A guest post by Heidi Dennis
So, my husband and I approach life in two TOTALLY different ways. I’m talking night and day, up verses down kind of different. One example of that is how we parent. He is very consistent. He connects dots very quickly and believes that if we let our son get away with something in a particular moment, then it will set him on a trajectory of never obeying that rule ever again. He’s able to see things five steps ahead. I, on the other hand, am a nurturer. I think things like, “But he has had a long day”, “He is just getting over a cold”, “Venus and Jupiter just aligned and it is undoubtedly effecting his mood”. I am exaggerating on both of our stances, of course, but you get the picture. We simply look at life (and by default, parenting) through two different lenses.
Want to hear the crazy part? Neither of us are wrong. Each of our lenses has incredible benefit. Our son needs the consistency that his father provides. He needs to have the security of knowing what to expect. On the flip side, our son also needs the compassion that comes with being shown grace from time to time. There are countless other ways that we balance each other out.
But, do we always appreciate the balance? The problem is, when each of us are taking our stances and looking only through our own lenses, we won’t appreciate what our partner has to offer. Just the other night my husband and I got into a knock-down, drag-out over how to handle something with our son. No punches were thrown, but let me tell you, thoughts were thought and words were said. I’ve noticed that we are kind of like a see-saw. The more one of us approaches life through our own lens, the more the other feels like they have to over-compensate on the other side. Have you noticed this, too? The more firm my husband is, the more I feel like I need to nurture. They more nurturing I am, the more firm he feels like he needs to be.
I’ve also noticed another phenomenon happening. When my husband makes a point to connect with my son, I feel the need to be consistent. Weird, right? It’s like I think, “Oh, he’s getting nurtured. He’s good. I can lean a little on the other side.” I think this happens when we both recognize the benefit of the other lens. I firmly believe that God placed each of us in our son’s life for a reason. He needs BOTH of our lenses. He needs my husband’s consistency. He needs my nurturing. What’s more, when each of us take steps to practice out of the other person’s lens, it brings unity and connection between us. It’s taking steps towards each other. And our son benefits from that, as well. I LOVE that my husband is consistent. I need that. My son needs that. I truly see the benefit in his approach.
This brings me to a very important point that I share with many couples that I counsel…
Your best days are the days when you see your differences as an asset and your worst days are the days when you see your differences as a hindrance.
Did you catch that? Your differences are a GOOD thing. God designed each of you to pick up where the other left off. So, the next time you find yourself thinking, “I don’t understand my spouse. If only they could be more ______”, what you are really saying is “if only they could be more like me”. Recognize the benefit in each of your lenses. Because you need both of them.
How about you? Do you and your spouse have different lenses? How do you navigate that in your house? Comment below or join the conversation at https://m.facebook.com/heidid831/