgot who they were/are.

Here is an example:

My husband loves sports, I do not.  I enjoy them when a team I like is doing well…but that’s about it.  Often times I’ve been known to attend a sports event and after it’s over when someone asked, “Who won…?”  I will say, “Who played?”

My husband is a die hard fan, I’m fair weather fan.  He knew that going into our marriage. I also didn’t play sports as a kid.  Neither did my brother.  So we didn’t do the soccer, baseball, other sports weekends.  On our weekends as a kid, we traveled, visited cool events around town or just had parties in our home for friends and family.  My family spent lots of time doing things together.

My husband grew up differently.  He grew up with a dad who coached every sport my husband played in.  Both his mom and dad were there or attended every practice and game in all the sports he played his whole entire life.  I knew that going into our marriage too…and thought that it was really sweet and cute his parents did that all weekend.  I also thought it was a boring way to live, but it worked for family and they all seemed to have fun.

See?  Differences.  In the beginning of marriage, no one cares.  Throw some kids in and mix up some years and look what happened…?

I didn’t care if our kids played sports, my husband insisted they did.  It started with baseball…and went to flag football, lacrosse, hockey, soccer…etc.  My weekends and weekday evenings were overrun with driving three kids from here to there and back.  While my social life and my ‘fun nights’ with my family slowly disappeared.

I was so busy with everything life brings, sitting at a baseball game for 2 hours when I could be opening a weeks worth of mail, answering one of 1,493 emails or even sitting having a coffee with an old friend I hadn’t seen in a year was way more exciting that I’d began making up excuses as to why I couldn’t stay or even make a game once in awhile.

When I’d miss a game or a practice or even pull our kids out of a practice to go to a museum, event or some memorable annual party, my husband would be livid, “You are letting down your team!” was what he would tell our kids.  To me, he’d just vent: “What is wrong with you?  You are their mother!  Your kids are devastated you missed their game!”

Were they?  They seemed okay if I missed a game and asked about it.  Specially when I’d play the “would you rather…” game with them.  And every time, they picked me doing things with them vs me sitting at the game watching them.  Specially when their biggest sports fan was always going to be taking one for the team, so I had even more reason to be okay with not being there.

Most times, when I’d take them on outings after school to beaches or other cool things to challenge their minds and open their eyes to the world, they would be so grateful.  I’d even play games with them in the evenings because that’s why my parents did with us.  My husband’s parents didn’t play games with their kids so when my husband says he’s not interested in playing a game, I’d be frustrated, but later realized, it was his choice and I can’t get mad at him for not wanting to do something he did not like to do…and didn’t grow up doing.  Cause there are clearly things I do not like to do either.

To me: I want to be with my kids and experience things WITH them.  Watching their eyes “get something” is the biggest thrill for me.  I do things with them just to see that happening on their faces..  Also, when I go out of town, I call nightly.  I can’t imagine not talking to my kids daily…where when my husband heads out of town, he may not call and talk to the kids for 2-3 days.  It’s a big deal to me…it’s not to him.  He usually just talks to me…and I’m pretty sure when he does that, he feels like he’s talked to everyone.  I could never do that.  I have to talk to each person.  Yes, he is different than me.  That’s okay to him.  And to me, I can get mad, or I can accept him for his different feelings and just love him for who he is.

To him: he wants to be there for everything sports. He does not want to miss anything sports. Ever. Period. But miss calling them while he’s out of town? No biggee.

Do you see the picture here?

My point is that we are all different because of who we are and what we were exposed to as kids.  Because I didn’t go to games as a kid on the weekends…I find it odd doing it now.  My husband knew that going into our marriage.  Sure I know he wants me at the games, as do our kids, but I connect with them in other ways.  Better ways in my opinion…but that’s MY opinion.  My husband disagrees. His opinion is completely different.

So what do we do?  Here are our choices:

  1. Divorce.  So that we don’t have to be together…and the same things we like and don’t like will stay the same.
  2. Accept that we are different and may or may not want to join in.  This one I like.  Don’t you?  That way, everyone is free to choose to do what they like and what they believe.  If my husband does not want to go to a museum or play a game with us…so be it.  I can’t get mad.  It’s not who he is.  Period.  And And while I could divorce him over this…it’s ridiculous to think that if he doesn’t do things my way…it’s over?
  3. Accept that we can’t change the other person into being more like ME.  Or You.  To even attempt to think about doing so, or planning or even dreaming about doing so will put your marriage at odds and your head in the wrong place…where love just can’t exist.
  4. The answer:  Unconditional love.  Just love them.  For all the things you know they do not like to do…or things they do like to do that annoy the shit out of you.  Just love them.  Love and accept that this is who you married.Now if you discover they are a serial killer or are robbing banks and putting you and your family at risk, but all means – get out!  But the basic bull-shit of marriage.  Just hang in there – and realize you aren’t perfect and if you have someone beside you that loves you – shut up and love them backLove is not a feeling – love is a choice.
    Love is a decision.

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