I’m not talking about those kinds of sparks…but the angry and dangerous looking ones of when iron sharpens against iron. Let me back up a bit….you know how opposites attract? In many couples I know, you can see how one has a great strength in a quality that the other is weaker in…and vice versa. Some pairings I’ve seen are:
- Risk taker – Risk adverse
- Patient – Impatient
- Spontaneous – Scheduled
- Easy going – Up tight
- Extrovert – Introvert
- Talkative – Quiet
I’m sure you can think of more. Often you hear different couples express appreciation for how their spouse’s strength makes up for their weakness and vice versa. “I’m so glad my wife is such a great listener because I’m not.” “I love how he plans spontaneous events, I just can’t pull off something like that.” “I tend to freak out so her patient and gentle spirit helps me to take a step back.” These opposite qualities help balance the couple out as a unit. (Though I hear later in life, the opposite qualities can become sources of conflict too.)
What Skywalker and I are discovering, is that we’re not opposites, we’re almost the same. We’re very similar in our views of debt, discipline, health, travel, life style and faith. I might be a little more social than him. He’s a little more level headed than me. I’m a little more scheduled than him. He’s a little more considerate than me. Certainly there are benefits to sharing the same views on what has otherwise been deal-breaker subjects in many marriages; however we’re equally head strong, strong willed and not afraid to speak our mind or get our word in. This means friction and headbutting.
At first it seems to be like sand paper on wood…but then you realize the other isn’t giving way and becoming smooth like wood will under the steady rub of the sandpaper. (Though this does happen in some circumstances as well.) No, sometimes we’re like iron against iron, neither giving way, causing a spray of sparks. Used against each other we would cause deep wounds…but used together properly, we sharpen each other.
Needless to say, there’s been some unintentional or reactionary wounding in our first-ish year of marriage, but as we recognize this tendency of ours, we’re better able to catch ourselves before the sparring begins. Things may still get heated. And there are definitely gritty moments where we each have to swallow some amount of self-pride or to dole out grace…but it’s in those moments that we grow, and are sharpened.
I’m excited to see how this type of sharpening and growing will shape us as a couple…as well as how this equips us for ministry in the future!