Go ahead and laugh. But when I was a little girl—like, really little—I thought dogs were boys and cats were girls. And that’s how we got dogs and cats.
I don’t know exactly why I thought that. I’d never seen a litter with both dogs (boys) and cats (girls). I was quite taken aback when I realized I was mistaken.
Perhaps my misperception came from that expression about folks “fighting like cats and dogs.” Get it? A couple which doesn’t get along fights like cats and dogs? Guess I figured the dog and cat in question were married, i.e., one’s a boy and one’s a girl. It simply didn’t occur to me how very different dogs and cats are.
In an earlier post I mentioned I’m of the opinion there’s only one true blanket rule in marriage: Live righteously.
But how can I do that when my mate is so unlike me? you ask. When I don’t understand him/her? When it seems as if we are different breeds, more different than cats and dogs?
I understand why you think that. I get it, I do. Especially if those differences (not sins, differences) cause tension and arguments, misunderstandings and communication problems.
What I offer is a change in perspective.
Men and women are not opposites. We are two pieces of the same puzzle.
In Genesis 1:27 we read this (NIV):
So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
You’ve probably seen this verse many times. Take a new look—the same idea is repeated three times.
Both men and women are made in God’s image.
Which means we’re not opposites. Rather, I have some traits of God my husband doesn’t have, and he has traits of God which I don’t have.
Men and women are not opposites, trying to find a common ground.
We’re creatures that lack a part of God’s character before marriage, then spend our married lives learning how to appreciate, embrace, and utilize the part of God’s character which manifests in our mate.
I’ve heard marriage teaching that starts with celebrating our differences. Sounds like a good idea. I’ve heard marriage teaching which suggests adapting to the difference in our mate. Maybe that could work.
What if we simply change perspective? What if, instead of looking at the differences as an obstacle—or worse, a foreign body we have to assimilate—we try to find ways our mate is just like God?
The parts of your mate you don’t understand might closely correlate with the parts of God’s character you don’t understand and have difficulty embracing.
For example, maybe you tend to be more organized and your spouse is more creative.
Maybe you’re more quiet and your spouse has a louder personality.
Maybe you tend toward mercy and your spouse usually leans toward judgment.
Those traits in your mate which are different from you, look them up in scripture. Look for instances in which God the Father, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit manifests those same traits.
Then ask God to teach you about those parts of Himself, so you can learn to appreciate them in Him and your mate.
If fear rises, pray about that and find out why you’re afraid. If you’re still uncomfortable, pray about that and find out what’s blocking you from embracing that quality.
You were both created in God’s image. Two pieces of the same puzzle. With God’s help, with insight and healing, you can learn to fit together, creating a beautiful and complete picture of God Himself.
Key words: Shellie Arnold, your marriage, men and women are not opposites, God’s image, God’s character, dogs and cats, puzzle, Genesis 1:27, relationship advice