I was having a conversation recently about how some of us waste our time and talents by taking them for granted. By not being in tune with the blessing God has for each of us. I got a lot out of the conversation, but the most important thing I received, I would like to share with you.
Looking at someone’s talent on the surface is just that—it’s on the surface. It’s the backstory we are not aware of and until we have walked a mile in someone’s shoes, we can’t imagine where they have been and what impact situations have taken on their lives.
Talent is no guarantee of success and we must be open to seeing someone else’s set of circumstances through their eyes. Seeing through another’s lens is especially important in our relationships. Let’s look at how we can view our spouse differently, to make our relationships better.
How each individual was raised plays a major part in who they are as individuals. Something we often overlook is their upbringing plays a significant role in how a person works together (or apart) in a relationship. We often go into marriage expecting our partner to be who we want them to be and do what we want them to do. It’s not going to happen. Men and women think differently. We love differently. We process information differently. We even grieve differently. Pile on those differences that each and every person has a different set of values and traditions as a part of their upbringing.
We are formed in childhood and we live it out in adult life. Pastor Dan Scott said, “Parents raise adults.” We think we are raising children, but in reality, we are raising our children to be adults and make good decisions to live their lives accordingly. This rearing is going to affect our relationships. We have to be cognizant and walk in our spouse’s shoes mentally as well as we can to see things from their point of view.
We can’t literally walk in their shoes, but we can learn to appreciate their values, principles and viewpoints of life.
When we can remember that we are not all cut from the same cloth, we can learn how to work together to appreciate and love those differences about each other.
2. Role Reversal
I know a couple where the husband wanted to eliminate money for his wife getting her hair done from their budget. The reason: She works less days per week than him, although they make similar salaries. What is left out of the story is she is at home caring for their children on the days she doesn’t work. He hasn’t walked a mile in her shoes, so he doesn’t understand (or appreciate) what she does for the family on a daily basis. It’s invaluable to put yourself in your spouse’s shoes before you make a rash decision or judgement.
Even though this is the person we live with daily, we don’t think like them and we don’t have their experiences. What is not important to me, may mean the world to them.
We need to know our spouses well enough to see the situation through their eyes.
It’s our job to learn them as well as we can. When we learn them, we learn their role and we can look at situations with a different lens. Great boxers learn their opponent’s style, so they learn tendencies and they can anticipate where their opponent’s punches are coming from. Learn your mate’s tendencies. Learn where they are defensive and anticipate the punches—so hopefully they never have a reason to throw them.
If I take the time to put myself in my spouse’s shoes, I think differently in how I talk, how I respond, how I carry myself and how I treat them overall. Your spouse’s life is important and when you respect their opinions and perspectives, it will help to keep your marriage strong, healthy and working together.
BMWK, What are some of the benefits of trying to better understand how your spouse’s views different situations in life?