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Christian Living

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Valentine's Day: Appreciating Opposites

CBN.com - We’re shaping up for Valentine's Day, preparing our hearts to be enthusiastically impressed with our mate once more!

If you missed part one of this series, you can read it here.

Our next “shape up strategy” is to validate and appreciate opposites.

We’ve all heard the saying “opposites attract,” but I’ve found that sometimes “opposites attack.” The personality traits and adorable quirks that initially attracted you to your spouse can be the very qualities that are now driving you crazy.

Christine holds the dilapidated blender close to her chest while padding softly through the living room. She glances covertly up the stairs as she passes, making sure Steve is still in the shower. Ever so quietly, she tiptoes through the living room and eases the garage door open. Once in the garage she silently lifts the lid of the garbage can and softly sets the thirty-five-year-old blender on top of the trash.

Next, Christine takes old newspapers from a nearby stack, wads them up, and sets them on top of the old blender.

There … that should do it.

Later that afternoon, Steve storms into the house.

Steve: Christine, why is this perfectly good blender in the trash?

Christine: Steve, my parents bought us a beautiful new blender for Christmas—we don’t need that one.

Steve: What if the new one breaks?

Christine: It won’t.

Steve: But this blender is perfectly good—there’s nothing wrong with it.

Christine: The glass is cracked, the blades are dull, it’s thirty-five years old, and like I said, we have a new blender. And by the way, Steve, why do you insist on going through the trash?

Steve: Because you throw away perfectly good stuff!

With that, Steve tucks the antiquated blender under his arm and storms back to the garage, where he will store it in a box labeled Extra Appliances. The box also contains a dented chrome toaster, a Mr. Coffee coffeemaker that’s missing its carafe, and a Crock-Pot with faulty wiring that he plans to repair soon.

When Steve and Christine were first dating, she referred to him as “my little pack rat.” Now that they are married, she has resorted to sneaking things into the trash can in an effort to clear the house of his ever growing pile of junk. His inclination to save everything is no longer cute, but a catalyst for anger and irritation.

So what’s the solution for getting along with opposites? Well, the first thing is that we must learn to Appreciate. For example, when you bring roses home from the florist shop the buds are shut up tight. But, after being exposed to a little natural sunlight in your home, they begin to open with glory. Appreciation is the warmth that will cause your spouses personality and true self to bloom. When was the last time you noticed out loud something your husband or wife did right? I mean, come on there’s always something positive to comment on.

The second solution: Respect.Men especially crave respect, and will usually rise to the occasion when treated as the leaders of the home. But we must not underestimate the importance of mutual respect in marriage. Both marriage partners must feel valued for what they bring to the marriage as individuals. Disapproval and disparaging remarks only shut your spouse down, not change him or her. Worse, a lack of respect will cause your mate to retreat from you emotionally.

The third solution is Acceptance. Around our house we refer to my husband Jeff as “Felix Unger” (the neat one from that old show The Odd Couple). Sometimes as I do the dishes I can feel his eyes on my back watching me. He watches me load the dishwasher and wants to give me a little instruction. He watches me wipe off the counters and would like to give me efficiency tips. He watches me put food scraps down the garbage disposal and can hardly refrain from offering suggestions.

And although his perfectionist personality has at times driven me crazy and caused occasional conflict around our house, I’ve come to deeply appreciate the fact that Jeff likes to vacuum, take out the trash, and generally make things neat. And if I don’t take myself (or my husband) too seriously, then I can laugh at our differences and value my “Felix” for the stand-up guy he is.

  • Appreciation
  • Respect
  • Acceptance

The three “shape up” strategies to get your heart ready for Valentine's Day.

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