It’s post Hearts at Home conference here in the Savage home.  We had two wonderful, but incredibly exhausting, days of encouraging over 4500 moms at the mom conference here in Normal, IL, Friday and Saturday.

Now that we are on the other side of the conference, our differences are once again magnified.  Today’s Marriage Monday is about giving each other the space to be different.

Mark says…Yesterday I walked into the family room and found Jill curled in the recliner, wrapped in a blanket, reading a book.  I said to her, “How can you possibly put anything else into your brain?”

Jill says…I love to read.  Reading fills me up.  It’s like fuel for me.  The day after the conference I read the newspapers I’d missed for the past two days and started reading a new book my mom had loaned me.

Mark says…I can’t imagine reading a book the day after an exhausting weekend like we’ve had.  For me, I want to put a movie in the DVD player and brainlessly watch it. Then when it’s done, I want to put another movie in the DVD player and watch it.  I’d be happy to fill my day doing this.  I find it incredibly relaxing.

Jill says…I’m not much of a movie watcher at all.  I’m happy to watch one on occasion, but it doesn’t do anything for me.  It’s a “neutral” activity for me…not draining, but also not refueling.

Mark says…I can’t imagine picking up a book when I am physically and emotionally drained.  Reading requires me to think and when I’m tired, thinking is the last thing I want to do!

Jill says…Once again…WE ARE SO DIFFERENT!

Mark says…Welcome to real marriage.  It’s not about being compatible…it’s about learning to appreciate our differences and giving each other the space to do life differently.

Jill says…Here are some strategies we’ve learned to help navigate these differences:

1) Resist the urge to think your way is right and your spouse’s way is wrong. Neither way is wrong…they’re just different.  Different is ok.

2) Don’t criticize. You may not understand your spouse’s differences, but resist the urge to criticize.

3) Give space for your differences. I (Jill) don’t like having the television on all day on a recoup day…but if Mark is going to watch movies all day then the TV will have to be on. Instead of finding his movie watching frustrating, I find another room away from the noise of the television to read.

What about you?  What strategies have you found to appreciate and navigate your differences?

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