We have an adorable, intelligent, affectionate grandson named Abbott. There’s no bias here. He really is. He plays soccer. When he was four, one of the other boys pushed him down in the middle of the game, and Abbott came crying to Mom and Dad.
Mom: “Oh, Honey. Did you get hurt? Do you want me to kiss it?”
Abbott’s face brightened a little.
Dad: “That, Little Man, is a badge of courage. Shake it off. You just earned the right to play with the big boys.”
Abbott responded to Dad as well. He wiped his tears, threw back his little shoulders, and went back out to play.
Mom and Dad had different perspectives on the situation. Whose approach was right?
I think they both were. Both perspectives were needed. God planned it that way. Mom showed compassion. Dad taught courage.
There are many situations in our marriage where we have a very different perspective than our spouse.
Which car should we buy? “The economy car.” “No, the car that will allow us to transport our kids and their friends.” Who is right?
How many sports will our children be allowed to play each year? “Just one. I want our children to have time for youth group. I want them to know the importance of giving God priority.” “Playing only one sport will limit his chances of getting a scholarship to that Christian university he wants to attend, and the university could impact his life.” Who is right?
For Bob and me, many of the disagreements showed up when our girls were teens. They wanted permission to do something we felt should not be granted. I wanted peace, harmony, to maintain the relationship. Bob was willing to draw a line in the sand and say, “This is something we don’t give in on.”
Who is right?
If you are willing to acknowledge God gave you different perspectives for a purpose—if you are willing to treat each other’s perspective with respect—the best answer is probably somewhere in the middle. The best car for your family may be a bit roomier, but not have all the bells and whistles. Perhaps your son or daughter could major in one sport and play another sport recreationally on a team with fewer practices and tournaments.
When dealing with our teenagers, respecting each other’s position meant I could tell our girls with confidence, “You know what we decided,” because Bob could be counted on to hold the line. It also meant Bob would approach our girls with, “Is there any doubt in your mind that I love you?” Respecting both opinions meant we got the best of both worlds.
The Bible tells us: “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers, they succeed.” (Proverbs 15:22 NIV) God gave you a built-in adviser. Respect your mate’s insights, opinions, and perspective and you will benefit from a better, more-rounded opinion.