Understanding Breeds Appreciation
Scripture Reading: Proverbs 13:15
Good understanding wins favor, but the way of the unfaithful is hard.
Most of us know that part of the problem in all marriages is the differences between a man and a woman. John Grey’s secular book on marriage has a title that says it best: “Men are from Mars and Women Are From Venus.” For most of us that really doesn’t sound too exaggerated, when speaking of the differences between us and our spouse! Our values and perspectives on almost every subject are different. Sometimes the differences are slight and very “livable.” On other subjects, the differences can be huge and seemingly intolerable!
Too many believe that the answer lies in changing our spouse’s thinking. It’s my opinion that that won’t happen very often and uses too much wasted energy. Trying to change another adult’s perspective on important issues usually results in frustrating quarrels! I think the answer lies not in changing but, rather, understanding our spouse. Understanding does not necessarily mean agreement, but simply acknowledgement of the other’s feelings.
Our scripture for today says it clearly: “understanding wins favor”! Understanding is the first step to appreciation of your spouse’s position. It may never lead to agreement, but that is seldom necessary for healthy relationships. Being understood is necessary for a relationship to survive and grow. As we understand each other, we have an opportunity to, someday, possibly appreciate our spouse’s ideas. It is not fair to say “good marriages” never disagree. It is fair to say good marriages seek to understand!
My wife, Melanie, operates in some ways I’d never choose for myself. But as I have come to understand her thinking, I have learned to appreciate that these “ways” are good for her.
Father, I know you have made us all different, for good reasons. Please help me to appreciate that instead of fighting it. In Jesus’ Name, amen.