Wisdom and Baggage

 

Marriage is never just the coming together of two people, but a collision of their histories. It is a clash of cultures, experiences, memories, and habits.  Marriage is the beautiful accommodation and allowances of another lifetime of strengths ad weaknesses into your lifetime of strengths and weaknesses.1

Building a strong marriage takes time, patience, and hard work. One of the hardest adjustments anyone faces is moving from single life to married life. Let’s be honest: people do not change overnight. When you marry someone, you “marry” an entire family, a complete history of experiences. That’s why it I often so hard at first to understand the person who is now sharing your house and your bed.

Both of you bring into your marriage 20, 30 or more years of life experiences that color how you see and respond to the world, much like you would see everything blue if you were looking through blue shades. Most of the time you quickly discover that you see many things quite differently from each other. Difference of viewpoint is one of the biggest sources of stress and conflict in young marriages. Adjusting to theses difference is critical to marital survival. Unfortunately, many marriages fail on precisely this point.

All of us filter what we see and hear through the lens of our own own personal experiences.  Personal tragedy, physical or sexual abuse, quality of family life when growing up, joys, education level, fun, faith or lack of faith—all of these affect the way we view the world around us. They help shape our perceptions and expectations of life and influence how we interpret what other people say about us.

What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility. —Tolstoy

None of us enter marriage “clean”. To one degree or another, we each bring our own emotional, psychological, and spiritual baggage. Whatever our spouse says, we hear through the filter of our own history and experience. Our spouse hears everything we say the same way. Understanding and adjusting to this requires a lot of time and patience.

Over time and under the pressures of daily life, a husband and wife come to understand each other more and more. They begin to think alike, act alike and even feel alike. They learn to sense each other’s moods and often recognize what’s wrong without even asking. Gradually, their personal attitudes and viewpoints shift and move towards each other so that their mentality is no longer “yours” and “mine”, but “ours”. This is when the gem-like quality of marriage shines most brilliantly. Fusion creates oneness.2

In marriage, we must learn how to make allowances for each other’s weaknesses, until they have been strengthened and are no longer a source of our differences but our oneness.

  1. Excerpts from The Purpose and Power of Love and Marriage by Myles Munroe
  2. Excerpt from Wisdom from Myles Munroe by Myles Munroe
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