Jill: In most marriages, one partner is more “efficient” than the other. One of you thinks about how to do things quickly, swiftly, more intentionally. In our marriage that would be me.

Mark: I meander through life. I get from point A to point B but if I do it one way on Monday and a different way on Tuesday, that’s no big deal to me. However, once Jill determines the most efficient way to do things, she will never do it a different way.

Jill: In the early years of marriage, this was most evident when we were driving somewhere. When I get in a car, I immediately think about the most efficient way to get where we are going. This would be the way with the least number of stoplights, left turns, and slow speed limits.

Mark: My brain just doesn’t even go there. I didn’t even know that some people thought about that kind of stuff until Jill became a part of my life.

Jill: It doesn’t show up just with driving, but also with things like bathing the kids, making meals, and accomplishing tasks. Mark does all those things slower and without much strategy….it appears to me.

Mark: I am strategic…just not nearly to the degree that Jill is. Apparently Jill isn’t the only one who thinks this way because many years ago at a Hearts at Home conference, Liz Curtis Higgs shared a story about riding in a car when her husband was driving. When they pulled into a parking lot, he would say, “Why don’t you just tell me where to park, I know you’ve already picked out a spot.”

Jill: I remember Liz sharing that story and it stepping on my toes a bit. Then it was several years later when a dear friend challenged me on my frustrations with this in our relationship. She said, “Jill, don’t sacrifice your marriage on the altar of efficiency.”  Wow! That was a very powerful statement and God used it to catch my attention.  I began, over time, to allow Mark to be Mark and to let my desire for efficiency to fall by the wayside. It wasn’t easy, but it was important.

Mark: Because I better understand Jill and how her brain thinks, I try to be a little more intentional about strategy and about communicating my strategy.  So she’s letting me be me and I’m letting her be her. We’re not trying to change each other, but instead trying to honor each other.

What about you? Are you sacrificing your marriage on the altar of efficiency? Do you need to honor your spouse instead of trying to change him or her? 

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