Marriage 101: Agree to Disagree
I was once part of a Bible study group where the leader shared a few basic “rules” before we started. He said there would be times we didn’t agree; there would be topics where our life experiences shaped our thinking in differing ways.
Our first rule for the group was to bathe everything we said in love. The second was that we had to agree to disagree.
Appreciating differing viewpoints is essential to any good relationship.
I have always enjoyed the story of the five blind men and the elephant. As each touched a different part of the animal he would describe what it was.
“A wall,” one of the men offered as his hand met with the broad side of the beast.
“No,” said another as the elephant’s trunk wound around the man. “It is a great snake.”
The one with a large ear flapping back and forth before him declared it a fan while the one holding the tail was sure it was a rope.
“You are all wrong,” said the one wrapping his arms around the animal’s leg. “It is a tree.”
It is all about “Perspective.”
Some people see rain. Others watch for a rainbow.
Is the cup half empty or half full?
Perspective. How you view life.
When Mike and I married, my mother gave us some outdoor furniture and a beautiful piece of outdoor art as a wedding gift. Once Mike put it up, we stood back and admired the piece. It reminds us of our backyard.
“Of course it will look better once the house is painted,” Mike said.
On that we agree. Totally.
We have a plan to paint the outside of the house a much lighter color. A white or off-white is what we are considering. Right now it is dark. Not dark brown but more of a brownish orange-ish color.
Mike called it copper.
I called it gingerbread.
Perspective. Based on life experience.
Mike worked for the electric company.
Mike saw wires.
I was a teacher.
I baked gingerbread with my students. We made “gingerbread houses” out of graham crackers and icing.
For a brief time, the color of the house became a point of serious discussion.
We held copper pennies to the surface. Copper is bright and shiny. Unless it is an old penny, of course.
We held a gingersnap cookie against the wall. I insisted gingerbread, the soft cake, is not the light brown of gingersnaps. Nor is it dark brown.
We asked others.
Through it all, though, we respected the other person’s opinion. We decided we were both close...but each color was off a bit.
Then, one day while Mike was watching football and I was working on a book, it came to me.
“The house is the color of butterscotch pudding!” I called out. Mike agreed.
(Of course he was watching football. But I’m calling it done. And waiting patiently for the new paint and painters to arrive.)