You know how they say that opposites attract? Luke and I know it’s true. After 16 years of marriage, we actually are more alike than we are opposite, but the fact remains that there are certain intrinsic things about each of us that will never be the same. Daily we are learning how to adapt to each other, give and take, prefer the other, and so on.
The challenge is real, my friends, lest you be fooled into thinking we do it perfectly.
While it’s not perfect, we are leaning into each other more and more as the years go by, leaning into our differences and figuring out how to blend them into one unique story. When our differences collide, sometimes we fight (yep), sometimes we talk like two mature adults and resolve it quickly, sometimes we stew on it, but we always kiss and make up.
(that’s no lie–but Luke is definitely the pursuer of after-fight hugs, always reaching out the hand and seeking that connection when I would rather stay stone cold)
All this to tell you that we went to the beach on Saturday, smack dab in the middle of January. It was his idea, because I would never come up with such a thing in the middle of even a south Texas winter. But he can testify that this time, I didn’t argue about it or act like it was a dumb idea (mostly), I really didn’t say anything, just helped pack up and maybe noted that it was reallllly cold outside.
It’s actually the perfect example of us being different, but somehow learning to enjoy each other in the midst of it. It’s me pushing forward when I really don’t like that sort of thing, and him pushing forward knowing he will need to be extra tender and care for me uniquely when I’m uncomfortable.
Julia and I sat in the front seats of our car with the music up and the heater on, after being pelted to death by the sand from the biggest wind storm I’ve even seen (or felt). And it’s because we are cut from the same cloth, we figured out.
See, Luke is the adventurer, and he has an adventurer daughter and son to tag along with him. They see life as a series of challenges ready to conquer, even if it means sand flying in your face like tiny needles. But Julia and I, while we love a good adventure and in general will come along for the ride, after a while, the discomfort far out ways the delight of the adventure and eventually we bow out.
And so we did, at least until the wind/sand storm died down.
We lingered at home on that lazy Saturday morning, then headed out for the afternoon, about a two hour’s drive. Upon arrival, we realized the winds had turned and we were definitely up for a different kind of a beach trip than we had anticipated.
Needless to say, with the exception of Landis who was already in his swimsuit, the swimsuits did not need to come out for the duration of the trip.
We walked in the sand with the winds pelting our backside, onward and onward, forging ahead. We found all sorts of glorious sea shells and coral and huge crab shells and we admired. But then the practical side of me had to speak up and remind everyone that as far as walked in the wind was as far as we had to walk back against the wind, with the sand in our face. About face, we all turned around.
Which is when Julia and I became buddies in agreement over not enjoying being stuck by needle-like grains of sand, while Amaleah said she loved a good challenge.
Eventually the winds died down to a more bearable speed and sand castles were built and the beach chairs were pulled out, and the restful feeling that is so classic of beach side play was there in full force. You just can’t help but let your blood pressure drop and your worries melt away at the sound of the waves crashing again and again. There’s not a care in the world, and there’s nothing like it.
And thus the delighting in differences happened once again, and the end result was a wonderful memory.
It strikes me how God created us each uniquely and beautifully, with our own strengths and weaknesses, gifts and challenges. He has made us to walk within who He made us to be, and to embrace it.
But he has given us each other to challenge each other and to push us forward–to help us overcome our fears and our doubts, to walk alongside each other in our joys and in our frustrations, and to learn and grow.
Just as the waves change the coastline again and again and there is constant movement, so He has made us to grow and to change and to face new things and overcome them, but together.
Luke may be the adventurer (and he has his partners in crime), but he challenges me to try new things and to push forward through the discomfort, and it is good for me.
And yet he is challenged by me to learn how to walk along someone who is fearful or anxious or uncomfortable, and how to understand them and recognize their limits and to wait patiently for them and to grow, and it is good for him.
It’s this amazing partnership in life, this ebb and flow of being and living together.
I wonder if you relate to this, even in your marriage? Have you been able to see your differences as God-given, and meet them head on? It’s crazy hard, but it’s worth it.
Take that proverbial January beach trip, and lean into your differences.